We all use personal care products. In fact, according to an Environmental Working Group survey, the average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day, and the average man uses 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients. Shampoo, toothpaste, soap, face wash, and lip balm are among the products that people use on a daily basis. Products are loaded with ingredients like parabens, DMDM hydantoin, Cocamide DEA, Alpha hydroxy acid, Ceteareth, Oleyl alcohol, and Behentrimonium Chloride. I couldn't tell you what one of these ingredients was without research, however. Could you?
Many of these ingredients are harmful and untested in the US even though chemical exposure has been linked to rising rates in breast cancer, asthma, autism, reproductive problems, and other health issues. So why can companies get away with selling chemicals to consumers? According to a 2014 Harvard School of Health article:
"Under a law that has not been updated since 1938, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has little power to regulate the ingredients in personal care products. Even known offenders such as formaldehyde, triclosan, and phthalates are still legally permissible in product formulations. Companies are allowed to label their products organic, natural, or hospital-approved based on their own interpretation of the terms, Davis said. They can also hide problematic ingredients in proprietary formulations by listing them as “fragrance” on a label."
Because there has been absolutely no regulation since 1938, companies have free will to put any chemicals in their products. These horrifying chemicals don't only exist in beauty products, however. Other chemicals exist in processed and unprocessed food, the grass on which we walk, and in the water that we drink. They harm environmental health; they harm human health.
So what can be done? Education about this topic is needed more than ever. Within the next few days, a new page will be added to the "Resources" tab. It will include information about the types of chemicals/endocrine disruptors, their effects, and how to avoid them. Stay tuned.