The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, has probably been the most useful tool for me in gathering information about the toxins in our world around us.
Their Skin Deep database is one that I frequent in order to check the safety of the products I use for me and my family. After much investigation, they use a rating system that informs the consumer of the concerns and potential risks regarding the product. Each item gets a score based on its level of harmfulness. The lower the score, the less harmful the product. Check it out here.
Much of the issue with toxins in our products is the lax (read: complete lack of) government protocol. The FDA basically treats all chemical ingredients used in baby, skincare, household and makeup products as “innocent until proven guilty”. Basically, they let you put anything in your products, and if theres an issue thats scientifically proven to their standards, they’ll ban it… we hope.
Here’s how they explain themselves:
“It’s against the law for a cosmetic to contain any ingredient that makes the product harmful when consumers use it according to directions on the label, or in the customary or expected way. This is true whether or not there is a regulation that specifically prohibits or restricts the use of the ingredient in cosmetics…
Under U.S. law, cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market. Cosmetic manufacturers have a legal responsibility for the safety and labeling of their products. FDA can and does take action against cosmetics on the market that do not comply with the law…
Under U.S. law, FDA does not have the authority to require cosmetic manufacturers to submit their safety data to FDA, and the burden is on FDA to prove that a particular product or ingredient is harmful when used as intended. We make these decisions based on reliable scientific information available to us.”
That’s pretty scary.
The EWG has created an “EWG Verified” mark that is slowly making its way onto tons of products, to ensure that EWG-approved, non-toxic products are accessible and visible to the consumer.
They are also pushing a campaign called #RaisingtheBar, fighting for higher standards when it comes to the safety of our cosmetics. Watch the perfectly clever video here. And join the fight to raise the bar by staying informed, spreading the word, and share your support of healthier cosmetics using the hashtag #RaiseTheBar. Use it when you want to share about a verified product or to encourage companies to get their products verified. (EWG)