So there are chemicals in our body wash and toothpaste. We live in a modern world reliant on chemicals. Why should it matter?
Exactly which ingredients are in your products? Are they a magic potion of sudsy delight or are they comprised of cancer-causing chemicals like methylene glycol and coal tar?
Have you ever read the back of your labels? I definitely recommend it. Look up the ingredients to see if they are benign or linked to major health risks.
The safety of personal care products has two distinct camps. On one end of the spectrum, people claim that nearly everything will make you sick and nothing is safe due to factors like cross contamination, nanotechnology and plastics. On the other end, there are those who purport that all chemicals on the market are safe, have been tested and comply with the strictest of standards. After all, the federal government would not allow potentially hazardous chemicals to be on the shelves, right?
Unfortunately, this is not correct. The government has had little authority over what chemical formulas are used in consumer goods. However, a new bill that the president signed on Wednesday, The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, will give more authority to the EPA in regulating and banning chemicals.
The last bill on personal care product safety was passed in 1938…so it just might be time for an update in this specific arena. In 2015, Senators Feinstein and Collins proposed the Personal Care Products Safety Act, which would be the first major overhaul to cosmetics regulation. This would include ongoing safety testing of chemicals found in many personal care products.
This is a huge step in the right direction towards ensuring safe products for consumer. Right now, we don’t know what the effects are of many chemicals, because so little testing has been done on the thousands of chemicals in products.
Chemical safety testing is expensive, and it is not required in the United States before a product is released on the market. Furthermore, there has been no testing on how the different varieties of chemicals in multiple products interact with one another. No one uses just shampoo or just soap, but a combination of 6-12 products on average.
Additionally, we already know that certain chemicals are linked to cancer, reproductive issues for babies, learning disabilities, miscarriage, obesity, neurological disease, asthma and permanent respiration damage. And yet, these ingredients are used with little or no restriction.
There is no warning on the label that chemicals linked to major diseases are inside, and that is why this issue matters. Consumers have a right to know what is going onto, and sometimes into, their bodies. They should also be protected from potentially harmful ingredients. The European Union has banned more than 1300 chemicals by taking a precautionary approach. In the United States, we have banned approximately 11 chemicals from use by taking the “prove it” approach.
This issue won’t be addressed from just one direction. As awareness, advocacy and policy all converge; the time is now to make some major changes in Health & Beauty aisle.