The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Women Apply an Average of 168 Chemicals on Their Bodies Every Day
Is it any surprise that the lotions, soaps and other products we use to make ourselves look younger or "better" might contain a nasty slew of chemicals?
If you're unsure or want to understand what these chemicals can do to your health, a recent report in The Guardian would be a good place to start. The report says that although many of these chemicals might be harmless, others might be endocrine disruptors, carcinogens and neurotoxins. Women are particularly at risk since they use more personal products—such as makeup, anti-aging creams and hair products—compared to men.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
The report was based off research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The nonprofit survived about 2,300 people in the U.S., and found that the average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. The average man uses six products daily with 85 unique ingredients. By using these products, we might negatively impact our health.
The organization also reported the following:
- 12.2 million adults—one of every 13 women and one of every 23 men—are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products.
- One of every 24 women, 4.3 million women altogether, are exposed daily to personal care product ingredients that are known or probable reproductive and developmental toxins, linked to impaired fertility or developmental harm for a baby in the womb or a child.
- These statistics do not account for exposures to phthalates that testing shows appear in an estimated three quarters of all personal care products but that, as components of fragrance, are not listed on product ingredient labels.
- One of every five adults are potentially exposed every day to all of the top seven carcinogenic impurities common to personal care product ingredients—hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs and acrylamide. The top most common impurity ranked by number of people exposed is hydroquinone, which is a potential contaminant in products used daily by 94 percent of all women and 69 percent of all men.
You'd think that these products would be thoroughly evaluated for safety before they hit the market. However, no premarket safety testing is required for the industrial chemicals that go into personal care products or the chemical industry as a whole, the EWG said.
"With the exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA," according to the federal Food and Drug Administration.
So what's the safest skincare regime to follow? According to the EWG, here are some chemicals you want to pay attention to the next time you shop.
- Soap: Avoid triclosan and triclocarban
- Skin moisturizer and lip products: Avoid retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid and retinol in daytime products
- Hand sanitizers: Pick ethanol or ethyl alcohol in at least 60 percent alcohol
- Sunscreen: Just say no to SPF above 50, retinyl palmitate, aerosol spray and powder sunscreen, oxybenzone, added insect repellent. Say yes to hats and shade in mid-day sun, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients, otherwise Avobenzone (at 3 percent), SPF 15 to 50, depending on your own skin coloration, time outside, shade and cloud cover. Use a lot and reapply frequently.
- Hair Care: Avoid or limit dark permanent hair dyes, chemical hair straighteners
- Toothpaste: Avoid triclosan
- Nails: Avoid formaldehyde or formalin in polish, hardeners or other nail products. Toluene and Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in polish. Pregnant? Skip polish
Here are some tips the EWG esspecially came up for women:
And for teens and tweens:
For more recommendations on what not to buy and chemicals to look out for at the store, consult their "Top tips for safer products" webpage.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?
For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.
By Mara Dolan
We see the effects of the climate crisis all around us in hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and rising sea levels, but our proximity to these things, and how deeply our lives are changed by them, are not the same for everyone. Frontline groups have been leading the fight for environmental and climate justice for centuries and understand the critical connections between the climate crisis and racial justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and gender justice. Our personal experiences with climate change are shaped by our experiences with race, gender, and class, as the climate crisis often intensifies these systems of oppression.