Chemicals and Cosmetics

Have you ever thought about  the chemicals that may be lurking in your makeup? We use these products almost daily and nothing seems to go wrong ever, so there can't be too many toxic chemicals, right? Well, in a recent study by the FDA in December of 2016, it was found that 75% of lipsticks tested contained lead. There was another study done back in 2013 by the EHP, and it was found that 400 lipsticks contained lead, as well as aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese. Not cool. Those chemicals, even in small amounts, can seriously affect our health. What exactly can it affect, though? Common concerns due to heavy metal exposure include hormonal changes, menstrual irregulars, reduced infertility, and neurotoxicity with possible learning and behavioral delays. The heart and blood vessels are also at risk for high blood pressure due to toxicity. According to scientists, lead can most often be hiding in color additives and bright hues. Back in December, the FDA publicly recommended cosmetic companies to adhere to a limit of 10 ppm (parts per million) for heavy metals in all beauty products marketed in the U.S. ranging from lipsticks to blushes to shampoos to body lotions and so on. The reason for this was that the FDA stated that that level is consistent with other countries' guidelines, and that the health risk with that level is very low. However, we all know that lead builds up and accumulates over time. Organizations such as the Environmental Health Task Force argue that there is no safe level of exposure, and as I mentioned above, the FDA only recommended, not mandated. Because it was only a recommendation, it wouldn't bind manufactures to follow it, so essentially, it was really only a suggestion for American manufactures.

So let's say you want to really reduce your exposure to these heavy metals hidden in lipsticks and other cosmetics. While the FDA encourages companies to voluntarily eliminate toxic chemicals, it is still not enough and it's hard knowing which ones truthfully follow through - so take matters into your own hands! This all can be really frustrating, but, have no fear. There are organizations and politicians that are working to pass new laws such as the Consumer Product Safety Act that will ensure safer products for everyone. There are also reports and consumer guides that give recommendations for products that are free of heavy metals such as mercury and lead. There is a cosmetic database, provided by the Environmental Working Group, and it will rate the toxicity of different brands and products for you.

Bottom line?
Do your research. Yes, it is impossible to completely avoid all exposures, but it -is- worth the effort to try and limit it and learn new strategies. It's important to learn as much as possible about toxic cosmetics in order to protect your health. Know what the current regulations and rules are. Do as much as you can to ensure you are limiting your exposure.

1 comment

  1. What are some safer cosmetic options? Do you know of any brands worth using that are safe?


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