Do we really know what is in your hair spray, your shampoo, your conditioner, your soap, your washing powder, moisturiser or deoderant. Or for women, what is in your lipstick, eye-liner, mascara, foundation, perfumes or blusher. Are the ingredients safe. There is very little regulation into what chemicals can be placed in personal care products. Certainly far less than the regulations concerning food.
The Environmental Working Group has developed the Skin Deep Database listing toxins in your personal care products. With the long list of ingredients in cosmetics, most of us have no idea what we are putting on our skins or in our hair.
Environmental Working Group (EWG) created a core, integrated database of chemical hazards, regulatory status, and study availability by pooling the data of nearly 60 databases and sources from government agencies, industry panels, academic institutions, or other credible bodies. Collectively, these data sources detail more than 1,535 unique chemical classifications. EWG uses these databases to assess potential health hazards and data gaps for cosmetic ingredients. Individual toxicity, regulatory, and study availability data sources we compiled are listed below.
Of particular interest to us should be Primary references – Known and probable carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicants.
Ingredients in Skin Deep’s database
Skin Deep currently contains information on 9,035 personal care product ingredients, culled from ingredient labels on products and from the scientific and industry literature on personal care products. We assign a standardized name to each ingredient in the Skin Deep database, generally taken as the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) standard, with some exceptions where alternate names are more easily recognized by consumers. Each of these ingredient names is associated with a unique ingredient identification number in our database. The processing steps for ingredients are described below.
Skin Deep’s ingredient database is constructed from the sources listed below :
- Product ingredient listings. EWG researchers have parsed ingredient lists from products contained in the Skin Deep product database to construct a database of all unique ingredients listed on the product labels. We have reviewed each ingredient, corrected misspellings in ingredient names, and combined ingredients that are synonyms into a single unique chemical that is assigned a unique chemical identification number in Skin Deep. The database currently contains 152,396 unique chemicals. This means that each ingredient is shown an average of 17 different ways (various spellings and synonyms) on the labels of the various products containing it. Through this work we see that companies routinely ignore FDA guidance for standard ingredient nomenclature.
- Industry ingredient listings. The International Cosmetics Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook (Tenth Edition, 2004, published by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association, Inc.) contains “name monographs” for 491 ingredients listed under their International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) designations. EWG researchers include these ingredients in the Skin Deep ingredient database.
- Industry-reviewed ingredients. The personal care product industry’s (Personal Care Product Council’s) internal safety panel, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, had assessed the safety of _ ingredients as of their latest compendium publication (Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), 2009 CIR Compendium, Washington, DC). EWG researchers entered each of these ingredients (and accompanying safety findings made by the panel) into Skin Deep’s ingredient database.
- Ingredients from toxicity, regulatory, and study availability databases. We imported additional ingredients into the database from the nearly 60 data sources we have compiled on the toxicity, regulatory status and study availability of chemicals in personal care products. These sources are listed below under a section titled “Data Sources.”
- Manufacturer-entered ingredients. Skin Deep contains information on ingredients in products entered into the site by manufacturers via data entry tools we make available to companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics via the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Most of these ingredients are also found in other ingredient sources listed above; some are unique, found in none of our other data sources.