Issues > Household & Personal Care > People > Chemicals in Cosmetics
Many everyday shampoos, cosmetics and other personal care products have a long list of chemicals names which most of us wouldn't recognise. In many cases these ingredients are harsh industrial chemicals, some of which have been linked to cancer, allergies, birth defects and other health issues.
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.
Check out the Skin Deep cosmetics database with over 71,000 different products and a safety assessment of ingredients (US).