At Democracy Now, Amy Goodman has put the spotlight on the many toxins currently used in beauty products.
It’s just amazing that the cosmetics only now being sought to be regulated by the federal government are not currently being regulated. At present, any corporation can put any petro-chemical into any beauty product, yet it can get away with calling it “Natural” or “Herbal.” Stacy Malkan indicates that many of the ingredients contained in cosmetics aren’t even listed on the labels. She summarizes her point with this: “There’s no need for it. There’s absolutely no reason on earth for baby shampoos to contain carcinogens.”
As expected, the industry rep counters that we can generally trust the industry and that there is no cause for concern:
The levels are very low. The exposures have been assessed and determined not to be a health risk to children. And the notion of cumulative exposure, I think, is one that needs to be explained a little further, because normal safety assessment by toxicologists will take into account margins of safety that will address issues of a cumulative exposure. So this is not really a problem with regard to these trace contaminants . . . We know what materials are unsafe. They are not used in products. This has been known for a long time. And the industry practices help.
Check out the excerpt for “The Story of Stuff” early in the video. Many of the ingredients we put on our skin are demonstrably dangerous. If you doubt this, check out your favorite personal care products at the Environmental Working Group.
How does the U.S. compare to Europe regarding regulating these products. Stacy Malkan reports:
Europe has banned about 1,100 chemicals that are known or highly suspected of causing cancer or birth defects. And many other countries have followed suit. Japan has banned formaldehyde. These are chemicals—some of them are still being used in the United States. For example, we find dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, coal tar in dandruff shampoo, lead acetate in men’s hair dyes. Those are products you wouldn’t find in Europe. And so, the US is much further behind.
On a separate segment today at Democracy Now, Amy Goodman features Jane Houlihan of the Environmental Working Group. Here’s what Jane has to say about dangerous products:
Dark permanent hair dyes are linked to cancer. When you use those for a long time over your lifetime, those can be quite toxic. Nail care products tend to contain some of the most hazardous ingredients. But we also find carcinogens in baby products. We find skin lighteners that contain chemicals linked to cancer. So, a really broad range of issues. One very problematic area is sunscreens, which are poorly regulated in the US. We found that we could recommend only eight percent of sunscreens on the market that could really give you broad spectrum protection you need to prevent—help prevent skin cancer and also that don’t contain hazardous ingredients that can seep through the skin and pose other kinds of health concerns.
About the Author (Author Profile)Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.
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