When it comes to making sure cosmetics companies aren't poisoning us, Europe is apparently doing a much better job than the U.S. While there are a whole 10 cosmetics ingredients banned in the U.S., there are 1,372 in Europe. So, you know, minor discrepancy there. As if those numbers alone aren't terrifying, the actual ingredients that are banned in the EU but not here are what nightmares are made of. Here are some examples of ingredients that Europe wants to protect us from, while the FDA looks the other way.
Asbestos: Well, this was fun to learn about. Asbestos, a carcinogen, occurs naturally in close proximity to talc. So, anything with talc in it could theoretically contain asbestos. While the FDA has looked into it, neither substance is actually banned from cosmetics. Here's a direct quote about the FDA's stance on asbestos: "Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that may be found in close proximity in the earth. Unlike talc, however, asbestos is a known carcinogen. For this reason, FDA considers it unacceptable for cosmetic talc to be contaminated with asbestos." So, basically, the FDA thinks it's unacceptable to have a known carcinogen in beauty products, but not so unacceptable that they would go so far as to legally restrict it.
Benzidine: While benzidine is no longer produced in the US, it can be imported. It's a dye, as in hair dyes, and guess what? It's a carcinogen.
Coal Tar: This carcinogen, while regulated by the FDA, is used to add color to cosmetics.
Lead: It's probably in your lipstick, and can harm your brains.
Progesterone: Used in skin conditioning products, progesterone is a hormone that prepares your body for pregnancy. Yes, because that's exactly what we want our bodies gearing up for every time we slather on lotion.
Petroleum: Used in lip products and other cosmetics, petroleum has been linked to cancer.
Animal-tested ingredients: Proof that Europe loves our furry friends more than the U.S.? The EU banned ingredients that have been tested on animals, while those ingredients continue to be used in cosmetics this side of the pond.
Nickel: Though nickel was named the Allergen of the Year in 2008 by The American Contact Dermatitis Society, there's nothing stopping it from appearing in makeup.
So, anybody else totally freaked out right now, or is that just us?