Statement by Linda Loretz, PhD, Chief Toxicologist, Personal Care Products Council, In Response to Study on Reduced Ingredient Levels and Personal Care Products

“A recent study from the University of California at Berkeley, California Department of Public Health and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas measured levels of various ingredients — phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and oxybenzone — in 100 Latina teens claiming that levels were reduced when the girls stopped using products containing those ingredients.  

“The study identified nothing new.  The ingredients found in urine were at levels generally consistent with results from other monitoring studies, e.g., the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The levels reported for these ingredients have not been shown to cause negative health effects, and the mere presence of a substance does not translate to harm.

“Consumers are often confused by scary sounding claims about chemical risks that may sound science-based, but do not reveal anything about actual risk levels.  For example, the presence of trace levels of synthetic chemicals found in the human body does not mean there’s any danger to health. The substances that were included in the study are quickly excreted from the body, which is why they show up in urine; they do not bioaccumulate.

“The study did not take into account other possible sources of these substances, such as dietary exposure.  A more detailed study design would be needed to determine the role of personal care products in exposure to these materials.  

“Regarding the topic of endocrine activity, more education and study is needed as it is often misunderstood and misused.  Many tested substances, both natural and synthetic, can impact endocrine activity. For example, natural chemicals in vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and soybeans have hormone-like activity.    

“The study included three phthalates, only one of which – diethyl phthalate (DEP) – has any significant use in cosmetics and personal care products.  

“DEP has been repeatedly assessed and found to be safe as currently used.  The study also included parabens, which are important preservatives used to prevent microbial contamination to help keep products safe.  Both DEP and parabens are widely used throughout the world and have been assessed for safety by scientific and regulatory bodies worldwide. The other two substances included in the study – oxybenzone and triclosan – are used in over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and have clear public health benefits.  Oxybenzone is a sunscreen ingredient and helps prevent sun damage and premature skin aging. Triclosan is used in toothpaste to reduce germs that can cause gum disease. These ingredients have been used for decades in personal care products and have been evaluated and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

PCPC Economic & Social Contributions Animation

Study Finds Personal Care Products Industry Major Contributor to U.S. Economy

Today, the Personal Care Products Council (the Council) released a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the economic and social contributions of the personal care products industry in the United States. The study found the industry is one of the most dynamic and innovative industries driving the U.S. economy.

“In addition to the many tangible benefits our companies offer to consumers, the cosmetics and personal care products industry is directly responsible for creating American jobs,” said Lezlee Westine, President and CEO of the Personal Care Products Council.  “We are proud to support the economy, contribute to social and environmental programs and meet the needs of American families.”

To better understand the value of these contributions, the Council engaged PwC to measure the industry’s economic and social impact, using the most recent government data. Key findings of the study include:

  • The personal care products industry strengthens the U.S. economy.  In 2013, the industry added nearly $237 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and supported 3.6 million domestic jobs that earned $144 billion in wages and incomes through its direct, indirect and induced contributions.
  • Industry contributes to a strong export economy. In 2014, the personal care products industry exported nearly $17 billion, contributing nearly $6 billion to the nation’s surplus while the overall U.S. manufacturing sector experienced trade deficits.
  • Industry helps small business owners thrive. Over two-thirds of the total employment in the industry is in small businesses with less than 50 employees.
  • Women, including women with diverse backgrounds, are at the heart of the industry. The share of management positions held by women in the personal care products industry is higher than the U.S. average.  Women and those with diverse backgrounds account for nearly 74 percent of all industry employment and 61 percent of management positions.
  • Significant research and development investment drives innovation.  Cosmetics manufacturers invest nearly $3 billion in research and development annually and continue to provide consumers an array of innovative, high-quality products.  The industry employs approximately 6,000 scientific and technical professionals dedicated to ensuring product and ingredient safety.

“Every day, millions of families around the world trust and rely on personal care products to improve their health and well-being and to enhance their daily lives,” said Westine. “This study confirms that communities across the country rely on the industry’s economic and social contributions to support jobs and spur economic growth.”