Thirteen thousand. That is the number of chemicals in personal care products that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate. Thirteen thousand. That is the number of chemicals that we unknowingly put on our bodies. Thirteen thousand. That is the number of chemicals that can penetrate our skin and enter our bloodstream. Thirteen thousand. Those are too many chemicals for the FDA to ignore.
Before you cringe with disgust, all hope is not lost. The clean beauty movement is making strides. On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Senators Dianne Feinstein of California (D) and Susan Collins of Maine (R) reached across the aisle to put forth a bill called, Personal Care Products Safety Act, in the U.S. Senate. The goal of the bill is to regulate the beauty products industry by giving the FDA more regulatory supervision. This will give the FDA the power to recall products that cause serious adverse reactions or events, including death. It will also require manufacturers to register their products and ingredients.
In Europe, 1,300 chemicals are banned in beauty products. In the United States, 11 chemicals are banned. Think about this. Women put about 168 chemicals on their bodies daily. According to Environmental Working Group, women use approximately 12 hormone-altering cosmetics daily. Men put about 85 chemicals on their bodies daily. Environmental Working Group states that teenage girls use approximately 17 hormone-altering products daily, which means they’re exposed to more chemicals than women. This is unacceptable.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has named the chemicals that should disappear from cosmetics. They consist of hormone disruptors (they interfere with your body’s natural production of hormones) and carcinogens (cancer causing). Take a look at your soaps, deodorants, lotions, cosmetics, perfumes/colognes, and hair products to see if any of these chemicals appear in the ingredients list. If they do, drop them like a bad habit.
- Phthalates – softening agents; usually found in fragrances
- Formaldehyde releasers – a preservative to prevent mold and bacteria growth
- Parabens – preservatives
- Triclosan and triclocarban – bacteria-killing chemicals. As of September 2016, the FDA has banned these ingredients in antibacterial soaps.
- Retinyl palmitate and retinoic acid – chemicals that pose risks for skin cancer
- Hair straighteners with formaldehyde or formaldehyde-like chemicals – exposure to cancer-causing fumes
- Lead acetate in men’s hair dye – increases lead (neurotoxin) levels in your body
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. Remember, there are 13,000 unregulated chemicals in our personal care products. It’s just the beginning. Until the government institutes safer guidelines and regulations, we must be vigilant in protecting ourselves. The Environmental Working Group has a wonderful online database where you can check the safety of 62,000 personal care products. It’s called, EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. The products are rated on a scale of 1-10. One through two is a green rating (low hazard). Three through 6 is a yellow rating (moderate hazard). Seven through ten is a red rating (high hazard). Personally speaking, I stick with the one to two rating. Ultimately, the choice is yours. I’ll leave you with this parting quote.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Rohn