6/6/07

The Cloying Scent of Death

Just in case you, like my mother, didn't already have enough things to be paranoid about, the Environmental Working Group has created Skin Deep, a searchable database of health and beauty products. It lists their ingredients and rates them on their potential harmfulness to humans, the premise being that many perfectly legal substances are possible carcinogens, neurotoxins, etc. Many of their ratings are based on just a few studies, but they always list their "data gap" so you can judge for yourself what you think is worth worrying about. I did a couple of searches on the products sitting around my bathroom - both my shampoo and soap scored a 9/10 for potential hazard. The culprit? Fragrance. One major concern is that "fragrance" essentially tells you nothing about the actual ingredients. Another is that the chemicals and preservatives used in many fragrances have been identified as neurotoxins and immunotoxins. Scary, right? I'll be thinking twice before I buy anything just because it smells good.