Known carcinogens— like formaldehyde—are used as preservatives in everything from suntan oil to makeup
European Union bans nearly 1,400 chemicals from personal care products because they are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction.
But in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration entrusts safety regulation of cosmetics to a private entity that is housed and funded by the industry’s trade association.
To date, this entity has found only 11 chemicals to be “unsafe for use in cosmetics.”
The FDA has no oversight of cosmetics products before they come on the market and, unlike the EU, leaves it to the cosmetics industry to determine which ingredients should be banned.