Until recently it never occurred to me to be concerned about the ingredients in my products. Of course, I’ve read about potentially dangerous cosmetic additives like parabens and phthalates, but I also know the proof that these actually cause cancer is pretty limited. (Most of the studies have been done on rodents, not people, and the FDA assures me that the tiny amounts found in my favorite cosmetic are extremely unlikely to give me cancer.) Several oncologists I’ve interviewed have also more or less said not to worry about it.
That being said, a number of companies have developed cosmetics without these potentially-harmful additives, so perhaps it’s time to switch from synthetic cosmetics to strictly natural and organic ones? This, I know, is a very difficult task, but I believe it to be possible, as well as beneficial to both me and the environment. So, to begin my transformation I spent some time this morning on safecosmetics.com, a database run by the Environmental Working Group that lets you search by brand or product.
The site gives everything a hazard rating of 0-10 (with 10 being the most dangerous). I was especially surprised to learn that not all “natural” or “organic” products got a great rating, and that there’s a huge discrepancy in the risk rating among various products by the same brand. So, maybe just focusing on using natural or organic products is not the best way to approach this, and instead actually start reading the ingredient labels, and learning what is truly healthy, and what is merely marketing jargon.