Cosmetic concerns: Is what you're using safe?

Posted at 6:03 PM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-20 08:10:50-04

Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, originally passed in 1938, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to regulate most cosmetic ingredients.

The owner of a Buffalo-based cosmetic company explains how that can lead to some questionable chemicals being used in everyday hygiene products.

Kasia Cummings owns Buffalo Gal Organics, a cosmetic company that uses natural, plant-based ingredients. She makes sure no unusual chemicals are included in her products, but says there's no way to make sure other companies do the same.

"There's no parabens. There's no silicon," she said. "There's no PEG or polyethylene glycol, which is anti-freeze. That's in your cosmetics for sure."

Cummings' has noticed a surge in business in recent years. She founded the company in 2010 and is in the process of opening her own storefront in Clarence. According to Cummings, her customers are typically more careful of what is in the products they use everyday. Similar to how some people watch what they eat.

"If you're really concerned about what you're putting into your body, why shouldn't you be as concerned about what you're putting on your body?" she asked.

Cummings suggests doing a little research before purchasing cosmetics. Knowing what terms to look for on a product's ingredient list can help shoppers make smart decisions at the grocery store. But she warns even that can be difficult.

Terms like fragrance can be listed as an ingredient without detailing the chemicals that actually make up the fragrance. A sort-of blanket term that Cummings says companies can use to hide certain chemicals.

"You don't know what that is," she said. "Fragrance can be anything. Most likely it's manufactured and synthetic. Totally made up in a lab."