The FDA does not require cosmetics to be tested for safety. It's up to you to monitor what you are putting in your body. These are the substances that I personally look out for:
- phthalates - a chemical group used to add flexibility and dissolvibility to other ingredients, may cause organ damage and has been linked to liver toxicity and certain types of cancer; often found in perfumes, hairspray, and nail polishes
- parabens - a common type of preservative used to extend the shelf life of shampoos, lotions, toothpastes, hand soaps, shaving gels, and other goods; can contribute to certain types of cancer
- sulfates - a surfactant (detergent); not as bad as phthalates or parabens, but is a skin irritant to which some people are extremely sensitive
- formaldehyde - a preservative found in eye shadows, mascaras, and nail hardeners; a known human carcinogen
As I said before, the beauty industry is unregulated. Companies are not required to test products or ingredients for safety before they’re sold, manufacturers can use whatever chemicals they want in their products, and are not required to disclose their ingredients. A "Toxic Substances Control Act" was passed over thirty years ago... but takes as its premise that chemicals are safe until they have been proven unsafe. There is a self-policing Cosmetic Ingredient Review; however, the scientists on this panel are funded by... the beauty industry.
The information in this post was gathered from: Sara Snow's Fresh Living by Sara Snow, Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things, and webmd.com