The next time your out shopping for cosmetics, turn over the bottle of either shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, etc., and read the ingredients. While it is difficult to understand, let alone pronounce a lot of those ingredients, we have to be concerned, we have to be informed, and we have to be our own health advocates.
Although things are improving on the regulating of cosmetics through Health Canada, there is still concern regarding the possible long term effects, and of the known chemicals still in cosmetics.
There is a great little video called “The Story Of Cosmetics” that was put out by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. While this is a US based group and the regulations and laws are also US based, there is information here that is pertinent to Canada. Primarily the fact that many cosmetic ingredients are unsustainable toxic petrochemicals, and how the use of some products together can build up toxins in our bodies, that intern effect our long term health. You can view the video here.
Canada’s system of testing and regulating cosmetics is much more advanced than that of the United States, but there is still room for improvement. Health Canada has banned or restricted over 500 chemical ingredients for use in cosmetic products. These chemicals can be found on Canada’s Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. Comparatively, the U.S. has banned only 8 chemical ingredients for use in cosmetics.
That all being said, on Health Canada’s website there is a notice to manufacturers if a “hotlist” chemical is found in their product;
If a cosmetic contains an ingredient which appears on the Hotlist, the manufacturer may be advised to:
Remove the ingredient from the formulation;
Reduce the concentration of the ingredient to an acceptable level;
Consider marketing the product as a non-prescription drug or natural health product, with appropriate claims and application for a Drug Identification Number (DIN) or Natural Product Number (NPN);
Provide evidence that the product is safe for its intended use;
Confirm that the product is labelled as required;
Confirm that the product is sold in a child-resistant package.
This is somewhat alarming knowing that these are chemicals that have proven health concerns and yet could still be considered to have “an acceptable level” and allowed in cosmetic products.
60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream! That’s nothing to ignore. Our skin is our largest organ and we need to nourish it, not load it full of toxins!
Here’s a couple of great resources for you to use when searching for safe skincare products. EWG (Environmental Working Group) has compiled a Skindeep Database that rates products and ingredients and gives them a hazard score. You can delve deeper and find out exactly what ingredients are making a product rate as a high hazard, or even find out about the chemical or ingredient being used, and what it could potentially do to your health.
The following attachment from David Suzuki’s website, is a great little resource for ingredients best to avoid in products. Print it off and bring it along the next time your shopping for cosmetic products.