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.


Toxic Products Fact Sheet

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. While unsafe, unregulated products endanger everyone, they pose unique risks to women. Learn more! 

Harmful Chemicals in Personal Care and Cosmetic Products Lead to Negative Health Outcomes for Women 

On average, women use 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. Men, on the other hand, use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients according to the Environmental Working Group. Their study shows that some of the chemicals in personal care and cosmetic products have been linked to health problems.

Toxic Personal Care Products and Women’s Health: A Public Health Crisis

With few exceptions, current federal law does not require makers of cosmetics and other personal care products sold in the United States to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before their products go on the market.

Unregulated Cosmetics, Eurocentric Beauty Standards, and the Effect on Black Women’s Health

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.

 

Women’s health groups to Congress: We need strong cosmetics standards

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?

In late 2016, our allies at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) set out to investigate whether some of the biggest beauty, personal care, and cleaning brands were hiding unlabeled toxic ingredients in their products…