If you don't have a lot of time, I consider the following mandatory reading for every cosmetics consumer. Below is an excerpt from the article 'Myths on Cosmetic Safety'. The full article can be found at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/myths-on-cosmetics-safety/
- "Myth – The government prohibits dangerous chemicals in personal care products, and companies wouldn’t risk using them.
Fact – Cosmetics companies may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances, without government review or approval (FDA 2005, FDA 2000).
- More than 500 products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union (EWG 2007b).
- Nearly 100 products contain ingredients considered unsafe by the International Fragrance Association (EWG 2007c).
- A wide range of nanomaterials whose safety is in question may be common in personal care products (EWG 2006).
- 22% of all personal care products may be contaminated with the cancer-causing impurity 1,4-dioxane, including many children’s products (EWG 2007d, CDC 2009).
- 60% of sunscreens contain the potential hormone disruptor oxybenzone that readily penetrates the skin and contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans (EWG 2010, Calafat et al 2008).
- 61% of tested lipstick brands contain residues of lead (CSC 2007)."