Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Safe, Healthy Cosmetics

I want to address another question today. Summer, who redesigned my blog, asks "about [EWG's] online cosmetics database... how reliable it is, how the rating system works, what research it is based on etc."

For those of you who haven't heard of this database, I'll mention just a little about it first. This is from their site: "Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products brought to you by researchers at the Environmental Working Group. Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 41,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn't require companies to test their own products for safety."

It's really simple. You go to the database and search a product or a brand or an ingredient. Then you get a scored result for how hazardous the product, company or ingredient is. Here are the results for the new baby products we've been using. You'll see that on a scale of 0-10, they receive scores of 1 and 2. Then, if you click on an individual product, you'll see a list of all ingredients and an explanation of how safe each ingredient is. You'll also see the health hazards associated with each ingredient. It's pretty thorough. You'll also see a link to products that have lower scores... useful, huh?

Here is another example. It's the Loreal Springing Curls Mousse that I used for several years. Yikes. It gets a 10! Scary stuff! I wonder if I'm still carrying around some of those chemicals.

In my opinion, EWG and their resources always keep the highest of highest standards. If there is any question about an ingredient's safety, any question at all, it is considered potentially hazardous. So, depending on how much of a purist you are, you may settle for something that gets a low score rather than searching for a zero. But the zeros do exist and they can be found on the database as well.

Here are the specifics on how each product is scored. I consider EWG's database to be very reliable... meticulously driven by volumes of research. If you are at all concerned about your or your children's body burden, I encourage you to spend a little time on this site. It is packed with helpful articles that can guide you as you select products for your family.


Noel said...

yikes! I'll check this out, but I'm probably a walking hazard with all the hair products I use :) I'm giving you an Honest Scrap award, so come by and pick it up (when you have time :)

Summer said...

Thanks Amy! I'm amazed at all the high the toxicity ratings in the database for things people use so frequently.

Anonymous said...

I love the EWG's Skin Deep site. I don't refer to it often enough. I do try to make my own non-toxic beauty products and buy products from our health-food co-op (I probably should still check on those products more diligently). :)