By Estelle Hayes
Sodium lauryl sulfate is an effective degreaser used to clean oil stains from the floor of my mechanic’s repair shop; what’s it doing in my toothpaste and my daughter’s bubble bath? And, why is the long-known carcinogen nitrosamine, banned in Canada and the European Union, still a common ingredient in my mascara, concealer, sunless tanning lotion and baby shampoo?
The simple answer is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration still doesn’t bother to regulate anything it dismisses as cosmetics — any products used topically — despite the growing science showing how easily poisons and pollutants can be absorbed through the skin. Since the 1930s, the only thing the FDA regulates is the accuracy of the labeling on cosmetics.
As long as manufacturers list in gory detail the witches’ brew of industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and toxic substances they blend into your eye cream or face wash, they are free to dump whatever they want into your epidermis.
As consumers, we are left to defend ourselves armed only with unintelligible ingredient labels and confusing news reports about what parts per billion of something can cause cancer or Alzheimer’s. Americans are taking their bodies on a magical mystery tour full of chemicals and heavy metal toxins by way of basic grooming habits.