What Keeps Me Up At Night: Health and Safety Facts About Skincare & Beauty
On social media, I have been reflecting on my first year as a Beautycounter consultant and and what it has meant for my business and transition into motherhood. If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity (if you are a nutrition professional, it's a no-brainer), watch my video and feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But that's not why I joined.
I joined because I personally have struggled with endocrine-disrupting, migraine-inducing, skin-itching , insomnia-causing toxic ingredients and fragrance in personal care products. Every client I saw as a nutritional therapy practitioner demonstrated some kind of need for liver support and help with hormone balance. Nutrition was only one component. I was struggling to do something about it and find the best way to educate others. Beautycounter filled that void.
I joined because facts like this keep me up at night:
It’s been 82 years since we updated federal law regulating the beauty industry. We’ve introduced over 85,000 chemicals into commerce since WW2 and less than 10% have been tested for safety on human health; they are being used in the products we put on our body every single day. I’m against animal testing, as well, but it’s also NOT ok that we human beings and our babies are being used as guinea pigs.
There are approximately two pages of federal legislation to regulate the U.S. cosmetic industry, which was valued at $62 billion in 2016.
The United States has banned or partially restricted approximately 30 ingredients from personal care products. Meanwhile Health Canada has banned or restricted nearly 600 ingredients from personal care products and the European Union has banned or restricted over 1,400 ingredients. Beautycounter has over 1,800 harmful or questionable ingredients on The Never List.
More than 3,000 materials have been reported as used in fragrance compounds found in cosmetics and other consumer products. But since “fragrance” is considered a trade secret, companies do not have to disclose the ingredients used to create their fragrances, and the consumer is often left in the dark. The blends may include phthalates, synthetic musks, and other ingredients linked to hormone disruption and allergies. Get migraines often? Look at what you are putting on your body and hair!!!
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency that oversees the cosmetic industry. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938 (the federal cosmetic law that has not had a major overhaul in more than 75 years), the FDA has virtually no power to regulate the cosmetic industry. The FDA’s authority over cosmetics is different from other products it regulates, such as drugs, food, biologics, and medical devices. Personal care products are some of the least-regulated consumer products on the market. The FDA does not require that cosmetic ingredients be assessed for safety before they go on to the market, and they cannot issue a product recall. According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at FDA, “...a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.
Women use an average of 12 personal care products a day, and men use about six. Teenage girls average 17 products a day. This can mean exposure to hundreds of chemicals just in the course of a morning beauty routine.
Biomonitoring studies, which measure specific chemicals found in blood, urine, or tissue, help us to understand our potential body burden of chemicals absorbed from personal care products. Highlights of recent studies include:
Women who used more personal care products, particularly those with fragrance, had higher concentrations of several phthalates in their urine.
More than 200 synthetic chemicals—many of them known to be toxic—were found in the bodies of nearly all Americans, including newborn infants, who are exposed to these chemicals in utero.
Pregnant women represent a particularly vulnerable population, as exposure to potentially harmful chemicals during fetal development may lead to altered health outcomes for the child later in life. Organochlorine pesticides, phenols, PBDEs, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and perchlorate were detected in 99-100% of pregnant women in the United States. Some of these chemicals were banned more than four decades ago, indicating the persistence of these harmful chemicals in our environment.
More than 80% of the 163 infants tested had at least seven phthalate metabolites in their urine, some of which correlated with the use of shampoo, lotion, or powder.
16 different known hormone-disrupting chemicals (including phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks) were found in the bodies of 20 teenage girls. And we wonder why PCOS and infertility is so common...
But there's hope! The use of safer personal care products (defined as those free of suspected hormone-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, and triclosan) significantly reduced the concentration of these hormone-altering chemicals in the urine of teenage girl volunteers in just three days. These results demonstrate that with conscious consumer habits, we can reduce our body burden to harmful chemicals
CSC: http://www.cctfa.ca/site/consumerinfo/FragranceReport_Final.pdf Taylor KM et al. (2014) Human exposure to nitro musks and the evaluation of their potential toxicity: an overview. EnvironmentalHealth, 13:14.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals Atlanta (GA): CDC, 2005.
Baby care products: possible sources of infant phthalate exposures http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18245401