You should read this piece by Mark Bittman The New York Times on the "cosmetic wars":
First, the news:
If all goes according to schedule, next month the European Union will become “cruelty-free,” banning without exception the sale of cosmetics ingredients that were tested on animals.But Bittman notes that is not necessarily good news for humans:
No sane person likes the idea of subjecting animals to unnecessary cruelty. But as things stand we’re all being used as guinea pigs in the great test of new product safety. And this matters: the average American woman uses a dozen personal care products daily.
And it is safe to wager that most people probably have no idea what they are putting in and on their bodies. Bittman - and TreeHugger - recommend you use the Environment Working Group's cosmetic database tool to check the ingredients in the products you use. Bittman explains why you should:
Well, the ever-popular formaldehyde — used in nail polish, shampoo, soap and hair straighteners — frequently appears on ingredient lists (sometimes disguised as “formalin”); it’s a known carcinogen. So is dioxane, which rarely appears on labels because it’s not an intentionally added ingredient but a byproduct of manufacturing. (It’s found, for example, in bubble bath.) Some 400 hair dyes and lipsticks contain lead. (In small amounts, but you might not want to kiss your kids if you’re wearing lead-tainted lipstick.) The endocrine disrupters known as phthalates were found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in pretty much everyone.
Read the rest of Bittman's piece to learn more and to find links to other resources.
Have you ever done an audit of the products you use? You should. I have a couple times and highly recommend the EWG database. It is easy to use and you'll be shocked by what is in some popular products.