Do you know that your personal care and beauty products could contain lead, other heavy metals, and a host of other harmful ingredients?
Become your own advocate for health and safety in three easy steps:
THE TRUTH IS, there have been no new laws or significant update in regulations for the US beauty and personal care industry since 1938. Think of all the synthetic ingredients and product formulas that have been developed since World War 2. There are thousands of ingredients being used in products that are untested and unregulated. These are the products you are using on your skin and hair every day!
“The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market… Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA.” – FDA website
Europe has banned nearly 1,400 chemicals from beauty and personal care products, Canada has banned 600, the United States has banned 30.
Why the disparity in numbers? Simply, the Europe Union is being proactive in personal care product safety. They are banning known harmful ingredients and seeking to identify other concerning ingredients. Companies are required to prove the safety of ingredients before they can be used in products. On the other hand, US laws are weak and passive. Companies selling in the US are self-regulating and can use any ingredient without needing to prove its safety first.
There are known links between ingredients commonly used in US products and diseases like cancer, hormone diseases, early puberty, ADHD, anxiety and depression, and many other conditions. It is shocking, horrible and unacceptable.
Here are just a few examples of concerning ingredients commonly used in your products:
- Lead is banned from house paint but it’s not regulated in lipstick and has been found in high levels including “organic” or “natural” options! [Read more about lead and heavy metals..]
- “Fragrance” is an umbrella term that enables thousands of ingredients to be used without being separately listed in the ingredient panel. [Read more about fragrance…]
- Preservatives are required for beauty and personal care products containing water. Without preservatives, bacteria and mold can grow very quickly. Preservatives are needed as personal care products can sit on store shelves and in our bathroom cabinets for months. Unfortunately, preservatives commonly used are connected with hormone disruption and other health problems.
Without full ingredient disclosure, regulatory testing, or industry accountability, there is absolutely no way to know if your products are safe.
THE LABELS on beauty and personal care products do NOT have the same regulations and FDA accountability as the food industry. Words that are regulated for food, like “organic,” are not regulated for personal care products. Understanding the loose labeling laws for this industry will help you avoid toxic products and make safer purchasing choices.
GREENWASHING is the practice of portraying a company or products as being environmentally friendly when they are not. Greenwashing is also used in the beauty industry to market products using green-concept wording and packing design to elicit sales from green-conscious consumers.
Consumers looking for safer products need to be aware of and vigilant against greenwashing techniques. These products can be easily mistaken as being safer and healthy.
What do words like “natural,” “organic,” and “non-toxic” mean when it comes to cosmetics?
Legally, nothing. There are no legally defined or regulated definitions of these terms for beauty products. A company can call their product “natural” or “organic” etc. without accountability as there is no legal definition or formula testing. Maybe it means one of their ingredients is sourced naturally, but all the others aren’t. It could mean that 1% of the formula is made with organic components, but the remaining 99% is made from GMO or conventional ingredients. Basically, the words on the labels of your personal care products are meaningless and unregulated in this industry.
Are natural ingredients safer than synthetic chemicals?
Natural ingredients are not necessarily safer the synthetics. For example, poison ivy is natural but you wouldn’t want a body lotion made of poison ivy. Heavy metals are natural and so is petroleum. There are many natural ingredients we don’t want to apply to our skin! We’ve been “educated” to desire natural products but they may not be the best choice. There are many synthetic or “artificial” substances that have proven to be safe for use.
Can I trust the ingredient list?
Most product labels do not include a complete list of the ingredients. There are several reasons why:
- “Fragrance” is an umbrella term that the FDA allows companies to use instead of listing individual scent ingredients. This means that any product listing “fragrance,” “parfum,” or even “natural fragrance” in the ingredients contains an unknown blend of ingredients. Fragrance manufacturers use concoctions that have never been tracked or regulated. So even if they wanted to, there is no way for companies to know what is in the blends they sell. Tests have found fragrance ingredients to include components like phthalates which are hormone disruptors, as well as chemicals that are allergens and neurotoxins.
