Who polices safety of personal care products?

Posted on January 17, 2009
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The personal care product industry has a self-policing “Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel.”

Like many such safety review panels, this one approaches its safety assessments from the standpoint that consumers start each day pure. As if we are exposed to only one chemical at a time, and as if the product being assessed is the only source for each chemical.

Smart consumers know that is fallacy. As human beings on planet Earth, we eat, breathe, drink and wear chemicals every moment of the day in our modern industrial society.

A coalition of environmental health organizations conducted a survey in 2004 to learn about chemical ingredients in personal care products. This survey shows that 9 personal care products are used daily by the average adult, with 126 unique chemical ingredients.

More than 25% of all women and 1% of men use at least 15 products daily.

That’s a lot of chemicals.  Typical household cleaners add even more chemical exposure. 

The survey shows the insidious integration of dangerous chemicals into common products. As one example, through these personal care products, 12.2 million adults are exposed daily to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens.

How about the 4.3 million women who are exposed daily to ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins (which may impair fertility or harm a developing baby in the womb)? Do they believe the FDA or our government is protecting them from poisons? Would they use these products if they understood the risks to their child?

The top seven carcinogenic impurities in personal care product ingredients include: hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs, and acrylamide.

20% of adults are potentially exposed every day to all of them. Twenty percent!

It’s up to us to protect ourselves, folks. We’ll talk about detoxing products and regimens another time.

For now, read the labels on your personal care products, whether they go on your skin or in your body, or cleaning your clothes. Learn about the ingredients.  We don’t have to use products with ingredients created in a laboratory.

Quality organic products might cost a little more, but they are worth it. Don’t let cost be a factor in your health.



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