The Breast Blog: Shampoo
The Environmental Working Group or EWG are consumer watchdog types. Recently, they released a report called SKIN DEEP; a safety review of the ingredients found in thousands of cosmetic products available in stores. I was curious to see what they would have to say about my brand of shampoo; a product that I buy because it claims to be 'natural' and 'environmentally friendly'. So I went to their site.
The first thing I read both surprised and alarmed me. To quote, the " FDA cannot require companies to do safety testing of their cosmetic products before marketing. — FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors (FDA 1995)"
The FDA is the U.S. governments safety and regulation board for food and consumer products. I had believed that all products available for purchase from the U.S. had to meet safety regulations put forth by the FDA. Guess not.
The site went on to explain that "most consumers would be surprised to learn that the government does not require health studies or pre-market testing for cosmetics and other personal care products before they are sold. According to the government agency that regulates cosmetics, the FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors, "...a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA" (FDA 1999)." EWG were certainly right about one thing. I was a surprised consumer.
EWG further states: "The toxicity of product ingredients is scrutinized almost exclusively by a self-policing industry safety committee, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel. Because testing is voluntary and controlled by the manufacturers, many ingredients in cosmetics products are not safety tested at all. Environmental Working Group's analysis of industry and government sources shows that:
* Eighty-nine (89) percent of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution (FDA 2000, CIR 2003)."
I found this to be sobering news. But not as sobering as what I learned about my mainstream 'natural' shampoo.
The results read as follows: " Harmful Impurities: 1 ingredient - may contain harmful impurities linked to cancer or other health problems. (cocamidopropyl betaine)
Unstudied Chemicals: 12 ingredients - are unstudied or have insufficient data." The 12 ingredients were listed in detail.
Other Health Concerns: 1 ingredient pose(s) other potential health concerns. (methylparaben)
If you find this information surprising, visit the site for yourself. Check out your shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, creams and hair dye. Find out what you are actually putting on your skin in the name of beauty and cleanliness.