Personal Care Products or Toxic Hazards?

toxic hazard     Have you ever stopped to think about just what is in all those personal care products you use?

In the “old days” anything we put on our body, from lotions to cosmetics to soaps, was made from natural ingredients.  Perfumes were made from flowers or herbs.  But now, with the onslaught of chemical formulations, who knows what’s in all this stuff.  It can actually be scary when you start to look into what’s happening in this industry.  Are these ingredients safe?  Have they been tested?  How are they affecting our health?  Who is looking out for us?  You might not like the answers.

Did you know that public health laws allow . . . ?

*Almost any chemical as an ingredient in personal care products

*Misleading and incomplete labeling of ingredients

*Unsubstantiated claims about product benefits, like dermatologist-tested, gentle or natural

*No required safety testing of products or ingredients

*No reporting of product related injuries or damaging effects

The Cosmetics Ingredients Review, which is the industry’s self-policing safety panel, isn’t much better.  In 2007 an Environmental Working Group study found that over the past 30 years the panel has reviewed the safety of only 13% of the 10,500 ingredients in personal care products.

Think about this the next time you use ANY product that “smells nice”:

The term “fragrance” usually means a chemical cocktail, often containing chemicals associated with allergic reactions or hormone disruption.  Fragrances are in everything from deodorant to shampoo to laundry detergent to home air fresheners and so on.  The law doesn’t require product labels to list any chemicals in a fragrance mixture.  Avoid these toxins.  Change to fragrance-free products.

The FDA states that fragrances cause 30% of all allergic reactions.  About 72% of asthmatics develop respiratory symptoms when exposed to perfume.  About 95% of all ingredients in fragrances are synthetic.  Some contain as many as 100 chemicals, with a portion of these being known to cause cancer, birth defects, and problems with the nervous system.

Aren’t Governing Agencies Protecting Us?

The following was taken from a statement made by Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the FDA, 08/11/97:

“Whether the issue is hair spray, or shampoo, or lipstick, or baby powder, suntan lotion, soap or toothpaste, Americans assume that the products they use are safe.  But this confidence is too often unjustified.  The basic Federal law regulating cosmetics has not been updated since 1938.  The FDA cannot require that products be tested for safety or that the results of safety testing be made available to the agency.  It does not have the right of access to manufacturer’s records.  It cannot require recall of a product.”

Sadly, not much has changed since this 1997 statement, even with all the new scientific-based information and work by various scientific studies, and activist or environmental groups.  So just who is looking out for our health and safety?  We have to do a lot of it on our own, mostly by becoming educated.

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P.S.  If you’re worried about what’s in your personal care products, you can try mine (all natural ingredients) here

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