DC — Most people think that the ingredients in personal care and
cosmetic products are safety tested before they are sold. But there is
no such requirement in federal law.
To help consumers make informed decisions
about their products, Environmental Working Group (EWG) is re-launching
its popular Skin Deep website, the only online source for assessing and
comparing the safety of personal care products. Skin Deep, first
launched 3 years ago by the EWG, generates more than 1 million unique
page visits a month. Skin Deep 3.0 is a dramatic upgrade of the
database, both in the number of products assessed and the
sophistication of EWG's safety reviews. This newest version evaluates
the safety of nearly one-fourth of all personal care products on the
Skin Deep fills the information gaps left
by an industry that markets thousands of products with ingredients that
have not been assessed for safety by either industry or government
health experts. By law, the government cannot mandate safety studies of
cosmetics products or their ingredients, and only 13 percent of the
10,500 ingredients in personal care products have been reviewed for
safety by the cosmetic industry's own review panel. For virtually every
product on the market, safety decisions are made behind closed doors,
guided by an industry-funded panel, without the benefit of peer-review
or independent pre-market safety testing.
"Under federal law, companies can put
virtually anything they wish into personal care products, and many of
them do. Mercury, lead, and placenta extract — all of these and many
other hazardous materials are in products that millions of Americans,
including children, use every day," said Jane Houlihan, Vice President
of Research at EWG. "Mothers shouldn't have to worry about what is in
the baby lotion they use, and now they don't have to. The new Skin Deep
database provides information on nearly 25,000 personal care products
so people can find out for themselves which products are the best
choices for them and their families."
EWG's scientists and programmers built Skin
Deep to be a one-of-a-kind resource, coupling our in-house collection
of cosmetics and personal care product ingredient listings with more
than 50 integrated toxicity and regulatory databases — the largest
public, product-safety database in existence.
Consumers can also use Skin Deep to create
customized shopping lists — products free of fragrances or carcinogens,
for instance — while manufacturers can construct one-of-a-kind safety
assessments, rating all their product ingredients at once to aid in
reformulation plans to make their products safer.
is a not-for-profit group that uses the power of information to protect
human health and the environment by researching pollution in food,
water, air and people.
Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include the Breast
Cancer Fund, Friends of the Earth, Women's Voices for the Earth,
Environmental Working Group, National Environmental Trust, National
Black Environmental Justice Network, Health Care Without Harm and