Skin Care Advice
Navigating the Skin Care Labyrinth
Most consumers give little thought to the recognized allergens, probable carcinogens, hormone disrupters and synthetic industrial chemicals that have been inadequately tested and yet, can be found in the formulae of our skin and body care products, shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics, perfumes, infant body care products, etc.
These products line the shelves of high-end department stores, drug stores, specialty retailers, and natural health retailers. With media reports warning of the toxic soup most of us bathe in daily, the ugly side of the cosmetic and personal care industry is on the radar of consumer groups such as The Breast Cancer Fund, Think Before You Pink, Environmental Working Group, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, as well as concerned physicians and scientists.
The public believes that the industry is regulated by a federal agency that insures toxic chemicals are not added to the products we use many times daily. So, you might wonder, who is responsible for regulating the personal care industry and looking out for consumer health and safety?
The cosmetic industry will direct you to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA will direct your query to the Cosmetics Ingredient Review (CIR) panel, and the CIR will share all the wonderful research they are conducting in the name of safety for the consumer. The problem with this picture is the CIR panel is funded by the giant mainstream personal care products companies whose ingredients and products must pass their review prior to entering the marketplace. These well recognized companies continue to use known or suspected toxic ingredients in their product formulae.
Of the FDA $800 million annual budget, less than 1% is allocated toward regulating the cosmetic industry. Neither the FDA nor any other government regulatory body actively assesses the safety of cosmetics before they are placed in the marketplace.
The Ugly Side to Pretty
Many believe that by purchasing products marketed as “natural and organic” from health stores, high-end department stores and other specialty retailers, they are guaranteed toxin-free ingredients. Unfortunately, major loopholes in federal law allow the $35 billion cosmetics industry to police itself, allowing unlimited amounts of toxic chemicals into personal care products with no required testing, no monitoring of health effects and inadequate labeling requirements.
According to Janet Nudelman, coordinator for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “The U.S. government, in relation to the FDA, has not been on the side of consumers and has not been on the side of public health.” This is obvious since cosmetic industry representatives serve on government panels that are looking into the consumer safety issue they are supposed to be regulating.
How to make Healthy Choices
Since the CIR is funded by the well known cosmetic manufacturers and the FDA allocates so little funding toward regulating the cosmetics industry, how can the consumer confidently make healthy choices when purchasing personal care products?
Since 2000 The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a team of scientists, engineers, policy experts and lawyers, have dedicated countless hours examining data, scientific studies, and performed their own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to offer solutions. Their web site, www.ewg.org provides practical information you can use to protect yourself and your loved ones.
The EWG analyzed the health and safety reviews of 10,000 ingredients in personal care products. They discovered that there is very little research available to document the safety or health risks of low dose repeated exposures to the chemical mixtures in these products. According to the EWG, the absence of this data should not be mistaken for proof of safety. The more these low dose chemical exposures are studied, the more is understood that they can cause adverse effects.
The health and safety of you and your loved ones is your responsibility. Read the labels of personal care products closely. If there are ingredients that you are not certain about, write them down and do a quick search to insure they are safe for use by you and your loved ones.
Breast Cancer Action www.bcaction.org
Breast Cancer Fund www.breastcancerfund.org
The Make-up Labyrinth. Shauna Dineen, E The Environment Magazine
Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org
Safe Cosmetics www.safecosmetics.org
Article Author : Pamela Cronan-Maddox, an ovarian cancer survivor is the visionary and president of The Alchemist’s Apprentice, The online apothecary is dedicated to providing the finest 100% natural and organic skin care and body care products for the entire family. Visit The Alchemist’s Apprentice for all your personal care product needs.