Cosmetics Are Making Us Sick

The Guardian is reporting that the “largely self-regulated” US cosmetics and personal care industry allows the use of more than 12,000 chemicals, a number of which are “unsafe.”

“Since it first came under FDA purview in the 1930s, the industry has had only nine chemicals banned from use,” the story said, noting that “more than 40 countries have banned 1,400 chemicals in cosmetic products.”

Among those permitted chemicals are “known or suspected carcinogens” like the formaldehyde “found in some keratin hair treatments, body soap and nail polish” and the coal tar “found in some hair dyes and shampoo,” as well as heavy metals and more than 200 possible “endocrine-disrupting chemicals like parabens and phthalates.”

(In an extreme case, one consumer advocacy group even found toxic PFAS chemicals — literally the ones used in flame retardants and Teflon – in cosmetic products.)

“Consumer health advocates and some researchers have for years warned that at least some of those are unsafe,” the story said, and now they’re “trying to connect the dots between these intimately used products and some worrying and unexplained disease trends – particularly in women.”

As the story noted, while overall cancer rates are on the decline, “certain types of cancer – including those of the thyroid, liver and skin – are on the rise, according to the latest government data.” And considering that cited studies had American women coming in contact with “nearly 200 chemicals” across 12-16 products a day, cosmetics seem like a plausible suspect.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to be seeing these health impacts in our society before we make changes,” one expert said. “How many people had to die before we realized that smoking actually causes cancer?”

You can read more about it at The Guardian.

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