Body Care an Oxymoron?

February 18, 2010

I’ve spent the last couple weeks researching all the various toxic ingredients that are typically located in body care products (they were in all of mine, at least), and I gotta tell you, the whole notion of “body care” is starting to feel like an oxymoron. Women (and men to an extent too, but not to the same level a women) spend so much money on body care products and cosmetics, that it has become a multi-billion dollar industry. We are willing to pay obscene amounts of money for products that are supposed to help us care for and maintain our bodies, yet it turns out these products are doing the opposite of what we are paying for! They contain detergents, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, and carcinogens, that are making our bodies sick! It’s infuriating.

Part of the problem is the cosmetics/body products industry is a self-regulating. There is a panel that reviews the safety of ingredients – the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), but it is an industry-funded panel, not an independent government health agency. Sadly, the honor system just doesn’t work in this instance.

Another element that makes me really upset, is that the European Union has banned approximately 1,200 cosmetic ingredients, whereas the FDA in the U.S. has banned only eight.[1] EIGHT. We are still using chemicals that have been deemed unsafe by other countries. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), body care products sold in the U.S. frequently violate industry safety standards set in other industrialized countries.[2] So… do they care about their citizens more? Because keep in mind – we’re talking about a multi-BILLION dollar industry. It isn’t exactly like these companies are struggling to get by and couldn’t possibly afford to make things in a healthier way, even if it costs more. Is it really just that money and profit matters over everything else here?

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References: [1] http://www.wholeliving.com/article/europes-natural-beauty-products  [2] http://www.ewg.org/unsafecosmetics

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