A recent study found that over 50% of children in the United States use toxic cosmetics and body products contained in at least one of its ingredients. These ingredients include phthalates, parabens, and triclosan, which have been linked to developmental and reproductive problems, cancer, and endocrine disruption.
Young children, in particular, are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of these chemicals due to their developing bodies and brains. Exposure to these ingredients can have significant health impacts, with phthalates linked to developmental and reproductive problems, asthma, and allergies.
At the same time, parabens have been found to disrupt hormones and may contribute to breast cancer.[2,4] Triclosan, a common antibacterial agent, has been shown to contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and may also have hormonal effects.
Lack of Regulations
The lack of regulation and safety standards in the cosmetics and personal care industry is a cause for concern.
No federal regulations in the United States mandate the safety testing of cosmetics and personal care products before their sale to consumers. Some ingredients are banned in certain countries, but the U.S. has yet to take similar regulatory action.
Parents can take steps such as reading product labels and avoiding products that contain potentially toxic ingredients to protect their children. Natural and organic alternatives, including those using essential oils and plant-based ingredients, can be safer.
Advocacy groups have called for increased regulation and safety standards in the cosmetics and personal care industry to protect consumers, especially children. The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act proposes more stringent regulations requiring companies to test their products for safety, ban certain ingredients linked to health risks, and improve labeling requirements. Consumers can also play a role in driving change within the industry by supporting companies that prioritize safety and sustainability.
In conclusion, addressing the significant health risk of using potentially toxic cosmetics and body products marketed toward children is necessary. Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of these ingredients, and the lack of regulation and safety standards is a cause for concern. Parents can choose safer products to protect their children and advocate for increased regulation and safety standards. By taking action, consumers can help drive change within the industry.
- Hammock, R., Woodruff, T. J., & Buckley, J. P. (2021). Alarming Findings: Most U.S. Children Use Potentially Toxic Cosmetic and Body Products. SciTechDaily. Retrieved from https://scitechdaily.com/alarming-findings-most-u-s-children-use-potentially-toxic-cosmetic-and-body-products/
- Environmental Working Group. (n.d.). Ingredients of Concern. Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredients/
- Rudel, R. A., Fenton, S. E., Ackerman, J. M., Euling, S. Y., Makris, S. L., & Gray, J. L. (2011). Environmental Exposures and Mammary Gland Development: State of the Science, Public Health Implications, and Research Recommendations. Environmental Health Perspectives, 119(8), 1053-1061. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002864
- Darbre, P. D., & Harvey, P. W. (2008). Paraben esters: Review of recent studies of endocrine toxicity, absorption, esterase and human exposure, and discussion of potential human health risks. Journal of Applied Toxicology, 28(5), 561-578.