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The Price of Beauty: Chemicals in My Cosmetics?

Environmental groups are issuing frightening claims that there's a dark side to my morning routine.

by
Angela Logomasini

Bio

May 26, 2011 - 12:02 am
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Would I rather die than live with premature wrinkling? Not exactly. I accept the risk because it’s close to zero.

In fact, EWG bases it claim largely on a federal National Toxicology panel report that cites a handful of rodent studies and “mixed” research on humans as to both benefits and potential risks. The report draws no substantial conclusions on cancer in humans.

Ironically, if people trust EWG about the need to avoid skin products with vitamin A, they may actually face increased cancer risks because it is a key ingredient in sunscreens. And unlike EWG’s skin-deep science, there is considerable evidence that overexposure to the sun causes skin cancer. In fact, it is the leading cause of skin cancer.

Despite this reality, EWG launched an incredibly irresponsible campaign last year attacking sunscreens, suggesting they cause cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation weighed in:

After reviewing the recently released report from The Environmental Working Group, The Skin Cancer Foundation’s renowned experts have come to the conclusion that there is no scientific evidence to support claims that retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) is a photocarcinogen in humans.

We haven’t ventured far from my bathroom sink, and it’s obvious that EWG’s claims don’t hold water. These examples reveal two fundamental flaws with the entire Skin Deep database: over-reliance on rodent studies and a focus on theoretical “hazards” rather than real risks — which requires consideration of exposure levels.

To avoid liability for its outlandish claims, EWG includes a note within its product profiles:

Actual health risks, if any, will vary based on the level of exposure to the ingredient and individual susceptibility — information not available in Skin Deep.

So what is the point?  EWG tells us under the Skin Deep website link “What you can do” — meaning, you can donate to EWG.

The EWG site might as well say, “Our data is essentially meaningless, but we hope it will scare you into giving us money.” Then EWG and other activists can use that money to support government regulations to take away your freedom to use a number of valuable personal care products.

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Angela Logomasini is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
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