Nearly 500 US cosmetics 'unsafe'

1st October 2007
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478 cosmetic products on sale in the US contain doses of toxic chemicals which are unsafe, even when used as directed on the bottle, the US NGO the Environmental Working Group has revealed.

The group has released research showing that hundreds of US cosmetics would simply not be allowed on sale in Canada, Japan or the EU.

Tests on 23,000 health and beauty products found significant levels of hydrogen peroxide, fomaldehyde, selenium and lead acetate, and in all 751 failed to meet one or more government safety standards.

The Environmental Working Group was this week barred from attending a meeting in Europe hosted by the US Food and Drugs Administration to discuss the trade of cosmetics between countries. The FDA banned all nonprofit and campaign organisations from the meeting, saying that it wanted a 'industry association-regulator dialogue'.

But Richard Wiles, Executive Director of the Environmental Working Group, claims that the FDA has gone against its own guidelines in excluding non-profit groups from the meeting. He has written to the FDA saying that his group and others qualify as 'interested parties' and 'other stakeholders' which should have been consulted.

Janet Nudelman, coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, described the action as 'an outrage'.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist October 2007

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