Cosmetics, skincare, and personal care products are essentially unregulated in the United States.
90% of cosmetic ingredients have never been analyzed for their health impacts.
That means only 1,400 ingredients in what the FDA estimates to be a total of 12,500 ingredients in personal care products have been checked.
The lack of oversight is startling. According to the Environmental Working Group:
Under federal law, the FDA
- Cannot require companies to test cosmetic products for safety before marketing.
- Does not review or approve cosmetic products and cosmetic ingredients before they are sold to the public.
- Cannot regulate cosmetic products until after they are released to the marketplace, and even then the process is extremely cumbersome.
- Cannot require product recalls. The agency must to go to court to remove misbranded and adulterated products from the market.
- Cannot require manufacturers to register their cosmetic products, file data on ingredients, or report cosmetic-related injuries. Instead, FDA relies on voluntary reporting of ingredients, injuries and establishments.
Essentially, companies are free to use almost any ingredient they choose in personal care products, with no proof of safety required.
The Canadian government and European Union have banned over 1,300 chemicals for use in personal care products, declaring them unsafe for human use. The United States government has banned just 11.
The result is that the Environmental Working Group, through extensive studies, has found nearly 400 products on the market in the United States that contain chemicals prohibited for use in other countries, and “over 400 products containing ingredients that industry assessments have found unsafe when used as directed on product labels.”
We now have a cosmetics market where “more than 1 in 5 products contains chemicals linked to cancer; 80% contain ingredients that commonly contain hazardous impurities, and 56% contain penetration enhancers that help deliver [often toxic] ingredients deeper into skin.”
This is not ok.
We urgently need and deserve a better way.
This is my mission.