While reading up reviews on Weleda Skin Food, I came across one where the reviewer mentioned an "EWG hazard rating." Having no idea what this meant, I set about finding out.
Turns out an organization called Environmental Working Group maintains a website database of cosmetic products and ingredients that gives consumers information on a variety of "hazard" factors - whether a product contains ingredients known to be carcinogenic, cause allergies or skin irritations, developmental and reproductive toxicity, etc. A product is rated for each category and then given an overall hazard rating.
According to information on their website, their information is based on published scientific literature as well as company and government information. In addition to info on ingredients and products themselves, they also have a tab on animal testing where they tell you if there is any known info on the company's practices regarding the issue.
On the one hand, it can be kind of scary. I'm nervous about searching for some of my all-time favourite products in case they come back with a high hazard rating and I have to stop using them. But the practical side of me says it's better to know. After all, skin is the largest organ on the body, and whatever we put on it is largely absorbed.
And I like that they take into account the ethics of the company as well as the ingredients used - as any of you who've been following my blog for awhile will know, I find animal testing abhorrent.
I also feel like this site is useful for parents - it's one thing if you're fine slapping whatever on your own skin, but when it comes to kids who have more sensitive skin and can be more prone to allergic reactions and irritation, it's even more important to know what's in the products you're using.
If you're curious, you can find out more about the organization and website here, or go here to search for brands or products.
Thoughts? Opinions? Similar websites to recommend? Share in the comments!