What We Don’t Know Might Hurt Us

Did you know that Europe bans over 1,300 toxic chemicals from their personal care products? Did you know that the US bans only 9?

Did you know that the FDA does not regulate the personal care products industry (which includes products for cleaning our homes) and hopes that companies will do their due diligence and issue safe products?

I wonder how that’s working out?

Well, this week, I had a glimpse. I read this article. In it, Women’s Voices for the Earth names several companies, at least one of which markets themselves “non-toxic”. However, when these products were actually tested, they contained toxic chemicals that were not disclosed on the label. For more details, including the whole report, head to their website.

It’s a shame that the FDA does not does not have any legal requirements around the words “organic”, “natural”, “pure”, “safe”, and the like when it comes to personal care products. It’s also a shame that companies can use the word “fragrance” on their product labels to legally hide hundreds of toxic chemicals. Phthalates are often hidden here. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, and have been linked with birth defects, breast cancer, infertility, liver, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and autism and ADHD in first and third trimesters of pregnancy.

In some good news, however, this week Procter and Gamble announced that they would remove triclosan and diethyl phthalate from their cosmetic and personal care products by 2014. Let’s hope this turns out to be true. We still have a long way to go to eliminate all toxic chemicals from our country’s personal care products, but this is a step in the right direction.

If you’re interested in non-toxic alternatives, contact me to learn more about how to read labels and select safer products. If enough people stop buying these unsafe products, companies will stop making them.

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