Toxic Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
The products that we use day after day, decade after decade, on our eyelids, cheeks, lips, scalps, underarms, and sexual organs should be as well-regulated as those we eat. But right now, they aren’t—with major consequences for our health. Toxic ingredients in cosmetics and other personal care products like shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, makeup, baby powder, vaginal douches, lotion, body sprays and perfumes, and hair dyes and straighteners have been linked to ovarian cancer, breast cancer, early onset of puberty, fibroids and endometriosis, miscarriage, poor maternal and infant health outcomes, diabetes and obesity, and more.
With few exceptions, current federal law does not require cosmetics and other personal care products sold in the United States to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they go on the market. Manufacturers aren’t required to list all of their ingredients, test their products, use good manufacturing practices to prevent contamination, or even recall products that they know are dangerous.
As a result of these lax regulations, the cosmetic industry has been mostly self-regulated for more than a century! Big businesses have made big money selling products to women that they know are harmful.
With few exceptions, current federal law does not require cosmetics manufacturers to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before their products go on the market. Learn more!
In researching toxic cosmetic products, I was shocked to discover that Just For Me Shampoo, a product specifically marketed to Black girls, was the most toxic product in a study conducted by the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP). I felt awful because I and many of my friends and family grew up using Just For Me products and I know that many other Black women have as well.
Led by the National Women’s Health Network, 42 national, state, and local organizations united by their shared interest in lifting up the voices of women sent a letter today to the House Energy and Commerce Committee calling on them to include the strongest possible safeguards to protect women’s health.
Since You Asked: Which products are the most toxic? Who is impacted most by the use of these toxic products?
Many organizations are focused primarily on healthcare treatments and cures – the NWHN considers the prevention of disease to be a central priority. We hope that women can be as educated as possible when it comes to cosmetic products that have the potential to be harmful or disease inducing.