American women put nearly 168 chemicals on their bodies every day, according to a non-profit health advocacy group called the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The chemicals women use are found in roughly 12 everyday, personal care products.
Men were found to use fewer products; however, they average close to 85 chemicals they put on their bodies each day.
A teenager’s average usage of personal care products is 17 each day.
Seven years ago, the Environmental Working Group obtained blood and urine samples from 20 teens to find out which chemicals remained in their bodies. Test results showed the teens had 16 hormone-altering chemicals, including phthalates and parabens.
Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group’s vice president of government affairs said, “Many if not most of these chemicals are probably safe. We can’t know for sure because they haven’t been subject to any kind of review by a third party.”
Faber has been trying to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over cosmetics for more than 30 years. Ten years ago, Faber and his organization developed a Skin Deep database, which allows consumers to find out what chemicals are in the personal care products they use. The database also offers advice as to whether a product’s chemicals pose any health risks.
Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, introduced an amendment to the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. They want to give the FDA more power and supervision to regulate the chemicals people put on their bodies every day. They call it the Personal Care Products Safety Act.
Senator Feinstein said, “From shampoo to lotion, the use of personal care products is widespread, however, there are very few protections in place to ensure their safety.”
The proposed bill contains 98 pages, which consist of systems to register personal care companies, including a list of their products and ingredients. It also requires the FDA to check the safety of the products, and each year, review five chemicals that are generally contained in personal care products. According to a report by ABC News, the list of chemicals will likely be lead acetate, quaternium-15, propyl paraben, methylene glycol/formaldehyde, and diazolidinyl urea.
Scott Faber says, “These are basic tools that should have been granted to the FDA decades ago, but are only now being provided in the Feinstein-Collins bill. Cosmetics are sort of the last unregulated area of consumer products law. I can’t overstate how little law is now on the books. The FDA virtually has no power to regulate the products we use every day.”
The Personal Care Products Council provided a statement pertaining to the potential of the FDA regulating personal care products. They said, “While we believe our products are the safest category that FDA regulates, we also believe well-crafted, science-based reforms will enhance industry’s ability to innovate and further strengthen consumer confidence in the products they trust and use every day. The current patchwork regulatory approach with varying state bills does not achieve this goal.”
Since the bill is proposed legislation, the FDA is unable to comment.