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Harmful Cosmetic Chemicals Finally Getting A Closer Look

When the Wall Street Journal -- a pro-big business newspaper if there ever was one -- gets on the bandwagon about the dangers of phthalates (chemicals used in making cosmetics, toys and medical tubing), the environmental damage may be far worse than many of us have imagined.

Even the numbers of advocates, like the American Chemistry Council that have defended the safety of phthalates for more than a half-century, appear to be shrinking, as the levels of this dangerous substance in our children's bodies keep rising...

The evidence is clear the average phthalate levels in humans has increased a million-fold over the past decade. This along with PCBs that also interfere with testosterone metabolism probably explains why patients are taking Viagra in record numbers, even though it may blind them.

Although the Unites States hasn't restricted phthalates, other nations have taken steps to protect themselves. The European Union has already banned some phthalates in cosmetics and plastic toys and Japan issued a similar edict after traces where found in school lunches and other foods.

But some American companies doing big business in Europe -- Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Revlon -- have removed phthalates, or are planning to do so soon. When will this country finally get on board?

Even though it may be next to impossible for most of us to completely avoid all toxins that surround us, you can take steps to limit your contact with them. With that in mind, I urge you to review my extensive list of tips for avoiding toxins I posted recently.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.com October 4, 2005

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