Myth - Cosmetic ingredients are applied to the skin and rarely get into the body. When they do, the amounts are too low to matter.

Fact - People are exposed to cosmetics ingredients in many ways: breathing in sprays and powders, swallowing chemicals on the lips or hands or absorbing them through the skin. Biomonitoring studies have found that cosmetics ingredients - such as phthalate plasticizers, paraben preservatives, the pesticide triclosan, synthetic musks and sunscreen ingredients - are common pollutants in the bodies of men, women and children. Many of these chemicals are potential hormone disruptors (Gray 1986, Schreurs 2004, Gomez 2005, Veldhoen 2006). Cosmetics frequently contain enhancers that allow ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin. Studies have found health problems in people exposed to common fragrance and sunscreen ingredients, including increased risk of sperm damage, feminization of the male reproductive system and low birth weight in girls (Duty 2003, Hauser 2007, Swan 2005, Wolff 2008).

Myth - Consumers can read ingredient labels and avoid products with hazardous chemicals.

Fact - Federal law & even Indian laws allows companies to leave some chemical ingredients off their product labels, including those considered to be trade secrets, components of fragrance and nanomaterials (FDA 2011). Fragrance may include any number of the industry's 3,100 stock chemicals (IFRA 2010), none of which is required to be listed on labels. Tests of fragrance ingredients have found an average of 14 hidden compounds per formulation, including ingredients linked to hormone disruption and sperm damage (EWG & CSC 2010).

Myth - Cosmetics safety is a concern for women only.

Fact - An EWG 2004 consumer survey showed that while on average women use 12 personal care products daily, men use an average of six a day, exposing themselves to more than 80 unique ingredients.

Source: EWG ( Environmental Working Group - an international body dedicated to bringing transparency & safety in Cosmetic industry.)

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