- Some products end up containing unlisted substances like results of chemical reactions that were not part of the formula but are byproducts of the manufacturing, bottling, shipping etc. process. An example is leeching of hormone disruptors from plastic bottles.
- Bulk-stored ingredients sometimes have preservatives added to prevent mold or decay during storage. Those preservatives are not included in a product ingredient list as they are not considered to be part of the formula or manufacturing process.
- Proprietary ingredients are any component a company withholds as a trade secret.
If you want to know more about “Greenwashing” click HERE.
LOOK FOR PRODUCTS by companies dedicated to safety, transparency, and ongoing accountability.
Leading the safer product movement is Beautycounter, a company committed to never using an ingredient related to human health risks. Beautycounter’s stringent screening process is unlike any other in the beauty industry. Beautycounter evaluates ingredients by asking three questions: Is it safe? Does it work? Do we need it? The Beautycounter Never List is a great resource to carry with you when shopping for products.
Ingredient Selection Process
Making safer products starts with safer ingredients. Their five-step Ingredient Selection Process truly sets Beautycounter apart.
Ban Intentionally: The Never List: 1,500 questionable or harmful ingredients we do not use, no matter what (including nearly 1,400 cosmetic ingredients banned in the European Union).
Screen Rigorously: Using the best available data, we screen every potential ingredient, considering it both individually and within a mixture of chemicals, as it would be in a final product. After all, if a company removes one toxic chemical and replaces it with another, nothing has been done to actually protect our health.
Learn Constantly: We regularly review emerging data on ingredients and even commission our own studies. The absence of data does not mean that a chemical is safe.
– Choose the best available ingredient options.
– Work to source ingredients from non-GMO, sustainable sources, many of which are organic.
– Over 80% of our ingredients are natural or plant-derived.
– Ask for certificates of purity, and test for heavy metal contamination.
– Work to manufacture all products in the U.S.
– Do not test products or ingredients on animals.
Share Transparently: Every ingredient we use is shared on our product packaging, online, and in EWG’s Skin Deep database. We share the source of all ingredients.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit industry watchdog which has created a database that rates products for safety. You can enter a product name or ingredient and see a rating as well as information about the contents and concerns. There’s an app for phones that enables you to scan product barcodes. The website version is excellent for researching specific ingredients if a specific product isn’t in their database.
Environmental Working Group database: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
Start now! Grab your daily products and scan them! I loved knowing which products are safer and which products to throw away. I immediately threw out the products with lead and other heavy metals. We don’t have to go another day putting harmful ingredients on ourselves or loved ones!
Learn more about Beautycounter–a company dedicated to full transparency, safer formula development, safer ingredient sourcing, safer manufacturing practices, safer packaging, and batch testing for every single batch that is produced. Beautycounter is a trustworthy company with excellent safer products.
SPOTLIGHT: CANCER AWARENESS
“Chemicals linked to cancer have no place in anyone’s beauty routine, yet cancer-causing chemicals are present in many different types and brands of cosmetics and personal care products found on store shelves across the US.” – SafeCosmetics.org
Shocking truth: Many “Pink Ribbon” products that are being marketed to raise funds for Breast Cancer research actually contain cancer-causing ingredients.
For more information about cancer-causing ingredients, check out this great article on the EWG blog:
“For Safe, Nontoxic Personal Care Products, Look Beyond the Pink Ribbon”
BreastCancerFund.org gives some examples of the harmful ingredients in our everyday products:
Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants. They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.
Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance—both perfumes and fragrance ingredients in other cosmetic products. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Some phthalates also act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems.
SPF ingredients in moisturizers, foundations, and sunscreens
Many sunscreens contain chemicals that exert significant estrogenic activity, as measured by the increase in proliferation rates of human breast cancer cells in vitro. Studies show these chemicals are accumulating in wildlife and humans.