In the European Union, chemicals are required to be proven safe before they are approved to be used in cosmetic products, as your skin is a big sponge to soak up stuff, you breathe in the fumes, etc. Big example is TRICLOSAN, banned in Europe at a potential carcinogen, here the major ingredient in all the antibacterial soaps and things a helping to breed super-bugs everywhere! (Hello, antibiotic resistant flesh-eating bacteria?)
In contrast, in America, we have the half-assed Cosmetic Adverse Reaction Database.
The Cosmetic Adverse Reaction Monitoring Database of the Office of Cosmetics and Colors (OCAC) is comprised of consumer adverse reaction reports received at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Headquarters, FDA District Offices, and FDA MedWatch Program.The report stops at 2003, and, as the ever-vigilant (haha, that's a joke, son) FDA says, first, someone has to go to the trouble to figure out how to report the reaction (as opposed to just chucking the bottle in the garbage as you run screaming from your "non-thermal" burns) and then, pretty-please, the company has the option to report it VOLUNTARILY. (How often did you ever volunteer that you were the one to leave the toilet paper roll empty?) But check out just a few of the ones for which people DID go to all the toil and trouble and used productive working hours to file complaints--we're not talking mysterious Romanian products from the dollar store, we're talking stuff that's at the local Rite Aid:
The OCAC estimates that it may receive only a small percentage of cosmetic complaints reported by consumers. Complaints may be more frequently filed with with poison control centers, state and local agencies, or with the product manufacturer and/or distributor who are not required to submit their complaint files to FDA.
Note: All reporting is voluntary and the information is "as reported" by the complainant. There may not have been any FDA follow-up to determine the accuracy of the information, and it may be uncertain whether or not the reported product actually caused the adverse reaction.
"No More Tears"** baby products (eeek!)And "complaints" include: Dermatitis (to include rash, redness, swelling, blisters, sores, weeping, lumps, inflammation, sunburn, chemical burn, and irritation)
Johnson's Gentle Treatment No LYE (emphasis mine--eeek!) Hair Conditioner
JASON Natural Shampoo for Damage Control (a "natural" brand that sometimes uses a sprinkling of organic flowers to excuse the icky icky chemicals, by the way)
Tissue Damage-other than thermal burn (to include dryness, peeling, splitting, cracking, hair or nail breakage, hair or nail loss, ulcerations, hair matting, and scars)
Nervous System Reactions (to include dizziness, headache, irritability, nervousness, and numbness)
Read it and eek here.
** (did you know they use, or used to, at least, an anesthestic so that it doesn't hurt the baby's eyes? My father was an anesthesiologist....)