You might not realize that the make up we put on our faces or the hair and body products, sunscreens, and nail polish we use on a daily basis have a host of dangerous chemicals, endocrine disruptors and allergens like mercury, lead, parabans, pthalates, and others. According to watchdog organization, Environmental Working Group, “On average, a woman puts 168 chemicals on her body each day.” In addition to the many known hazardous chemicals, there are many other synthetic compounds, like fragrances, without enough information to know whether they are safe or not because federal legislation regarding product safety hasn’t been updated in 75 years. The Environmental Working Group estimates that of the more than 10,000 chemical ingredients in personal care products, 89 percent have not undergone safety testing.
Are these chemicals necessary?
Given the known and unknown dangers of all these chemical additives, I think not! Who needs cherry-scented rubbing alcohol? Some American cosmetic companies sell the same products in Europe without the chemical additives. That’s because the European Union strictly regulates the extremely hazardous chemicals found in everyday products in the United States and has banned about 1,100 chemicals, while the FDA has banned only ten!
Safe Alternatives? Of course!
The average woman “eats” more than 6 pounds of lipstick over a lifetime, just one of many cosmetics used. Fortunately now there are many lines of organic personal care products. Whole Foods Markets and independent natural food stores carry several, like Dr. Hauschka, Mychelle, Badger, Burt’s Bees. Local farmer’s markets often sell homemade and all natural insect repellant, body scrubs and soaps. CVS also carries Burt’s Bees.
Be sure to read the labels however, some products are “cleaner” than others and be wary of names too long to pronounce. A knowledgeable sales person will be able to help you find the safest products.
Organic cosmetics and personal care products are not only better for your health, but better for the earth too! When discarding them, fewer chemicals will go down the drain or in the trash, seeping into our valuable water supply and landfills.
For more information or to rate the toxicity of your personal care products, visit www.safecosmetics.org, which does an online safety assessment of 75,223 products.
Information from ewg.org and ecosalon.com.
For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.