“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…. Mercury, lead, and placenta extract – all of these and many other hazardous materials are in products that millions of people, including children, use every day,” according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research organization dedicated to consumer safety.
The EWG's Cosmetic Safety Database
That’s why the EWG created its Skin Deep cosmetic safety database. This free searchable database is an elegant, lightning fast, highly detailed safety guide you can use to find out what's in your cosmetics and personal care products.
The database offers “Hazard Concern” safety ratings for more than 27,000 products, under 1,675 brand names, including more than 17,000 unique chemicals (listed under some 65,000 names). Products are organized into eight major categories and more than 90 subcategories. The safety ratings draw on information from more than 50 toxicity and regulatory databases, and the service has attracted 47 million searches since it went live in 2004.
When you search for a specific product at this site you will:
- Find out if it’s ranked low, moderate, or high hazard on a 10-point scale.
- See a list of ingredients in the product, each with its own hazard score and explanation.
- Be able to view a ranked list of other products in the same category with lower hazard scores.
The particular moisturizer we used in a trial search ranked a 5 overall (moderate hazard), with concerns in 4 of 5 hazard categories. Hazards for individual ingredients in this product ranged from a safe zero for the microcrystalline wax to 8 (high hazard) for the fragrance. (See the site’s informative video titled: What is “Fragrance”?) We also found scores of other moisturizers with a much safer overall hazard score.
You can also use this website to:
- Review a "Safety Guide to Children's Personal Care Products" that lists ingredients to avoid and "best picks."
- Search the database by product type, ingredient, or company;
- Find lists of the most high-concern ingredients, products, brands, and companies;
- Find information on a company’s animal testing position;
- And much more.
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.