Americans assume personal care products on the market today have been tested or approved by the federal government. However, they are largely unregulated. In fact, it has been more than 80 years since Congress last updated the federal law designed to ensure that personal care products are safe. The Food and Drug Administration does not even require the basic safety testing of ingredients in personal care products before they are used.
Although other countries have taken action to protect their citizens from chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm, FDA lacks the basic tools needed to ensure the safety of cosmetics and other personal care products.
Now a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to change that.
EWG has long sounded the alarm that the FDA does not subject cosmetics to similar premarket reviews for efficacy and safety. After you’ve read a few ads for anti-aging creams, you might be asking yourself, are these supposed miracle creams cosmetics or drugs? When do regulators insist on testing? Is there sufficient FDA oversight for anti-aging products? The answer may give you worry lines.Read More
At EWG, we know how much you care about the safety of personal care products. Over the next several weeks we will delve deeper into some of the crucial issues surrounding these products. EWG's investigative series, "Exposing the Cosmetics Cover-Up," will take on a wide range of topics that should be on the minds of everyone who uses a personal care product. As EWG has long known — and as leading medical specialists recently underscored -- many cosmetics and personal care products contain potentially toxic ingredients. Major cosmetics companies have not publicly committed themselves to removing harmful ingredients. We'll look at deceptive claims made by some popular anti-aging products. And we'll help you sort out cosmetics safety facts from myths.
“Skin Perfector.” “Balance, brighten, renew and protect.” “Anti-aging.”
The ads sound too good to be true. BB (stands for beauty balm) and CC (stands for color corrector or complexion corrector) creams claim to be all-in-one moisturizer, concealer, foundation and sometimes sunscreen.Read More
Looking for the right bug repellent for yourself and your family? EWG's Director of Research Renee Sharp and colleague Ashley McCormack give some helpful tips on ways to choose.Read More
Savvy consumers know that cosmetics do not have to be tested and proved safe before making it onto store shelves. Consumer protections for personal care products are outdated and broken, so shoppers must do their own legwork to ensure that the products they buy are safe – by reading labels and using resources such as EWG’s Skin Deep database.Read More
The Canadian government has proposed sunscreen rules much stronger than those governing U.S. sunscreens. Because numerous companies are major players in both the Canadian and United States markets, if Canada’s planned rules take effect, they could prompt welcome changes in sunscreens sold in the U.S.Read More
We need safe cosmetics reform now!
Mercury in mascara? Lead in lipstick? Scientific studies have shown that many common personal care products contain dangerous chemicals. EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database evaluates nearly 80,000 personal care products and close to 10,000 ingredients in these consumer products.Read More
You asked for it, and we’re building it: a mobile shopping app for EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.Read More
Allergies are an increasingly serious health issue for millions of Americans, especially children. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of American children and teenagers reported to suffer skin allergies increased from 5.2 million reported cases between 1997 and 1999 to nearly 9.3 million between 2009 and 2011. Another 12.6 million children and teens were estimated to suffer from respiratory allergies in 2009 to 2011, according to the CDC.Read More
Ever looked at the labels on your shampoos, moisturizers and cosmetics? Do you really know what chemicals you're putting on your body? EWG scientist Nneka Leiba explains some helpful tips on what to watch out for before you buy.
As a child, one of my least favorite activities was getting my hair styled. It required a lot of time and patience -- two things I had in short supply.Read More
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently (Sept. 7) warned Lancôme to stop making grand claims for several of its anti-aging products -- claims that would require the agency to approve them before the products could be sold to consumers.Read More
This week marked a huge victory for consumers. Johnson & Johnson, global manufacturer of such well known health and personal care products as Johnson's Baby Shampoo, unveiled plans to reformulate many of its adult cosmetic and toiletry products to remove potentially toxic or cancer-causing ingredients.Read More
Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest personal care product companies, has announced a groundbreaking new initiative to reformulate many of its personal care products, including baby shampoos and lotions, to remove chemicals of concern to consumers.Read More
As we change gears from the Hall of Shame and begin to focus on the upcoming annual EWG Sunscreen Database, EWG research was mentioned in a number of consumer health stories. The Washington Post ran a story on preserving the quality of the Potomac River, reminding readers to chose personal care products wisely as they end up down the drain. Forbes, Treehugger and Mother Nature News all mentioned our Hall of Shame, with the line of the week coming from Treehugger: "Environmental Working Group (EWG) to the rescue."Read More
Last month, the New York Times published a story about my efforts when I was pregnant to rid my home of toxic chemicals. The story featured a photo of my 18-month-old daughter and recounted how I threw out a large pile of cosmetics, cleaners and other products that my research, using EWG's online Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, found to contain dangerous substances. While at the time I thought I was doing the right thing for my family, when I read readers' comments, I felt as if I were on Nickelodeon, in one of those scenes when an unsuspecting person has an entire bucket of green slime dumped on her head.Read More