EWG Skin Deep
Using the power of information to protect human health and the environment.
EWG’s Skin Deep® database gives you practical solutions to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals. Launched in 2004 they have created online profiles for cosmetics and personal care products and their potential hazards and health concerns. Their aim is to fill in where industry and government leave off.
Companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish. The U.S. government doesn’t review the safety of products before they’re sold. Our staff scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases.
The core of Skin Deep is an electronic product database that contains ingredients in 64,983 products and 8,892 personal care product ingredients, culled from product and ingredient labels on products and from the scientific and industry literature on personal care products. They assign a standardized name to each ingredient in the Skin Deep database, generally taken as the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) standard.
Skin Deep’s ingredient database is constructed from product ingredient listings, industry ingredient listings, industry-reviewed ingredients, ingredients from toxicity, regulatory, and study availability databases, manufacturer-entered ingredients.
The primary references are the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, California EPA, European Chemicals Bureau, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, International Agency for Research on Cancer, National Toxicology Program.
The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.
To calculate a product score, they review individual ingredient hazards and evaluate each product in relation to the rest of the products in the Skin Deep database. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.
The EWG VERIFIED™ mark on a product indicates that the product meets EWG’s strictest standards for transparency and health.
- Avoids EWG’s Ingredients of concern
Products cannot contain any ingredients on EWG’s “Unacceptable” list, which includes ingredients with health, ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns.
- Full transparency
Products must meet EWG’s standards for ingredient disclosure on the label; products with the VERIFIED mark are made by manufacturers that have been fully transparent with EWG about that product’s ingredients, including fragrance ingredients.
- Good manufacturing practices
Product manufacturers must develop and follow current good manufacturing practices to further ensure the safety of their products.
There has been increasing concern in recent years about the Skin Deep Database being a “pay-to-play” network, and many companies that used to be rated well no longer exist in the database while other companies that used to have poor ratings now have higher scores.
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