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May 2012, Volume 42 Number 5 , p 54 - 55


  • Susan Simmons PhD, ARNP-BC


How does the FDA ensure cosmetic safety?-P.H., MO.Susan Simmons, PhD, ARNP-BC, replies: Although most people don't consider safety when purchasing and using cosmetics, if you wear lipstick you may be absorbing an estimated 4 pounds of chemicals into your body during your lifetime.1 You're wise to question their safety.The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines cosmetics by their intended use and includes anything used to clean, beautify, promote attractiveness, or alter appearance.1 Cosmetics include products such as skin moisturizers, deodorants, toothpastes, shampoos, hair colors, perfumes, nail polishes, and eye and facial makeup preparations.More than 5,000 ingredients are used in cosmetics, mainly in the form of preservatives, texture, coloring, and fragrances.2 In Europe, over 1,000 chemicals are banned from cosmetics; in the United States, only eight are banned.1 (See Cosmetic ingredients restricted or prohibited by the FDA.) Safety trials aren't required for cosmetics, with

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