Consumer report group finds alarming levels of harmful chemicals in a variety of popular cosmetics

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Shine On

Just when you thought it was safe to slather on the moisturizer…

A startling report from Que Choisir, a French-language nonprofit consumer organization that can be compared to Consumer Reports, reveals that some cosmetics companies are still pumping their products full of harmful substances.

Researchers found endocrine disruptors in 66 different personal-care products that ranged from deodorants to body washes and hand creams.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic hormones, either stimulating or blocking the production of certain key hormones like androgen and estrogen when they are absorbed into the body. Certain disruptors have been known to cause cancer and birth defects.

Perhaps the most famous endocrine disruptor of late is bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical found frequently in plastics that has been linked to everything from infertility to heart disease.

In fact, Canada became the first country to take strict action on the use of BPA in baby bottles and other products targeted toward families by placing strict regulations on manufacturers who use the chemical.

In the cosmetics world, companies have faced mounting pressure to remove these harmful chemicals from their goods -- but the report shows that this removal process isn’t exactly happening across the board.

Que Choisir says it isolated “record concentrations” of endocrine disruptors in products that have even tried to tout their own “natural” ingredients.

Nivea, a skincare brand that recently kicked off a “fresh and natural” campaign, was found to have high levels of endocrine disruptors in their Dry Comfort and Fresh Natural 48H deodorants, as well as their Water Lily & Oil shower gel, reports Women’s Wear Daily.

Other notables included Labello lip balm, Nivea Aqua Sensation moisturizer and Neutrogena Hand & Nail Cream.

Last year, the Huffington Post posted a report on endocrine disruptors in common household products, like air freshener, sunscreens and even shower curtains.

The ensuing outrage revealed that consumers don't really want to be slowly poisoned by products that have become part of the fabric daily life for most homes.

While scientists are still determining just how dangerous these chemicals are, the European Commission will be taking action on a new strategy to deal with endocrine disruptors next month.

In the meantime it really can’t hurt to start phasing out chemical-laden products and replacing them with more natural alternatives. Remember: the best beauty tools already come from nature.

So instead of pouring a potion of unpronounceable ingredients all over your face, try a fruit-and-veggie moisturizing mask. It’s unrealistic to go completely chemical free, but the more conscious you are about cutting back on excess, the happier your hormones – the real ones, that is – will be.