Toxic Chemicals in Beauty products

  • There is growing concern that some of the products we use to look good, actually could be causing harm.  California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is leading a bipartisan effort in Congress to give the FDA more power to ensure skin and beauty products are safe.  

    Cosmetics and skin care products are largely unregulated. Today's products are made with chemicals like formaldehyde -- used in products from nail polish to some chemical hair straighteners - which is known to cause cancer. Other commonly used cosmetic preservatives include propylparaben and lead acetate, used in hair dye. 

    Under the proposed law, the FDA would test whether those chemicals are being used at safe levels. If not, they can force a recall.

    "We are just assuming all of our hair care, skin care, and our personal care products are safe," said dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, who said she treats patients weekly for adverse reactions to chemicals in beauty products.   "I think we really need to look very closely at some of these ingredients, because we know that at higher concentrations, they can be toxic."  She says the biggest offenders are hair products, especially straighteners, and newer nail polishes that last more than a week - all largely unregulated.

    That's not the story in other countries. The European Union bans more than 1,000 chemicals from personal care products. Of those, the U.S. bans 11. Gregg Renfrew said the lack of oversight led her to start Beautycounter, a natural beauty products company.

    "I think the beauty industry is the last industry that's been forced to clean up its act," Renfrew said.  Feinstein said she expects the bill to pass.  Feinstein said the companies also want to know what's safe and what's not, and that consumers and beauty salons deserve to know.  (”Dangerous chemicals in cosmetics spur action by lawmakers,” CBS News, November 18, 2015; and "Increasing reports of side effects from cosmetics," CBS News, June 27, 2017)

  • Hair products such as hair color, relaxers and perms contain ingredients known to cause cancer and other severe illnesses.  A lengthy list could be made about what to watch out for.

    Formaldehyde
    is just one example of a very toxic ingredient in hair color.   This chemical is considered carcinogenic by the National Cancer Institute. 
    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/formaldehyde


    The U.S. Dept. of Labor
    and Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industries, issued a notification to all salons and beauty schools, warning of the dangers of formaldehyde in beauty products, stating that “Exposure to formaldehyde is linked to nasal cancer, leukemia, eye and skin irritations, breathing difficulties, rashes, permanent chemical sensitization, and other problems.  Nasal cancer and leukemia typically show up years after exposure. 
    http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20111735.htm


    Johnson and Johnson committed to remove the formaldehyde
    from their baby shampoo by the year 2013, and also remove it from their other products by the year 2015.  
    http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=907

    Formaldehyde shows up
    as a preservative and a germicide.  It is also released by other ingredients as a contaminant, so it is not always on the label.  Formaldehyde is listed on the label as cormalin, formic aldehyde, and variations including methanol, methyl aldehyde, or oxymethane.  It is also released by DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, and imidazolidinyl urea – all very widely used in personal care products.  Formaldehyde is used in nail polish, antiperspirant, makeup, bubble bath, shampoo, baby lotions, keratin hair treatments, hair color, and hair-growing products.

    High quality natural beauty products are available
    in some salons, as well as online.  Ask your stylist about the products they are using to ensure you are not being exposed to formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals.  Ask for tips on styling curly hair straight without chemicals.  Beauty products can be found that are safe, with little exposure to questionable ingredients.

    Source:  Malina Rogers, owner/operator, K-Salon – organic and natural products,
    1819 S. Wardson St.
    Spokane, WA  99212
    (southeast of the I-90 Freya exit)
    (509) 926-5392
    http://ksalonorganic.com/

Additional Resources
Chemicals in Cosmetics
"Dangerous chemicals in cosmetics spur action by lawmakers - Congress fights to regulate personal care products," CBS News, November 18, 2015
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-legislation-proposes-greater-fda-oversight-of-chemicals-used-in-beauty-skin-products/

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