Hygiene Products for Dummies: Cosmetic Safety Database

Decoding Household Chemicals

Sometimes the process of sifting out bad chemicals from your personal care routine can seem daunting. Fear no more! The Environmental Working Group has given regular folks a powerful tool to weed out bad personal care products.  I use it constantly, and I hope you will too. It's called Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database -- don't let the word "cosmetics" fool you; both men and women will benefit from this database.  Read more for all the details.

In the whirlwind of chemical products that is American consumerism -- household cleaners, personal care products and fragrances -- the Cosmetic Safety Database is a good tool to help us gauge the good from the bad.

How it works:

  • The Cosmetic Safety Database gives products scores ranging from 0 to 10.
  • Low hazard is 0-2.  Moderate hazard is 3-6.  And high hazard is 7-10.
  • Simply enter the product of your choice in their search field. 
  • In addition to giving you the product's score, it will also provide details like specific ingredients and their health hazards.
  • For example, best-selling Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock got the high score of 7, which they classify as "not recommended".

Word to the Wise:
What if you have no knowledge of chemicals, personal care brands, or products in general? No problem. Just click on any of the categories (e.g. skin, oral, sun protection, etc.), and the Cosmetic Safety Database will spit out an entire list of products within that category, sorted by their hazard scores.

Prevention is the Best Cure:

Earlier this year, the President's Cancer Panel released a landmark 200-page report calling Americans to take more rigorous approaches to how we prevent cancer. The report emphasized cancer prevention by limiting exposure to chemicals in our daily lives. This is above and beyond the usual common sense advice like routine doctor visits, eating right, and exercise. The Cosmetic Safety Database is one link in the chain to help us identify and control our exposure to harmful chemicals.

As always, stay informed and green your routine to what fits you best.


Extra Tidbits:

  • Only 200 of more than 80,000 chemicals in the U.S. have been tested for safety.
  • Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.

Previous Decoding Household Chemicals Posts:


(Images: Flickr member storyvillegirl)

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