Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How toxic are your cosmetics? New apps aim to help you find out

While many of us take great care with what were put into our bodies, we may not give a second thought to what we’re putting on our bodies. A 2007 report from The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics (TCFSC) found that a whopping 61% of lipsticks contained high levels of lead, and a follow-up study conducted by the FDA found lead levels four times higher than the levels found in the TCFSC study.

Partners of TCFSC, the D.C. based Environmental Working Group (EWG), has worked diligently to inform consumers about toxins that they’re exposed to in their daily lives and have placed a strong focus on the cosmetics industry. In 2004, EWG launched a database called Skin Deep, which catalogs approximately 78,000 products that contain potentially hazardous ingredients.

Taking the conveyance of information one step further toward convenience, EWG is set to release the SkinDeep App within the next month. The app will be available for both iOS and Android devices, and users of the app will be able to view product ingredients and view product ratings through barcode scanning or access the Skin Deep database.

In August, the Think Dirty app was launched and is similar to EWG’s Skin Deep app. Launched as a free app in the iPhone store, the Think Dirty app offers users that ability to scan the barcodes of more than 12,000 personal care items. After scanning an item, the app’s “Dirty Meter” will then rate the product to determine whether it's dirty or clean and recommend alternative products.

The Think Dirty app is an extension of the Think Dirty Project, which was born after Founder and CEO Lily Tse watched Annie Leonard’s 8-minute video, “Story of Cosmetics”. Due to family history of cancer, Tse set out on a journey to research the causes behind breast cancer, including ingredients found in cosmetic and personal care products. For more information about EWG, the Think Dirty Project or to download the Think Dirty app, simply click on the hyperlinks throughout the article to be taken directly to the sites.

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