How to Avoid Chemicals in Cosmetics & Personal Care Products

Many individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the toxins they ingest via foods or supplements, but the chemicals found in cosmetics and personal care products can be just as harmful.

Your skin is your largest organ, and because it's so porous, chemicals can easily transfer from your epidermis to your blood stream. Traces of dangerous chemicals have been located in blood, urine and even breast milk.

While the European Union bans over 1,000 chemicals, the U.S. has only red-flagged 11 total. The U.S. FDA has not been give the governmental authority to properly test for safety (nor recall) dangerous products.

This can make it incredibly overwhelming when you're out shopping. Fortunately, the EWG has done all of the research for you... you no longer have to be a chemist to successfully shop for safe products.

EWG Verified products undergo stringent analysis. The following standards must be met:

  • Must score "green" within the Skin Deep rating system.
  • Cannot contain any ingredients on the Skin Deep unacceptable list.
  • Fully disclose ALL ingredients, including the umbrella terms of "fragrance," which can encompass approximately 3,000 ingredients.
  • No proprietary ingredients.
  • Must be fully transparent.
Listen in as Nneka Leiba, MPH, MPhil, Deputy Director of Research for the EWG, joins Dr. Friedman to explain why cosmetics and personal care products can be so harmful, as well as what the EWG Verified label entails.
How to Avoid Chemicals in Cosmetics & Personal Care Products
Nneka Leiba, MPH, MPhil
Nneka-LeibaNneka Leiba has a passion for the environment and environmental issues. This passion led her to earn several related degrees, including a Master of Philosophy in zoology from the University of the West Indies and a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.

She joined the EWG team in 2006 and works on many toxics issues, including cosmetics and water quality. She has appeared on CNN and several local television stations talking about consumer exposure to toxic chemicals and has been quoted in a wide range of national publications including TIME, Yahoo News, and Huffington Post. In 2009 she was named a “Green Game Changer” by O Magazine for her unique research for EWG.