Common cosmetics like lipstick and body and bath products have been found to contain dangerous chemicals linked to cancer, asthma, growth and reproductive harm among other things according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC). Some of the toxic ingredients in American cosmetic products have been banned in the European Union. To alert consumers of the problems and potential harmful side-effects of certain chemicals in cosmetics the CSC has tested many products and listed them on their website.
Lipstick – many lipsticks manufactured today contain lead. A 2007 CSC study found lead in 20 popular brands of lipstick with levels up to .65 parts per million. A 2009 Food and Drug Administration study found lead in all the lipsticks it tested with lead levels up to 3.06 ppm. The brands the FDA found with the highest lead levels were Cover Girl, L’Oreal, Body Shop, Maybelline and Revlon. The FDA has yet to act on these findings because they claim that the lead levels found were too low to “pose a safety concern.” According to the EPA lead exposure is toxic and causes brain and kidney damage and can harm the central nervous system. Lead exposure is especially harmful to children’s cognitive development, growth and reproductive systems.
Nail Polish – many nail polishes contain three harmful chemicals: dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene. These chemicals have been found to harm the reproductive system, cause headaches, dizziness and cancer. In 2006, CSC mounted a campaign against these chemicals targeting the most used salon brand OPI. OPI has since removed all three of the chemicals that prompted competing brands Sally Hansen and Orly to remove the chemicals too.
Bath products – A 2009 CSC study on dozens of baby shampoos found two carcinogens (cancer-causing) 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde. These carcinogens are also found in adult bath products. 1,4-dioxane is linked to sodium laureth sulfate and formaldehyde to quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea. Avoid shampoos, conditioners, lotions, soaps, gels etc with these ingredients.
Fragrance – Fragrance is the innocuous ingredient listed on most cosmetic products. Fragrance is most likely a mix of chemicals but are considered trade secrets so companies don’t have to disclose what the ingredients are. Fragrance is linked to allergic reactions and sensitization. Once a person has become sensitized – which is an immune system reaction – they will have continual allergic reactions to that ingredient. Fragrance also contains phthalates and synthetic musks that have both been linked to reproductive disruption as well as neurotoxins that are chemicals that affect the brain.
In order to check out cosmetic products that you may be using or want to use the Environmental Working Group has created a searchable database that consumers can check the toxicity levels of brands and products.
More health links:
For health benefits of Spirulina click here
How to make safe household cleaners click here
How to make homemade goats-milk lotion click here
How to make homemade lip balm click here