Recently, a British poll shed light on the potentially large exposure to chemicals that many women may face because of their heavy use of personal care products. The deodorant company, Bionsen, funded a survey of 2000 women that discovered the “average” British woman wears 515 chemicals on her body daily.
These chemicals come from the multiple ingredients contained in personal care products such as lipstick, perfume, deodorants, and moisturizer. The study found that most of the chemicals were present on the face or head of the women. This means that women can breathe or ingest the chemicals more easily, increasing their exposures. The usually low dose chemicals can mix on the face and perhaps create greater risks. Many of these chemicals have not yet been tested for their effects on people’s health.
What’s not surprising is that the researchers found,
“More than a third of the women who took part in the study were unaware of the key ingredients in their toiletries, with only nine percent aware of most of the ingredients in the cosmetics they put on each day.”
My appalled friend Vicky, who has worked in cosmetics marketing, says that some American women are likely to wear even more chemicals because of their pattern of product use. To my surprise, she said that men, too, are increasingly covered with chemicals because they’re being targeted by the personal care industry as a valuable new market. I likely wear many chemicals on my body since I use deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, and moisturizing lotion for my dry hands. Some of my male friends use many more products.
Since I joined GoodGuide, I’ve switched to safer products, which will hopefully help reduce my risks. But as companies add even more “functions” to their products, they’re adding more and more complicated ingredients. That’s why companies should provide full details on what they use in their products – and give consumers the choice of buying simple, safer products instead.