Are toxic chemicals lurking in your cosmetics?

toxic chemicals in makeup, cosmetics, and personal care productsI’m quizzing you today. Before you read this post, seek out and gather the first three personal care products you use on a daily basis in the morning (shampoo, lotions, shave creams, make-up, anti-aging serums, perfumes, etc.).

Bring them to your computer and read on…

Did you know that that the average woman uses an average of 12 personal care products each day, exposing herself to more than 160 potentially (and proven) toxic chemicals each day?

Men average around 80 chemicals. The amazing fact is that this is all slathered, lathered, massaged and applied before you hop in the car to commute to work.

Even scarier (for me as a parent, at least), is that every day children are exposed to an average of 27 personal care ingredients that have not been found safe for kids, according to a national survey conducted in 2007 by Environmental Working Group (EWG).

According to EWG, companies aren’t legally required to perform safety studies of cosmetics products or their ingredients, and only 13 percent of the 10,500 ingredients in personal care products have been reviewed for safety by the cosmetic industry’s own review panel.


To keep consumers educated, EWG created the Skin Deep Database, which allows users to do a search for personal care products and then ranks them based on their chemical ingredients. The ranking system is color-coded for easy viewing:

  • products with a low hazard ranking are given a green 0-2
  • products with a medium hazard ranking are given a yellow 3-6
  • products with a high hazard are given a red 7-10

Now, back to your three products…

Enter in all three and post their Hazard Scores in the comments below. How did you do? I’ll report mine (I raided my purse):

  • Burt’s Bees Super Glossy Lip Shine – Sweet Pink – Hazard Score: 3
  • Clinique Long Last Glosswear SPF 16 – Hazard Score: 5
  • Aveda Pure-Fume Spirit Spray – Hazard Score: 8

Using these just these three products in one day exposes me to the following ingredients (which are just a sampling of the toxic soup that’s found in nearly all personal care products):

  • fragrance (moderate evidence of human neurotoxicity)
  • parabens (animal studies show reproductive effects at high doses)
  • FD & C yellow 6 lake (brain, nervous system, or behavioral effects at high doses)
  • mica (one or more animal studies show gastrointestinal effects at moderate doses)
  • red aluminum 28 lake (one or more animal studies show reproductive effects at high doses)
  • the list really goes on and on…

I’m tossing the Aveda product and will use the Clinique one until it runs out. Educate yourselves, my friends, and vote with your dollars, because slathering yourself and your family with untested and dangerous toxic chemicals SUCKS!

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About Julie Hurley

A married mother of two young children, Julie Hurley is a freelance writer with a strong interest in natural living and is the Director of Public Relations at Principia Media. Visit her personal blog at: