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.
You asked for it, and we’re building it: a mobile shopping app for EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.Read More
Allergies are an increasingly serious health issue for millions of Americans, especially children. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of American children and teenagers reported to suffer skin allergies increased from 5.2 million reported cases between 1997 and 1999 to nearly 9.3 million between 2009 and 2011. Another 12.6 million children and teens were estimated to suffer from respiratory allergies in 2009 to 2011, according to the CDC.Read More
Ever looked at the labels on your shampoos, moisturizers and cosmetics? Do you really know what chemicals you're putting on your body? EWG scientist Nneka Leiba explains some helpful tips on what to watch out for before you buy.
As a child, one of my least favorite activities was getting my hair styled. It required a lot of time and patience -- two things I had in short supply.Read More
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently (Sept. 7) warned Lancôme to stop making grand claims for several of its anti-aging products -- claims that would require the agency to approve them before the products could be sold to consumers.Read More
This week marked a huge victory for consumers. Johnson & Johnson, global manufacturer of such well known health and personal care products as Johnson's Baby Shampoo, unveiled plans to reformulate many of its adult cosmetic and toiletry products to remove potentially toxic or cancer-causing ingredients.Read More
Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest personal care product companies, has announced a groundbreaking new initiative to reformulate many of its personal care products, including baby shampoos and lotions, to remove chemicals of concern to consumers.Read More
As we change gears from the Hall of Shame and begin to focus on the upcoming annual EWG Sunscreen Database, EWG research was mentioned in a number of consumer health stories. The Washington Post ran a story on preserving the quality of the Potomac River, reminding readers to chose personal care products wisely as they end up down the drain. Forbes, Treehugger and Mother Nature News all mentioned our Hall of Shame, with the line of the week coming from Treehugger: "Environmental Working Group (EWG) to the rescue."Read More
Last month, the New York Times published a story about my efforts when I was pregnant to rid my home of toxic chemicals. The story featured a photo of my 18-month-old daughter and recounted how I threw out a large pile of cosmetics, cleaners and other products that my research, using EWG's online Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, found to contain dangerous substances. While at the time I thought I was doing the right thing for my family, when I read readers' comments, I felt as if I were on Nickelodeon, in one of those scenes when an unsuspecting person has an entire bucket of green slime dumped on her head.Read More
News coverage of EWG topics including cosmetics and household toxins appeared across the web from sites including the Los Angeles Times, Shine by Yahoo!, and Prevention. EWG released a statement on a finding from an independent science panel finding PFOA, an ingredient that has been used to make non-stick coatings and stain-resistant materials, is linked to testicular and kidney cancers.Read More
California state scientists have found that some nail polishes widely used in California salons are laced with high levels of three chemicals linked to birth defects, asthma and other health risks.Read More
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned this week that more than 35 imported skin creams, antiseptic soaps and anti-aging lotions have recently been tied to mercury poisoning that in some instances sent users to the hospital.
The maker of Brazilian Blowout -- one of numerous hair straighteners on the market containing formaldehyde, a known carcinogen -- is now required to provide health warnings on its product's packaging and website, revamp deceptive marketing practices and pay civil penalties under California consumer protection law. These measures are part of a settlement agreement between the Los Angeles-based company and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.Read More
A class action settlement requiring the manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout, a popular chemical hair straightener to pay a small compensation to salon workers and customers who used its formaldehyde-laced products doesn’t go far enough to protect public health.Read More
U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers have detected lead in 400 brands of lipstick tested by the agency. At least two popular brands had amounts of the neurotoxin above the threshold the state of California considers safe in personal care products, which is 5 parts per million.Read More
People are messy. So is nature. And what people do when nature unleashes its fury often makes things worse.
The staff at Environmental Working Group took a look at the major environmental news stories of the year and came up with two lists: the Top 10 Good News stories and the Top 10 Bad News stories.Read More
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced today that 321 cosmetics companies have met the goals of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, the Campaign’s voluntary pledge to avoid chemicals banned by health agencies outside the U.S. and to fully disclose product ingredients – a pioneering practice in the cosmetics industry. An additional 111 companies made significant progress toward those goals.Read More
"Natural" and homemade cosmetics and cleaning products aren't by definition safer than mainstream products. EWG takes a closer look at two common plant-based ingredients - tea tree and lavender oils - and finds that the science is still evolving and safety can't be assumed. First of a two-part blog on health concerns tied to natural ingredients. Part one of a two-part blog series.Read More