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In Australia, cosmetics must comply with safety standards, but there is no international consensus. Some chemicals banned in Europe and the US are still considered safe by Australian authorities. These include DBP in nail polish, BHA in lipsticks, lead acetate in hair colour, and coal tar in anti-dandruff shampoos.
Other chemicals, although safe in small amounts, do build up over time and this intensive long-term exposure does seem to present unnecessary health risks. These include mineral oil, DEA/TEA/MEA, D&C colours, aluminium, talc, and synthetic fragrances.
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Check out the Skin Deep cosmetics database with over 88,000 different products and a safety assessment of ingredients (US).
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