BUYER BE CLEAR 1 (Think Twice...Three Times (!) Before Purchasing Those Cosmetics...)
Ho! Ho! Ho! Got shopping fever?
Malls sparkle with holiday cheer and colorful lights... retail spots are packed with smiling personnel who magically appear to help you fill bags... lists are getting checked off, secrets are growing, and tantalizing cosmetics -- packaged in appealing ways -- abound. But before you start collecting all those colorful, sweet-smelling, youth-enhancing products, know the facts -- and the myths!
Did you know...
- that hundreds of ingredients banned in Canada, Europe, and Japan are sold in cosmetics in the United States?
- that the FDA doesn't review most products found in stores? They don't have the authority to insist that companies test their products for safety or to demand recalls of harmful goods!
- that the term "hypoallergenic" doesn't mean much at all? There are no governing federal regulations pertaining to that labeling!
- that over the past three decades, the cosmetic industry's safety panel has evaluated less than 20% of cosmetic ingredients?! And during that time, only 11 specific ingredients were deemed unsafe...
- that chemicals in lip gloss get licked and swallowed and therefore ingested?
- that chemicals in lotions and sprays are absorbed through the skin and can affect reproductive organs (they are referred to as hormone disruptors)!
- that "organic" goods are not a safer guarantee? Just because they are labeled as such does not mean they don't contain synthetics... and they can have just 10% (of organic products) by weight or volume!
- (References: ewg.org/Rano & Houlihan; "Myths on Cosmetics Safety" 2007-12)
Don't panic! It can feel overwhelming -- but the bottom line is we have to take control. A little education goes a long way, and just as we are what we eat (our food choices); we are our sculpted, refined selves (our workout choices); we are also our cosmetic choices (our long-term health and that of the environment).
I have tremendous respect for the research done by Environmental Working Group (ewg.org). Their goal is to "fill in where industry and government leave off, " and given our situation, that is salient. The fact that EWG gets about 1,000,000 page views each month reveals how much smarter and more proactive we are becoming as consumers. This is an area we can also explore specifically for you -- based on your lifestyle and cosmetic needs.