Shampoos and Other Personal Products May Pose Health Risks

Do you know how toxic your shampoo is? Many personal-care products contain ingredients whose health effects are untested or, worse, ingredients known to pose health risks or even cause cancer, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group and other nonprofits. Only 11 percent of the 10,500 chemical ingredients used in personal-care products in the U.S. — a category that includes deodorant, toothpaste, and makeup — have been tested for safety, and those tests were not overseen by the feds but rather by an industry scientific review board. EWG found that a number of shampoos and dark hair dyes contain known or probable human carcinogens. Most individual ingredients don’t pose worrisome risks, the report says, but because people use many different products each day — an average of 10 for U.S. adults — risks could add up. The report authors argue that personal-care products should be subjected to the same sort of testing required for additives and pesticide residues in food. But until they are, EWG has compiled a product guide that tells people which products are most safe and which are best avoided.