Thursday, March 1, 2007

Green Living: Personal Care Products May Contain Cancer Causing Chemicals

Although companies are required by law to list all chemical ingredients in a personal care product, a loophole allows them to list "fragrance" as a general category instead of a specific one.

"Fragrance" can actually include complex mixtures of hundreds of chemicals - some of which have been linked to allergies, skin reactions, endocrine and hormone disruption, and possibly even birth defects.

Companies are not required to test cosmetics for safety before they are sold, and the FDA does not systematically review the safety of fragrances. Instead, the fragrance industry regulates itself, a practice that has led to widespread use of chemicals that can cause health problems, including:

* Phthalates: These plasticizing ingredients have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm-motility in adult men, among other problems. Phthalates were present in nearly three-quarters of 72 products tested by the Environmental Working Group, although the word "phthalate" never appeared on any label.

* Musks: Artificial musks accumulate in the body, and have been linked to skin irritation, hormone disruption, and cancer in laboratory studies.

* Allergic reactions: Fragrances are among the top five known allergens, and can cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks.

The solution? Choose fragrance-free all-natural cosmetics.

I use Jason Natural Cosmetics.

Environmental Working Group

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