ITíS SAFE, ISNíT IT?

Have you stopped to think about the products that you use in your home each day?  If you are like most of us, you most likely have not.  After all, companies wouldn't sell products if they weren't safe, would they? There are government agencies looking out for our health and safety, aren't there?  We have laws on the books to protect us, don't we?

Well, the truth of the matter is there are companies that do sell dangerous products, and the government has very limited power to regulate them or require testing of their products. Consider the following:

  • A product that kills 50% of lab animals through ingestion or inhalation can still get the "safer" federal regulatory designation.
  • Of the 17,000 chemicals in household products, only 30% have been sufficiently tested for negative health effects; 10% have been tested for effects on our central nervous system; and nothing has been done to determine combined effects of these chemicals in our bodies.
  • There are no laws that require companies to include the exact ingredients on labels. And, chemical names are frequently disguised by trade names that you don't recognize so you may never know what's in the product.

Now, let's talk about personal care products, or cosmetics. The federal government defines cosmetics as articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body's structure or functions. Included in this definition are products such as skin creams, lotions, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail polishes, eye and facial make-up preparations, shampoos, permanent waves, hair colors, toothpastes, deodorants, and any material intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product. The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) is the closest regulatory agency for personal care products, but it's power is very limited.

  • FDA can't regulate personal care products until after they are introduced into the market.
  • Personal care products nor their ingredients are reviewed before they are sold to the general public.
  • FDA is not permitted to require recalls of cosmetics. If FDA wishes to remove a cosmetic product from the market, it must first prove in a court of law that the product may be injurious to users, improperly labeled, or otherwise violates the law.
  • FDA can't require companies to do safety testing on their personal care products before selling them to the public.