Untested Cosmetics May Soon Carry Warning Labels


Would you rethink purchasing your next tube of lipstick or personal care product if it bore a warning label stating its safety had not been determined? This may become a reality if the FDA decides the ingredients in the product haven't been adequately tested for safety.

Based on a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, some products that are under close scrutiny by the FDA include:

  • Mascara, which can contain ingredients linked or potentially linked to cancer
  • Liquid hand soap, which may contain ingredients suspected of raising the risk of breast and skin cancers
  • Hair dye, which can contain coal tar, which has been linked to bladder cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Important factors that companies often leave out of product testing include the possibility the product may cause cancer or birth defects

The FDA has maintained a hands-off approach to performing any kinds of tests on cosmetics and toiletries prior to when they reach the market shelves. An independent panel of experts appointed by the cosmetic industry performs the only regulation that is done.

Over the past 29 years, the panel of "experts" referred to as the Cosmetic Ingredient Review has declared 694 ingredients to be safe and only nine to be unsafe. The Environmental Working Group disputed these findings by saying that the panel reviewed only 11 percent of 10,500 ingredients recorded by the FDA.

The Miami Herald Herald March 31, 2005