The FDA allows the Cosmetics Industry to regulate itself. What does that mean? The Cosmetics Industry is allowed to put chemical ingredients into their personal care products without being required to test for safety. They are also not required to present their formulations to the FDA for approval.* In addition, the FDA does not have the authority to initiate recalls. It is up to cosmetic companies to take that action on their own as they deem necessary. As a result, our marketplaces are saturated with products that contain ingredients that have not been thoroughly tested for safety. Many of these ingredients have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, allergies and learning disabilities, among other health concerns, and some chemical components pose a threat to our environment. More and more, research is uncovering possible links between chemical exposure and illness.
Here is a staggering statistic: 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men are likely to develop cancer in their lifetime. So with all this mounting evidence, what is the Cosmetics Industry doing? They are continuing their strong lobbying efforts against oversight and regulation. As a result, the FDA has banned/restricted only 11 hazardous ingredients, compared to over 1700 ingredients by the European Union. According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “On average, American women use 12 personal care products a day, and men average six products. That means an adult is likely to be exposed daily to 126 unique chemical ingredients in personal care products alone.” Most people fail to realize that ingredients can be readily absorbed through the skin and are detected quickly in urine.
Most concerning is the detrimental effect these toxins can have on young children and infants, as their body systems are still maturing. A study by the EWG found that the cord blood of newborns contained hundreds of toxins. In addition, toxins are passed to babies through mothers’ breast milk.
According to Herbert Needleman,
“Since 1950, at least 70,000 new chemical compounds have been invented and dispersed into our environment. Only a fraction of these have been tested for human toxicity. We are, by default, conducting a massive clinical toxicology trial, and our children and their children are the experimental animals.”
While exposure to some toxins is simply unavoidable, the key is to reduce our exposure to those we can avoid. The time to make a change is now, for the sake of our own generation and the next.