Not Too Pretty: Phthalates, Beauty Products & the FDA
Chemicals that cause birth defects do not belong in products marketed to women of childbearing age. In May 2002 a coalition of environmental and public health organizations contracted with a major national laboratory to test 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of phthalates, a large family of industrial chemicals linked to permanent birth defects in the male reproductive system. The laboratory found phthalates in nearly three-quarters of the products tested (52 of 72 products). Major loopholes in federal law allow the $20-billion-a-year cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of phthalates into many personal care products with no required testing, no required monitoring of health effects, and no required labeling.