San Francisco Environment Department

Cosmetics & Personal Care Products

The average woman uses 12 different personal care products a day, which contain an average of 168 different ingredients.

Because manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients on product packaging, very few people actually know what ingredients are in their cosmetics and personal care products. Several products contain ingredients that are linked to cancer, birth defects, liver toxicity, learning disabilities, and other serious health consequences. Limited information makes it difficult to know which ingredients are harmful and should be avoided.

Select products with less-toxic ingredients.

Consult Environmental Working Group's list of ingredients to avoid, or short lists for children, teens, women, or men. Find out if the product may have harmful ingredients: Skin Deep and Good Guide have free mobile applications with product information.

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Additional Resources
Story of Cosmetics, Story of Stuff (video)
Nine Ugly Truths Behind the Myth of Safer Cosmetics (PDF) 

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