I'm Mary. It's nice to meet you. This blog is a tiny space on the internet to document my musings on style, travel and culture. Enjoy!

Are Your Beauty Products Giving You Cancer?

Oh man. I just stumbled across the Environmental Working Group's database of beauty products tonight and it scared the hell out of me. Why aren't more news outlets writing about this? The EWG, a DC-based nonprofit that advocates for health-protective policies, has rated the safety of over 69,000 products on a scale of 1-10 based on their chemical ingredients, and let me just say, the results are SHOCKING. For example:

Softlips Vanilla Lip Protectant SPF 20 lives in my pocket. I use it probably 10 times a day. I wrote about it here. Apparently it contains a bunch of ingredients linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and other scary stuff! I had no idea! Granted, I've never looked at the ingredients before, but even if I had, they're just a bunch of weird 12-letter chemicals that don't tell me anything. I guess that should've been my first warning.

How is this possible, you guys? We live in the United States, a relatively safe, first-world country. Surely the government wouldn't let us unwittingly poison ourselves.

Wishful thinking. The beauty industry isn't regulated in the same way as the food and drug industry (which definitely gets away with selling us some shady stuff in its own right). In fact, companies can legally market a product as organic without it actually being organic, which would mean it's been certified by the US Department of Agriculture. Watch this video:

Think about all the creams, serums, soaps and sprays you use every day. Without realizing it, many of them are full of toxic chemicals that could be the reason you develop breast cancer when you're 50 or give birth to a baby with developmental problems or suddenly develop a new allergy. This is serious shit, you guys!

I strongly recommend searching for your beauty products in the EWG's cosmetics database. You can read about the safety of each ingredient. Here are some other popular products that got scary ratings:

I'm kind of freaking out about this. How am I possibly going to stop using SoftLips? I just bought three new tubes! I can't bring myself to look up any of my other favorite products. Not until I can come up with a game plan (and the funds) to switch to an all organic regiment.

This feels rather overwhelming. I've always known that beauty products contain tons of weird chemicals, but I've never known just how ridiculously COMMON it is for so many MAJOR brands to use ingredients that are directly linked to health concerns. Cancer, you guys! Birth defects!

Is anyone else worried about this?

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