Cosmetics: Get Informed

Okay, by now you are probably aware there are toxins in our cosmetics and personal care items, and you’re ready to start detoxifying. It should be easy, right? Just look for the words ‘natural,’ ‘naturally-derived,’ ‘herbal,’ ‘pure’ or something else that sounds good, correct? Sadly, this is not always true.

As unbelievable as it sounds, current cosmetics laws in the US date back to 1938. No, that wasn’t a typo: the year 1938. The FDA does not review, nor does it have the authority to regulate, what goes into cosmetics. The FDA doesn’t even have the authority to require a product recall when it comes to cosmetics. Ingredients are not required to be tested before they are used in cosmetics. Furthermore, manufacturers are not required to disclose all their ingredients on labels.

There are known toxins in our cosmetics and personal care products. When we use these items, the toxins are absorbed through our skin and into our bodies. What kind of damage are we talking about here? Toxins in our cosmetics are linked to cancer, damage to the reproductive systems (both men and women), disruption of hormones, developmental disorders, and many, many other problems. New research is coming out that shows even small amounts of some of these ingredients are posing problems to our health.

The European Union is much, much ahead of the US when it comes to regulation of cosmetics. In January 2003, the EU Cosmetics Directive banned 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics; the US has banned or restricted only 11. No, again not a typo. That’s 1,100 for the EU, 11 for the US.

In addition, marketing terms like ‘natural,’ ‘herbal,’ and the like are not regulated either. Any manufacturer can label their product with one of these so-called buzzwords, so, sadly, the label doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

If you have a few extra minutes, this video, although overly-simple at times, really shows what’s going on with cosmetics in the US: The Story of Cosmetics

What Can We Do About It?

Fortunately, there are several ways we can limit exposure to toxins in our cosmetics and personal care items. Please see our Safer Cosmetics page for more information!


The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics