Is the fox guarding the hen house in the cosmetics industry ? Perhaps !!
How much are we protected by our Countries policies regarding what goes into our personal care products ? Well that can depend on where you live !!
Every day it is estimated most women use about 15 personal care products and men 6. In these products we will find up to 167 different ingredients. That is a lot of ingredients to put on, cleanse with, but invariably absorbed into.
I am a simple person, so I thought my list would be less than fifteen, but when we add soap, shampoo, conditioner, cleansers, moisturizers, sun protection, hand soaps, deodorants, and various make up products, you can see it can add up.
Our skin is very thin, and is designed to absorb. In fact studies have shown products put on the skin absorb 100 times faster than those put in our mouth ! ( 1978 congressional hearings presented evidence that the absorption of NDELA ( nitrosodiethano-amine ) (commonly found in shampoo products). As a nurse, I know the value and the fast absorption of our transdermal patches !
In the USA, personal care products are under the Food and Drug Administration. That sounds good, they are guarding our foods aren’t they ? Well, again that IS another topic !! Though the FDA has jurisdiction over personal care products it has no authority to require pre-market safety assessment as it does with drugs, so cosmetics are among the least-regulated products on the market. The FDA does not review – nor does it have the authority to regulate – what goes into cosmetics before they are marketed. 89 % of all ingredients in cosmetics have not been evaluated for safety by any publicly accountable institution. The Personal Care Products Council, created a system of voluntary self-regulation in 1976 through the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel. ( CIR ). The CIR has reviewed the safety of only 11 percent of the ingredients used to formulate personal care products and through June of 2012 has found only eleven ingredients to be unsafe for use in cosmetics. The CIR doesn’t look at the effects of exposures to multiple chemicals; the cumulative effect of exposures over a lifetime; the timing of exposure, the harm for the very young and other populations; or worker exposures over time (beauty salons and manufacturing plants.)
The European Union has most stringent and protective laws for cosmetics. The hazard-based, approach of the EU acknowledges that chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects simply don’t belong in cosmetics – regardless of the concentration of the chemical being used. They do regulate the selling of any hazardous ingredient. With Social media, we perhaps are able to see what is allowed in their countries !
Canada, my home country, sits a bit in the middle. The Canadian government recently created a Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist that includes hundreds of prohibited and restricted chemicals and contaminants such as formaldehyde, triclosan, selenium, nitrosamines and 1,4-dioxane — all of which are allowed in U.S. products. Many are restricted in the percentage of chemical in product but are still allowed. . Cosmetic manufacturers are required to register their products and disclose a list of ingredients and the concentration of each ingredient used. Canadians are big fans of cross border shopping so we need to be aware of the difference.
Packaging and sometimes even a product name can prominently feature the words ‘organic’ and ‘natural’, giving the impression that the product is totally safe. This belief may well be unfounded and often a closer look at the ingredients label will reveal the true nature of the product. One other thing to be careful of is just because a company uses essential oils in their ingredients doesn’t make them natural. Often, they are synthetic and watered down. Think of a perfect example – Herbal Essence Shampoo advertisements. There are no herbs or any natural ingredients in this product, yet how much we believed those outdoor shower pictures !!
The David Suzuki Organization has listed a DIRTY DOZEN for ingredients in our personal care products. David Suzuki, a prominent Canadian environmentalist has studied , ingredients and percentages in our products. Check out his website here.He has a lovely little pocket guide to take shopping with you !
Ingredients in the Dirty Dozen include
- BHA and BHTs
- Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number
- DEA-related ingredients
- Dibutyl phthalate
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
- Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
- PEG compounds
- Sodium laureth sulfate
You can find more on what potential harm each is on David Suzuki site.. Or stay posted.
I would love for you to check out the products in my company at this link or follow my blog to see more interesting information on this topic.
Here is to the best health and best future that we can envision for ourselves and our world !! Cheers !!