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USDA Organic SealIf you’ve shopped for organic shampoo, body wash or make-up, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of brands that call themselves “organic,” but don’t carry the “USDA Organic” seal. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. government doesn’t regulate cosmetics for safety, long-term health impacts or environmental damage. Many common cosmetics ingredients are harmful to people and the environment. Look for the “USDA Organic” seal to make sure you are buying organic personal care products.

The Story of Cosmetics released on July 21st, 2010, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced with Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the seven-minute film by The Story of Stuff Project reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.

Because the word “organic” is not properly regulated on personal care products (example: toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, etc.), many personal care products have the word “organic” in their brand name or otherwise on their product label, but, unless they are USDA certified, the main cleansing ingredients and preservatives are usually made with synthetic and petrochemical compounds.

To avoid toxic ingredients in personal care products, look for the USDA organic seal on personal care products that claim to be organic. Although there are multiple “organic” and “natural” standards, each with its own varying criteria, the USDA Organic Standards are the “gold standard” for personal care products.

Source: Organic Consumers Association Coming Clean Campaign
The Organic Consumers Association’s Coming Clean Campaign has been working to clean up the “organic” cosmetics industry since 2004.