Propylparaben, Retinyl Acetate, and Butylparaben can cause endocrine disruption, biochemical or cellular level changes, and organ system toxicity, among (many) other side effects, like cancer. They’re also found in one of Neutrogena’s best-selling bronzing powders, sold at most drug and grocery stores.
Talk about a great marketing campaign – ‘You too can have cancer for the low, low price of only $10.99!’
Even Aveda, a hair product company branding itself as pure and natural, uses ingredients linked to immunotoxicity and endocrine disruption. The pervasiveness of chemicals in cosmetics is not only under-reported, but also seemingly inescapable.
A friend of mine once, so eloquently, said, “It’s everywhere. You can’t get away from it, so why waste your life worrying about it.”
With next to no regulation from the FDA and no incentives for cosmetic companies to actually report dangerous chemicals in their products, rolling over requires little to no effort on the part of the consumer.
Americans spend approximately $33 billion on cosmetics every year and yet the majority of these products do not require FDA approval; nor are they required to list any toxins or allergens in the ingredients. You’re essentially flying blind through the aisles of Sephora.
In 2006, the European Union created REACH – Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals. All chemicals manufactured or imported into the EU must be registered under REACH. According to Cosmetics Europe, “The Regulation’s fundamental purpose is to ensure that no substance adversely affects human health or the environment, under normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions of use.”
Where is REACH in America?
Jennifer Lunden of Orion Magazine writes, “Thanks to REACH, some of the cosmetics companies peddling products containing questionable chemicals to Americans are already selling those very products, but with less-hazardous chemicals, to our neighbours across the pond.”
It would appear that rolling over hasn’t gotten us very far. As with so many things, the quintessential American spirit – Stand up for your beliefs! – has fallen away to ‘oh, it’s too hard.’
The toxicity of common chemicals in cosmetics is so unpublicized that it’s hard to get riled up about. The very fact that so little is known and/or written about should be extremely alarming. And that should be enough to get riled up about!
Watch out for any of these listed in your shampoos, lotions, foundations, bronzers, and whatever else you smear all over yourself.
- Formaldehyde releasers – DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15, are considered carcinogenic.
- Parabens – propylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben, are hormone disrupters, and as noted earlier, are found in foundations, bronzers, and other makeups.
- Retinyl palmitate and retinoic acid – speeds the development of skin cancer, and are ironically found in anti-aging creams.
The Environmental Working Group has rated over 68,000 products – from shampoos to nail polishes – for their ingredients. We don’t have to roll over – nor should we – know what’s in your daily products, and support companies that don’t use toxic chemicals!
Five Companies with Safe, All-Natural Products