The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit organization that raises public awareness about the toxins in our environment and in the everyday products we consume. They basically try to fill in a major informational gap left by the Food and Drug Administration with regards to public health and safety.
Evaluating personal care products and cosmetics has been a major focus of the EWG’s work. Their “Skin Deep” database has safety ratings for over 80,000 products, each with the list of the toxic (and potentially toxic) ingredients they contain.
Why is this necessary? Because personal care products are a highly unregulated industry. As I’ve pointed out before, the FDA has only banned about 11 chemicals for use in these products. To put that into perspective, the EU has banned over 1,000 chemicals. Not to mention that many product labels – organic, cruelty-free, all natural — are misleading or, at times, even downright meaningless because the FDA doesn’t regulate them.