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Personal Care Products

Personal Care Products
Many of your common, every day personal care products contain harmful chemicals. These products include cosmetics, soaps, shampoos and other personal hygiene items. We will discuss just two of the chemicals found in personal care products.

1-4,dioxane

In 2007, the Environmental Working Group studied the ingredients in more than 27,000 personal care products. One chemical, known as 1,4-dioxane, was found in more than 28 percent of the products.

In three product groups for babies (bubble baths, shampoos and soaps), they found more than 55% of the products contained this chemical.

Contrary to industry statements, there are no regulatory standards that limit formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane or most other toxic chemicals in personal care products sold in the United States. Other nations have stricter standards.

Canada has also banned this chemical from personal care products. In addition, since 2006, manufacturers must disclose all cosmetic ingredients and are required to register their products.

The European Union (EU) has banned 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics (including 1,4-dioxane). The EU Cosmetics Directive was adopted in January 2003, and the most recent revision occurred in 2013.

In comparison, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics. Unlike the United States, EU law requires pre-market safety assessments of cosmetics, mandatory registration of cosmetic products, government authorization for the use of nanomaterials and prohibits animal testing for cosmetic purposes.

In April 2017, two senators petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit the use of 1,4-dioxane in personal care products. The FDA says it has been monitoring levels of the substance in cosmetic products since the 1970s, amid concern from studies linking it to cancer. However, they have not taken action.

Harmful chemicals in personal care products

Many of your common, every day personal care products contain harmful chemicals. These products include cosmetics, soaps, shampoos and other personal hygiene items.


Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is another harmful chemical found in many sunscreens and at least 567 other personal care products. A 2008 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 97% of Americans are contaminated with this chemical. 

A companion study released one day earlier found this chemical is linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed to oxybenzone during pregnancy. However, the CDC still recommends the use of sunscreen with oxybenzone.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has delayed issuing final sunscreen safety standards for almost 40 years and still lists oxybenzone on the list of “acceptable active ingredients” in sunscreen products.
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