There are many things in life we take for granted. Most of us drive a car each day, but few understand the complexities of the inner workings of the internal combustion engine. Nearly all of us depend on computers for work and staying connected to the world, but the majority of us know nothing about writing a program or HTML coding.
In recent years, society has entered a new age of enlightenment about what we are putting into our bodies. It seems that all of a sudden people became more aware of the importance of eating organic and non-GMO produce.
Due to public outcry, soft drink manufacturers are removing high fructose corn syrup from their products. A new Whole Foods is popping up every day and more and more people are shopping at their local farmer’s markets. Despite this heightened awareness, many people do not give a second thought to what they are putting on to their bodies.
Our skin is our largest organ. It is the body’s key line of defense against the environment and harmful pathogens. It is also the primary way toxic chemicals are absorbed into our bodies. Studies show that bathing in contaminated water can actually be more harmful than drinking the same water. Our skin’s permeability, the ability of substances to penetrate the skin, is not uniform. So what are the most permeable areas of the skin? The scalp and underarms, which are coincidentally two areas that most potentially harmful chemicals are being applied. How many of us take notice of the chemicals that we slather all over our bodies day in and day out? Surely these products are highly regulated for safety, right? Well, let’s take a look at who’s protecting us.
The government agency tasked with the regulation of the cosmetics industry in the U.S. is the FDA. In actuality, the FDA has little authority or influence in the world of cosmetics. Let?s see what the FDA website has to say about cosmetic regulation:
FDA’s legal authority over cosmetics is different from other products regulated by the agency, such as drugs, biologics, and medical devices. Cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA premarket approval authority, with the exception of color additives.
Manufacturers are not required to register their cosmetic establishments, file data on ingredients, or report cosmetic-related injuries to FDA. 1
Furthermore, “89 percent of cosmetic ingredients have not been evaluated by any publicly accountable institution.” 2
So, if the FDA doesn’t have the authority, who is protecting the consumer? The cosmetics industry has their own self-regulatory panel, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review(CIR), who thus far has only evaluated 11 percent of the ingredients used in your lipstick, deodorant and your baby’s shampoo. 98 percent of all cosmetics sold today contain an ingredient which has not been evaluated for safety. So now you must be thinking, “Well, there must be must a huge list of banned substances in cosmetics, right?” Think again. As of June 2008, during its 30+ year history, the CIR had deemed only 9 ingredients unsafe for use in cosmetics out of an estimated 12,500 currently in use. That’s right, nine. By comparison, our European counterparts have banned over 1,000 ingredients.
Our goal with this blog is to educate the consumers on the ingredients being used by the cosmetic industry and to highlight safe and natural alternatives. One of the core beliefs of the founders of Integrity Botanicals is a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. In the future, we will also delve into other areas such as nutrition, supplementation, anti-aging, fitness and general well-being, as well as feature posts by guest bloggers. To learn more about cosmetics safety, we recommend that you check out the video below called “The Story of Cosmetics,” which highlights many of the topics discussed in this post.