Last week, I started Mystery Ingredient May by explaining a few ingredients found in cleaning products. This week, I’m tackling personal care products.
Before I start, it’s important to put the safety – or danger – of the ingredients into proper perspective. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect children, infants, and the unborn from toxic contaminants, estimates there are about 10,500 different chemical compounds used in personal care products. Yet only eleven percent of those compounds have been tested for safety.
What’s even more alarming is that the remaining 9,350 chemical compounds that have not been tested are used in ninety-nine percent of all products. 1 To put that into perspective, only one in every one-hundred personal care products has been tested to make sure it’s safe to use.
If an average consumer uses just one product a day with hazardous ingredients – say, shampoo – several toxic chemicals would be there, right along with all the sudsy bubbles. But most people don’t use just one product. Usually a daily routine includes soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, maybe mouthwash, and a hair styling product. Women tend to add lotion, moisturizer, perfume, and a lot of makeup.
Currently, humans are exposed to so many chemicals that their bodies can’t detoxify them all, which leads to serious illness – in 2005, a study proved that a third of all personal care products contain at least one cancer-causing ingredient. 2
Even though most ingredients remain untested, it’s beneficial to understand the ingredients that have been tested so you can know if they’re safe or not.
If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in reading “Color me dangerous.”
1. “FDA Warns Cosmetics Industry to Follow Law on Untested Ingredients.” Environmental Working Group. March 2005.
2. The Naked Truth Project. “Not Just a Pretty Face.” Stacy Malkan. New Society Publishers, 2007, p. 54.Photo credit© Jasenka | Dreamstime.com
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