According to findings from one study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), women living in the U.S use an average of 12 beauty products every day, containing nearly 200 chemicals, and it’s not always easy to know exactly what chemicals in beauty products you might find.
Chemicals are found in all type of cosmetics, skin care and personal care products, including makeup (lipstick, foundation and eye shadows), shampoos and other hair care products, body lotions and sunscreens.
As explained in an article published in The Guardian:
The US cosmetics and personal care industry is largely self-regulated. Since it first came under FDA purview in the 1930s, the industry has had only nine chemicals banned from use. More than 12,000 chemicals are approved for use today.
What chemicals should you avoid in beauty products? Potentially harmful chemicals in beauty products to steer clear of include:
•certain parabens and phytates
These are among 20 contaminants that have been recently banned in California and Connecticut, two states pioneering efforts in the U.S. to clean up the beauty industry.
The California Ban
Believe it or not, more than 40 nations have stricter cosmetic safety regulations than the United States, including a mix of both industrialized and developing nations. That’s not very surprising considering that the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act hasn’t been changed since it was originally enacted in 1938.
There are an estimated 1,400 chemicals that have been used in beauty products in the past that are now banned in more than 40 countries. However, the U.S mostly lags behind, only having banned nine chemicals due to potentially dangerous effects, as well as some additional pesticides, narcotics and radioactive substances.
Recently, in response to growing concerns over their potential health impact, legislators in California banned chemicals in beauty products. New legislation will outlaw the use of 20 chemicals and contaminants that are considered the most dangerous among those used in cosmetics.
This makes California the first U.S. state to prohibit the use of these hazardous ingredients in the personal care industry. As Sen. Connie Leyva, who authored the bill, said, “SB 312 which will ensure that consumers in California know what ingredients are in the beauty and personal care products they bring home to their families and use on their bodies.”
A Connecticut state senator also introduced legislation that will hold cosmetic manufacturers to the same strict standards as those put forth by the EU.
According to recent findings, what chemicals in cosmetics are dangerous? Chemicals now banned in California for use in beauty, skin and hair care products include:
•Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers
•Dibutyl phthalate and diethylhexyl phthalate
•Mercury and related compounds, including thimerosal
•PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)
•lead and related compounds
These chemicals have already been banned by the European Union, and by many other nations, but continue to be used in the U.S. legally.
Harmful Chemicals in Beauty Products
What are the most toxic beauty products? Here is a list of some harmful chemicals in beauty products that may be threatening your health right now: