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  |  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
Press Release  |  December 12, 2019
The Ecology Center today published a new report that finds an upward trend in toxic-free children’s car seats available for purchase between 2016 to 2019. In a three-year span, five major companies have released flame retardant free car seats.
News  |  November 13, 2019
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) happens each year toward the end of October. This year, the Ecology Center brought together lawmakers, impacted families, health professionals, and environmental organizations to discuss the best policies and practices.
Media Mention  |  November 8, 2019
Toxic PFAS were found in artificial turf playing fields according to a new Ecology Center report.
Press Release  |  November 6, 2019
Lowe’s announced that it will phase out the sale of all indoor residential carpets and rugs containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)