Across the pond, the European Union has spent the past two decades restricting or banning approximately 1,400 harmful chemicals and ingredients from personal care products. In Canada, the number of restricted ingredients is a little less than half that, at around 600.
The United States? 30.
And while that may seem like a strikingly low number compared to our international counterparts, it’s actually much higher than it used it be. Not long ago, the U.S. only banned 11 unsafe chemicals for use in personal care products. In 1990, the FDA banned red dye #3 from cosmetics. At the end of 2015, President Obama signed a bill prohibiting the sale of products made with plastic microbeads because of their harmful effects on the environment. And in 2016, the FDA restricted the use of triclosan and other ingredients in antibacterial soaps based on potential health risks “such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.
The math is easy. There is still a huge gap between the amount of chemicals other countries have found to have concerning effects and those the U.S. has yet to ban or restrict. At Beautycounter, we’re working to fill that void and taking the necessary steps to protect consumers where possible, by setting our own health and safety standards.
To that end, the first step of our Ingredient Selection Process is ban intentionally. We started by eliminating over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, and then added chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern. This means approximately 1,500 ingredients are already off the table before we even begin to formulate a product. (You can review the most common harmful ingredients used in the beauty industry in The Never List™).
While the U.S. government has taken action only 30 big-offender ingredients, we continue to go far beyond what is legally asked of us because, quite simply, it’s the right thing to do.
If you’re ready to see which of of the ingredients banned in other countries and Beautycounter products might lurk in the products you use everyday, we recommend the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Skin Deep database.