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

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The new report shows that all six food chains sampled had one or more food packaging items that likely contain toxic PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)—chemicals known to threaten human health.
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A new report, The Mattress Still Matters, released by the Ecology Center and the Getting Ready for Baby (GRfB) campaign makes it easier for parents to make an educated choice about crib mattresses and reveals a need for transparency in the crib mattresses market.
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Ecology Center’s pioneering Healthy Stuff model combines low cost, rapid chemical screening techniques with creative and collaborative online campaigning to drive transparency and empower consumers in unprecedented ways.
Dow Chemical
Press Release  |  June 10, 2020
In the wake of the recent historic flood in Mid-Michigan, state, federal and local authorities, and Dow Chemical Corporation must work with due diligence and transparency to protect the health of the residents, wildlife and the environment they rely on.
News  |  March 19, 2020
As we adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all taking urgent steps to protect our health, the health of the people we love, and the health of people most vulnerable.  The rapid spread of the virus is forcing changes to our day-to-day lives at breakneck speed.
News  |  February 16, 2020
Residents fought to keep the plant from opening, and then to shut it down, for thirty years. As a health hazard and noxious neighbor, the incinerator drew protest from citizens, environmental coalitions, and Canadian leaders across the river since planning began in the mid 1970s