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Cosmetics

American families assume personal care products on the market today have been tested by the federal government. Unfortunately, the personal care products industry remains largely unregulated. The FDA does not even require safety testing of ingredients in personal care products before they are used.  While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has limited authority to regulate cosmetics, our current laws leave them powerless to screen for chemicals that have been linked to cancer, harm to the reproductive system in both men and women, and severe allergies, among other health effects. The federal law designed to ensure that personal care products are safe has remained largely unchanged since 1938.

Americans have waited far too long for cosmetic safety reform. The Personal Care Products Safety Act would reform regulation of personal care products, requiring companies to ensure that their products are safe before marketing them and giving FDA the tools it needs to protect the public.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A major loophole in federal law allows fragrance manufacturers to hide potentially hazardous chemicals in product scents, including substances linked to allergies, birth defects, and even cancer. Because they won't tell you what's in the scents they sell you, we combed through thousands of Valentine's Day gift ideas to bring you products that not only smell great, but that are also free of hidden, potentially hazardous fragrances.

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Reports & Consumer Guides
Thursday, February 8, 2007

Many of the cosmetic industry's chemical safety assessments reveal that common petroleum-based cosmetic ingredients can be contaminated with a cancer-causing impurity called 1,4-dioxane.

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Key Issues:
News Release
Thursday, January 4, 2007

The New York Times' most emailed article of the day reports on the absurd marketing claims for cosmetic skin creams and the high prices the products demand. A Manhattan dermatologist recommends reducing your daily skin care routine to two simple ingredients: gentle soap and sunscreen, and a third product only for specific skin needs like acne or pigment spots. Avoid the high-priced brands, because no research suggests more expensive products are any better.

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News and Analysis
Article
Friday, October 20, 2006

While industry and government officials debate the safety of nanotech, 256 popular products have already been identified where nanomaterials are listed as ingredients. Products include eye liner, moisturizer, bronzer, lip balm and sunscreen.

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News and Analysis
Article
Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Today the New York Times reports some disturbing news about certain drugs and cosmetics causing preschoolers to go into puberty. In one case, a girl and her brother--whose father had been using a testosterone skin cream--started growing pubic hair just from skin contact with their father. Her brother also developed some aggressive behavior problems. The article cites some 1998 cases of early breast development in young girls brought on by a shampoo which contained estrogen and placental extract.

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News and Analysis
Article
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Marla Cone of the Los Angeles Times has writtten a brilliant (albeit disturbing) article on the many products for sale in the US which have been banned in most other countries as toxic. The piece leads with an example of formaldehyde-laden plywood, sold throughout the US, but illegal even in China, where it is manufactured.

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News and Analysis
Article
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

EWG submits comments to FDA on the need for a public process to identify and evaluate the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetics. Recommendations to FDA include the need to identify nano-scale materials in personal care products and complete product safety evaluations in those cases.

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Testimonies & Official Correspondence
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Comments to U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Docket: FDA Regulated Products Containing Nanotechnology Materials
Docket number: 2006N-0107

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Testimonies & Official Correspondence
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
EWG's analysis of 25,000 personal care product labels found that more than 250 products on the market today contain one or more of 57 different types of nano-scale or micronized ingredients identified on product labels. Another 9,500 products contain ingredients that are available in nano-form, but were not labeled as either nano-sized or conventional-sized on the label. The absence of a clear government definition for nano-materials makes quantifying their presence in personal care products even more difficult. Read More
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News Release
Monday, September 25, 2006

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Hundreds of angry Chinese women have taken to the streets of Shanghai demanding refunds for US-Japanese cosmetics after authorities detected banned chemicals in some of the products.

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News and Analysis
Article
Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Confronting the criticism of health and environmental groups, three major nail polish manufacturers have begun the process of removing a trio of substances that have been deemed harmful. The chemicals formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), have been linked to cancer and birth defects. All were banned earlier this year in cosmetics by EU regulators but have not been targeted for removal in this country by the FDA.

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News and Analysis
Article
Friday, October 21, 2005

 

The New York Times gets it wrong in an otherwise nice article about organic labeling of health and beauty products. Synthetic ingredients used in cosmetics are generally considered safe. The Food and Drug Administration requires that cosmetics makers make sure that their products are safe.
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News and Analysis
Article
Thursday, June 30, 2005

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California Assembly's Health Committee advanced a bill that would require manufacturers of personal care products to inform the state's Department of Health Services whenever they are making products with chemicals linked to cancer or birth defects.

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News and Analysis
Article
Thursday, March 17, 2005

Not content to pander to the cosmetics industry by requiring no safety testing on American personal care products, the Bush administration is now working to thwart Europe’s attempts at improving product safety. Government correspondence uncovered by staff of the House Committee on Government Reform shows that the administration mixed with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) for a lobbying campaign to cripple Europe’s new laws, the Oakland Tribune reports.

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News and Analysis
Article
Monday, March 7, 2005

FDA calls industry's bluff on product safety.

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Testimonies & Official Correspondence
Friday, September 24, 2004

A full-page advertisement in USA Today challenges cosmetics companies to come clean about whether they plan to remove toxic chemicals that are banned in the European Union from products sold on American shelves. The advertisement was placed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of US health and environmental groups.

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News Release
Thursday, September 16, 2004

Which of those common expressions matches your outlook on consumer products and chemicals: look before you leap, or shoot first and ask questions later?

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News and Analysis
Article
Wednesday, June 2, 2004

There's increasing concern about the risks of chemicals in personal care products. The Independent reports that the growing use of cosmetics and toiletries, which contain many known toxic or untested chemicals, may be harming children who will develop cancer and fertility problems as adults.

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News and Analysis
Article
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Most people are surprised to learn that the government neither conducts nor requires safety testing of chemicals that go into health and beauty products. Today a panel funded and advised by the cosmetic industry determined that cosmetic companies can continue to add reproductive toxins known as phthalates to cosmetics marketed to women of childbearing age.

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Reports & Consumer Guides
Monday, July 8, 2002

In May 2002 a coalition of environmental and public health organizations contracted with a major national laboratory to test 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of phthalates, a large family of industrial chemicals linked to per- manent birth defects in the male reproductive system.

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Reports & Consumer Guides

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