Our skin, the largest organ of the human body, protects us in many ways. Amazingly, it is also porous, allowing the body's waste to be eliminated and allowing substances to be absorbed.

 

Regulation

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the cosmetic industry, which includes all bath and body care products, such as shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, cologne, perfume, etc.

According to the FDA, "With the exception of colors and certain prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use essentially any raw material in a product and market it without prior FDA approval." (FDA, 2005) Of the over 10,000 ingredients used in cosmetics, the FDA has prohibited 8 ingredients and allows restricted use of 3 ingredients. By comparison, for cosmetic products, the European Union prohibits the use of over 1,300 ingredients classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction and restricts approximately 60 ingredients.

 

How to Read a Cosmetic Labels

Federal Law requires all cosmetic labels to list ingredients in descending order of amounts. The good news: if we are educated consumers we can select only healthy products that meet our own personal standards. Need help knowing what to look for?

The guides below will help you read labels so you can better protect your family. Learn what ingredients to avoid in both personal care and cosmetic products. We also have a list of ingredients that we recommend you avoid, products they are commonly found in, and alternatives that are safer for your family and for the planet. 

Published on January 31, 2017

News

News  |  February 27, 2018
We called on Michigan-based Meijer and TJX-Companies (TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls, and Sierra Trading Post) to stop using toxic receipt paper coated in BPA and BPS in their stores. Unfortunately they have failed to take action to protect their cashiers & customers.
Press Release  |  January 29, 2018
The Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff program released a new report, More Than You Bargained For: BPS and BPA in Receipts, in which over 200 paper receipts from 150 businesses were tested for known endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
News  |  December 27, 2017
Many parents start with cereal as the first food or one of the first foods. In a recent study, rice cereal testing revealed arsenic. Yes, arsenic. Neurotoxin. No safe level. Arsenic.
News  |  December 21, 2017
2017 has seen unprecedented rollbacks on public health and the environment. Ever wonder what you can do? Here are some concrete ways to create positive impact on climate, as well as other critical environmental health issues in 2018.
News  |  November 28, 2017
Retailers remain on the frontlines of consumer discontent with the chemical safety of the products they buy and sell. In its second annual report card on safer chemicals in consumer products, the Mind the Store Campaign found that...
News  |  October 26, 2017
The Healthy Stuff team has been working on researching phthalates (THAL-eights), a plasticizer and solvent. We found that almost all the cheese products we tested were contaminated with phthalates, a hormone disruptor.