Personal Care Products – Are They Really Safe?

ConsumerReports.org recently reported that since 2012, the Food and Drug Administration has attempted to change regulations concerning personal care products. Currently, the $70 billion industry is not required to list all of a product’s ingredients. Some listed ingredients also pose potential health hazards. Safety laws have remained unchanged since the early decades of the 20th century. In 2013, the FDA and the cosmetics industry initially agreed to legislation that would enable the agency to ensure the safety of products.

However, in recent months, negotiations flip-flopped with groups representing the industry proposing that the FDA should relinquish authority that the agency now has related to taking action against possibly hazardous cosmetics. The groups were quick to deny accusations of a counter-proposal. Consumer advocate groups, on the other hand, are hoping that the FDA will continue to stand strong in defense of consumers.

Known Chemical Hazards

The cosmetics industry incorporates thousands of man-made chemicals into numerous beauty and personal care products. These compounds serve various purposes that include coloring agents, fragrance, foaming agents and preservatives. According to BreastCancerFund.org, some of the more commonly used hazardous compounds include:

* Aluminum – Commonly found in antiperspirants, the metal acts like estrogen in the body and has the potential for damaging DNA. Examination of breast tissue indicates that concentrated levels of aluminum are found in the areas where malignancies initiate.

* 1,3-Butadiene – Found in everything from anti-fungal formulations to sunscreens, the compound is known to cause mammary tumors in laboratory animals.

* 1,4-Dioxane – Obtained from petroleum, the compound is never listed as an ingredient. However, the compound is commonly found in the bath products used by children and adults. A number of cancer research agencies have identified the contaminant as a probable carcinogen.

* Ethylene Oxide – Commonly used as an ingredient in fragrances, the compound is considered to be a known human carcinogen.

* Lead – Estimated as being an ingredient in more than 650 products, the neurotoxic substance is linked with a number of health conditions including delayed puberty, fertility reduction, and miscarriage.

* Parabens – Used as anti-microbial agents, the compounds are readily absorbed through the skin and have been identified as present in breast tumors.

* Phthalates – The endocrine-disrupting compounds have been linked to early puberty.

* Placental Extract – Typically obtained from animal or human placentas, the progesterone found in the tissue may contribute to malignant tumor formation.

* Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs – Naturally occur in coal, crude oil, or gasoline. Often included as coal, tar, or naphthalene, the compounds are often found in a variety of products. PAHs have been proven to increase breast cancer risk.

* Triclosan – Used as an anti-microbial in everything from deodorant to toothpaste, the compounds affect hormones, including the hormones required for thyroid regulation.

Sources:
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/03/outdated-safety-rules-for-the-70-billion-dollar-cosmetics-industry-must-be-overhauled/index.htm
http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/environmental-breast-cancer-links/cosmetics