Will shoddy science trump solid research? You bet, if the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has any say in the matter. Late last month, the newswires were filled with articles about how teenage girls are apparently chock-full of dangerous chemicals—all due to the use of cosmetic products. The chief culprits? Parabens (methyl and propyl), synthetic musk, phthalates and triclosan. According to the EWG, the high levels found in the test group can be attributed to the fact that adolescent girls typically experiment with more body care products than adults use. Teens in the EWG study used an average of nearly 17 personal care products each day, while the average adult woman uses 12 daily.
All of these ingredients have been in the news for the past couple of years, but the study only looked at 20 girls, ages 14 to 19, in the U.S. In the report, author Rebecca Sutton, a staff scientist with the EWG, says she found 16 cosmetic-related chemicals in the girls. In addition to the small size of the study, Dr. Sutton also admitted that levels of these chemicals in the girls’ bodies didn’t necessarily match the amount of the chemicals they consumed through cosmetics.
Still, the questions surrounding the study’s thoroughness hasn’t stopped the EWG from calling for the government to set safety standards for the ingredients in cosmetics.
“EWG has chosen to publish data that support its agenda rather than providing a full picture of the body of scientific research on these issues,” said Kathleen Dezio, a spokeswoman for the Personal Care Product Council. “There are hundreds of scientific studies that have evaluated the health impact of these ingredients.”
The study by the EWG is only the latest in a series of attacks on the cosmetics industry. This month, columnist Harvey Fishman reviews some other dubious findings regarding cosmetics (see Gleams & Notions).
Also this month, be sure to check out our Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory. It’s a great resource when you need to find a partner to manufacture a wide range of household and personal products.
We hope you enjoy this edition of Happi. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.