Harmful, untested chemicals rife in personal care products

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In the United States, the average person is exposed to more than a hundred chemicals from cosmetics, soaps, and other personal care products before leaving the house in the morning. While people may assume these products are safe, their chemical ingredients are mostly untested and largely unregulated, with even known carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals still found in some formulations. What’s more, ingredient labels can be misleading, leaving even the savviest consumers in the dark about the safety of the products they use every day.

“The lipstick we wear, the food we eat, and the soap we use to clean our children’s hands often contain harmful chemicals,” said Mia Davis, head of health and safety for the personal care product company BeautyCounter. “The load adds up quickly day after day. And as we swallow, breathe in, and lather up, toxins entering our bodies may have lasting impact.”

Davis delivered her talk, “Toxic Trespass: Harmful & Untested Chemicals in Everyday Products,”  to a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) audience on February 6, 2014.

Chemical exposure has been linked to rising rates in breast cancer, asthma, autismreproductive problems, and other health issues, Davis said. Many chemicals in personal care products have never been tested for safety, and may also accumulate and interact in potentially harmful ways.

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