May 15, 2007

Beyond Labeling, Skin Deep

Category: patient_activism,Politics,Tech — Biella @ 2:34 pm

While most of our products are labeled, labels often don’t reveal all that much because really who can decipher the meaning of all those weird oxidase-perio-para-whatever in your shampoo? But thanks to the environmental working group, you can access a very large database Skin Deep, which is a “a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care.” So find out what toxic stuff are in your personal care products, ditch em, and take further action:

As they state on their website:

Due to gaping loopholes in federal law, companies can put virtually any ingredient into personal care products. Even worse, the government does not require pre-market safety tests for any of them.

This is unacceptable. Sign the Environmental Working Group’s petition to Congress to turn this around and make personal care products safe.

So check out the database and the petition.


  1. Personally, I have no problem with them putting whatever they want in their products; if you don’t want it, don’t buy it.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 15, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

  2. There’ve been very nasty problems with drug side-effects in the past, so we require long and expensive testing before the public are allowed to buy the next miracle drug. Have there been any similar problems with personal care products? If not, I see no reason to change from the current system in which the manufacturers should take reasonable care because of tort liability and the value of their reputations.

    Comment by M. Grégoire — May 16, 2007 @ 8:06 am

  3. In terms of the first comment: It seems that while the person may not agree with the petition to regulate these substances, the database project fits nicely within your libertarian call to “if you don’t want it, don’t buy it.” Because the only way one can know if they don’t want it, or at least for me, is to know not just some “name” (which does me very little good) but to know whether they are a known carcinogen and many are proven carcinogens. So yes, I would exercise my consumer right but I need to be provided with consumer information before that is even possible.

    As per the second comment, I don’t think you need long and expensive studies for many are already known to be carcinogens yet indeed, no study will find that one toxin is the underlying cause of x disease. If you are going to be looking for that, well then we won’t find an issue. The effect and role of toxins wor are far to complex for science to adequately model in light of disease because it is often the symbiosis and mixture of MANY toxins along with genetic predispositions that cause the problem, although some major progress is being made. I was happy to see that the Journal Cancer is publishing a study that links pollution among other factors to breast cancer (

    I don’t think lawsuit and reputation alone are strong enough mechanisms (and are often very costly socially and economically) to deal with this problem. While we can’t necessarily get rid of every known carcinogen in these products, starting by regulating the most offending seems like a good way to start.

    Comment by Biella — May 16, 2007 @ 8:27 am

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