What’s In Your Shampoo? Why EWG Verification Doesn’t Mean Much
A lot of people rely on the Environmental Group (EWG) for info on avoiding potentially toxic chemicals in the products they buy and use. While the EWG began as a good resource, their methodology and funding are now questionably skewing how they rate product and food safety.
First, a disclaimer: Might there be ingredients one wants to avoid until all the data is in?
However, that’s not what we’re talking about here. It’s all about context. Is the ingredient truly questionable or is the science behind the claim where the question lies?
The root of the issue is the misuse and misinterpretation of data from valid ingredient safety studies. Taking an isolated piece of data, out of context, can make for some effective click-bait especially when it claims an ingredient could be dangerous. Keep in mind that if subjected to similar data manipulation, many of the ingredients we use daily could create similarly sensational headlines. The truth is many viral claims of potential harm are actually not grounded in scientific fact and have no connection to real-world use of the ingredients in question.
According to Shaklee’s staff of over 75 doctors, biochemists, researchers and scientists, “EWG uses measurement protocols of their own invention, and does not assess ingredients in formulation. It, and Consumer Reports, are not the go to sources by the scientific and medical communities for information on ingredient safety of benefit.”
The Center for Accountability in Science concurs and writes: “A survey of almost 1,000 members of the Society of Toxicology indicates that the vast majority of professional toxicologists believe advocacy groups, including EWG, overstate the risk of chemicals.”
With regards to EWG’s status as a non-profit, another source makes this point, “A consumer has to be very careful when evaluating the sources he or she uses to determine the efficacy of a product or a service. If an organization becomes too heavily vested in its grants to survive, it is also my opinion [sic] misused as a vehicle to advance a perpetual message of gloom and doom in an effort to keep the grants rolling in rather than truly aiding the consumer.”
Shaklee and other scientific entities recommend the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) as a more accurate source of information about ingredients used in household and personal care products. The CIR relies on unbiased scientific, legitimate data and its interpretation by recognized, independent experts in the fields of clinical research, pharmacology, toxicology, dermatology, environmental medicine, and cancer causation and prevention.
Again, let me repeat my disclaimer above:
Avoiding a QUESTIONABLE INGREDIENT based on science
is different than
avoiding an ingredient based on QUESTIONABLE SCIENCE
It matters where the QUESTION is.