Americans assume personal care products on the market today have been tested or approved by the federal government. However, they are largely unregulated. In fact, it has been more than 80 years since Congress last updated the federal law designed to ensure that personal care products are safe. The Food and Drug Administration does not even require the basic safety testing of ingredients in personal care products before they are used.
Although other countries have taken action to protect their citizens from chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm, FDA lacks the basic tools needed to ensure the safety of cosmetics and other personal care products.
Now a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to change that.
The New York Times' most emailed article of the day reports on the absurd marketing claims for cosmetic skin creams and the high prices the products demand. A Manhattan dermatologist recommends reducing your daily skin care routine to two simple ingredients: gentle soap and sunscreen, and a third product only for specific skin needs like acne or pigment spots. Avoid the high-priced brands, because no research suggests more expensive products are any better.Read More
While industry and government officials debate the safety of nanotech, 256 popular products have already been identified where nanomaterials are listed as ingredients. Products include eye liner, moisturizer, bronzer, lip balm and sunscreen.Read More
Today the New York Times reports some disturbing news about certain drugs and cosmetics causing preschoolers to go into puberty. In one case, a girl and her brother--whose father had been using a testosterone skin cream--started growing pubic hair just from skin contact with their father. Her brother also developed some aggressive behavior problems. The article cites some 1998 cases of early breast development in young girls brought on by a shampoo which contained estrogen and placental extract.Read More
Marla Cone of the Los Angeles Times has writtten a brilliant (albeit disturbing) article on the many products for sale in the US which have been banned in most other countries as toxic. The piece leads with an example of formaldehyde-laden plywood, sold throughout the US, but illegal even in China, where it is manufactured.Read More
EWG submits comments to FDA on the need for a public process to identify and evaluate the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetics. Recommendations to FDA include the need to identify nano-scale materials in personal care products and complete product safety evaluations in those cases.Read More
Comments to U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Docket: FDA Regulated Products Containing Nanotechnology Materials
Docket number: 2006N-0107
SHANGHAI (AFP) - Hundreds of angry Chinese women have taken to the streets of Shanghai demanding refunds for US-Japanese cosmetics after authorities detected banned chemicals in some of the products.Read More
Confronting the criticism of health and environmental groups, three major nail polish manufacturers have begun the process of removing a trio of substances that have been deemed harmful. The chemicals formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), have been linked to cancer and birth defects. All were banned earlier this year in cosmetics by EU regulators but have not been targeted for removal in this country by the FDA.Read More
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California Assembly's Health Committee advanced a bill that would require manufacturers of personal care products to inform the state's Department of Health Services whenever they are making products with chemicals linked to cancer or birth defects.Read More
Not content to pander to the cosmetics industry by requiring no safety testing on American personal care products, the Bush administration is now working to thwart Europe’s attempts at improving product safety. Government correspondence uncovered by staff of the House Committee on Government Reform shows that the administration mixed with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) for a lobbying campaign to cripple Europe’s new laws, the Oakland Tribune reports.Read More
FDA calls industry's bluff on product safety.Read More
A full-page advertisement in USA Today challenges cosmetics companies to come clean about whether they plan to remove toxic chemicals that are banned in the European Union from products sold on American shelves. The advertisement was placed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of US health and environmental groups.Read More
Which of those common expressions matches your outlook on consumer products and chemicals: look before you leap, or shoot first and ask questions later?Read More
There's increasing concern about the risks of chemicals in personal care products. The Independent reports that the growing use of cosmetics and toiletries, which contain many known toxic or untested chemicals, may be harming children who will develop cancer and fertility problems as adults.Read More
Most people are surprised to learn that the government neither conducts nor requires safety testing of chemicals that go into health and beauty products. Today a panel funded and advised by the cosmetic industry determined that cosmetic companies can continue to add reproductive toxins known as phthalates to cosmetics marketed to women of childbearing age.Read More
In May 2002 a coalition of environmental and public health organizations contracted with a major national laboratory to test 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of phthalates, a large family of industrial chemicals linked to per- manent birth defects in the male reproductive system.Read More
In September 2000, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that every single one of the 289 persons tested for the plasticizer dibutyl phthalate (DBP) had the compound in their bodies. The finding passed with little public fanfare, but surprised government scientists, who just one month earlier had rated DBP of little health concern based on the scientific assumption, which later turned out to be wrong, that levels in humans were within safe limits. DBP causes a number of birth defects in lab animals, primarily to male offspring, including testicular atrophy, reduced sperm count, and defects in the structure of the penis (CERHR 2000).Read More