News & Politics

The Water We Drink: Check Your Beauty Product Labels

Many products contain EDCs that can remain in the water coming out of your tap even after it's been treated.

Endocrine-disrupting compounds are byproducts of chemicals found in items people use daily—household cleansers, medications, soaps, cosmetics. When these go down the drain, they can release EDCs that can remain in the water coming out of your tap, even after it’s treated. Chemicals that contain EDCs may keep nail polish from chipping or hair spray from causing stiffness. Some are components of pill casings; others help toothpastes and soaps kill bacteria. Their positive effects are well known, but they may do more long-term harm than good. Most people don’t know that the products they use contain these chemicals, and alternatives almost always exist. Companies have begun offering products without EDCs. The following EDCs are commonly found in cosmetics.

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This article appears in the July 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.