Chemicals in cosmetics & household products to avoid

Nasty, Chemicals To Avoid

Brands published on the Toxic-Free List have been independently reviewed by Safe Cosmetics Australia.

The brands SCA recommends, have adopted a 100% transparent ingredient philosophy, what does this mean? Brands That Care™ about your health consider the Ingredients FIRST™ by leaving out chemicals that raise concern for your health and safety. Brands submit a PID Product Ingredient Declaration, providing a full list of all products and the ingredients as stated on the product label. Where a product meets SCA's criteria it is awarded the appropriate Certification seal. See "Key Issues" to learn more about toxic chemicals commonly found in Australian cosmetics.

Safe Cosmetics Australia's mission is to raise chemical awareness and ultimately eliminate the use of toxic chemicals from Australian cosmetics, personal care and household products. SCA VERIFIED™ brands exclude and/or restrict chemicals such as parabens, GMO's, petrochemicals, irritating and synthetic ingredients to name just a few. Safe Cosmetics Australia is a not-for-profit campaign, information published on this website is for educational purpose only. See SCA's Terms & Conditions

There are over 40,000 chemicals available for use in everyday household items including cleaning products, laundry detergents, cosmetics and toiletries and so much more. With scant regulation in Australia, consumers need to be aware that current legislation does not protect their health. In fact, there are no pre-market regulations that stipulate mandatory testing of chemicals prior to sale in Australia.

For example, Triclosan is banned in the EU classed as a known carcinogen. Yet Triclosan can be found in baby products sold in Australian supermarkets, chemists and retailers. SCA campaigns for the use of only safe and healthy chemicals, there are many healthier alternatives available to using cheap and toxic-chemicals in the products we use.

In a perfect world, the Australian government should stipulate by law that all chemicals must be tested for health and safety prior to allowing chemicals for use in Australia; further banning and/or restricting the use of hazardous chemicals. Who should be concerned? The young, the elderly, pregnant, sick or injured, should avoid chemicals listed under Key Issues and Key Allergens.

Chemicals Of Concern

A number of chemicals raise serious alarm when it comes to safe-guarding your health.
What can you do? The best advice is to read the product label and question any ingredients that you aren't familiar with. There are a number of ways that you can find out about toxic chemicals in cosmetics, personal care and household products. You can visit the TGA & NICNAS to learn about chemicals in Australia or EWG's website for a comprehensive list of chemicals along with EWG's rating and so much more. You can download an app or find a book on Amazon, search open-access medical journals online like Toxicology International or familiarise yourself with Certification providers so that you can make informed choices at the checkout.

Recommended Resources:

  • NICNAS provides the legal framework for the Australian cosmetics market.

  • Products that claim to have a therapeutic benefit must be registered, also see TGA's List of prohibited Substances.

  • Cosmetic ingredients banned by Health Canada, published on the Cosmetics Ingredient Hot List.

  • Ingredients designated as banned in the European Commission's database of cosmetic substances COSING.

  • Chemicals listed on the State of California's Proposition 65 List of known carcinogens and reproductive toxins.

  • Chemicals classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possible, probable and known carcinogens (categories 2B, 2A and 1).

  • Substances listed in the National Toxicology Program's Report on carcinogens (reasonably anticipated and known human carcinogens).

  • Fragrance chemicals prohibited for use by the International Fragrance Association.

  • The European Union’s Category 1 designated endocrine disruptors, chemicals banned in hair and hair dye products.

  • Substances that fall under the EU’s Globally Harmonized System hazard codes H340-362.

  • Sensitizing asthmagens listed by the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (concerning powders and spray products only).

Amina Kitching