The Dark Side of Chemistry: Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics

Scrutinizing the safety of cosmetics ingredients. ‘Can you tell from the labels on cosmetics whether the products contain ingredients that may be harmful? In most cases, no, although a coalition of environmentalists known as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is trying to change this, with some success.
In 2005, one of the members of the campaign, the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, issued a report comparing ingredients in 7,500 personal care products against lists of known or suspected chemical health hazards. It found that one in every 120 cosmetic items – including shampoos, lotions, makeup foundations and lip balms – contained known or probable carcinogens.’

Chemicals Found in Detergents, Cosmetics Disrupting Hormone Activity in Fish – and Humans. ‘Scientists are suggesting a common cause for two seemingly unrelated events, the feminization of fish in Jamaica Bay, where the former 50-50 male-to-female ratio has all but disappeared, and enlarged breasts in young boys.
The common factor: endocrine disruptors, chemicals found in detergents, cosmetics and other products of daily living that increasing numbers of scientists now believe play havoc with normal hormone activity.’

Cancer and cosmetics. ‘Yet some of the 10,000 ingredients in beauty products are suspected or confirmed carcinogens, hormone-mimicking chemicals or substances linked to birth defects. And in an age of increasing fear over chemical exposures, the $5.3-billion cosmetics industry is poised to become the new frontier for health and eco-minded consumers.’


  1. Interesting and essential to know.

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