Many of us believe that the U.S. government regulates personal care products for safety, long-term health impacts or environmental damage.

Unfortunately, that's just not the case. Many common, popular body care products have ingredients that are harmful to both people and the environment. These toxic ingredients are even found in items like baby shampoo.

So just how harmful are they?

Many popular kinds of shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, moisturizer, makeup, body wash, perfume, and other items that are part of our daily routine have ingredients in them that are now known to cause (or strongly suspected to cause) cancer, organ damage, hormone imbalance, fertility issues, allergies, skin irritations, and more.

These products are overwhelming our immune systems and making us unhealthy. Using safe, natural products is the only way to go.

But it's not that easy.

Manufacturers are recognizing growing consumer concern. Instead of responding with safer products, they are focusing on marketing the same old products as more natural.

They use many dirty labeling tricks. A couple of examples:

They'll add a tiny amount of an herbal extract or aloe and say it's "made with natural ingredients."

Or they'll call their product organic even though no organic ingredients are actually present (or there's just a minuscule amount).

It's obvious now that the cosmetic industry has not had our best interest at heart. Not the biggest surprise, I know, but still...

The cosmetic industry has known these things for many years, yet they still have not moved toward safer, more natural products.

Many European governments have had enough, and have strict regulations about what can and cannot be put in our body care products. The European Union has banned over 1,000 different chemicals.

So what about the U.S.?

Not surprisingly, the U.S. government is lagging behind - letting the industry regulate itself. Currently we have banned only eight chemicals used in personal care. Yes, eight. As in less than 1% of what Europe has already considered too toxic.

The fact is that, in the U.S., any company can add any ingredient to any body care product. The same company decides if it is safe and how to label it. The same company does not have to report any cosmetic-related injuries to the FDA and does not have to recall it if it has been found to cause injuries.

This complete lack of regulation has left consumers vulnerable to toxic ingredients in everyday body care products.

That's unfortunate, because it can be argued that choosing safe cosmetics is more important than eating organic foods.

This is simply because toxic pesticides found on produce are generally at low levels.

But your shampoo more than likely has harmful ingredients as part of the main formula.

So please take a little time to educate yourself about what you are putting on your body on a daily basis.

Author's Bio: 

Melissa Makris is a researcher with a technical background in immunology. She is passionate about holistic and alternative methods of healing. Her website How to Boost Your Immune System shares information on how to improve immune system health using simple, natural methods.