April 19, 2005
FDA looks at health risk of cosmetics chemicals
BY DAVID GOLDSTEIN
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
The Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether the chemicals that
make shampoos fragrant and nail polish chip-resistant are hazardous to your
Since last year, the agency has been studying phthalates (pronounced THA-laytes),
a group of chemicals used for decades in personal-care products. Studies on
animals showed the chemicals could harm reproductive organs or cause other
Of the 48 cosmetics it surveyed, the FDA found most contained at least one
phthalate. The chemicals do everything from making plastic more flexible to
slowing evaporation to allow a perfume's fragrance to linger. They show up in
shampoo, hair spray, deodorant, skin cream and body washes.
The European Union banned two phthalates from cosmetics sold in Europe. With
pressure mounting for more regulatory action in this country, Revlon and Procter
& Gamble Co. removed those phthalates from their products sold in the
If the FDA finds evidence that phthalates are harmful, it "will advise the
industry and the public, and will consider its legal options ... in protecting
the health and welfare of consumers."
Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of
health and environmental groups, said: "That's really a great first step,
but there's still a long way to go to work toward really safe cosmetics."
Copyright © 2005 Detroit Free Press Inc.