For every item listed on the website, there is a "buy online" option. If you buy the item by clicking through, EWG is getting an affiliate commission on the sale. Even items that have the highest toxicity rating are available for purchase online through the EWG Cosmetics Database website. WHY would a group that cares for your well-being choose to make commissions on these products?
Why aren't any of the scientists that worked on this database actually named? How about a single doctor? It is not good science to say that ingredient X in product A is a hazard simply because ingredient X was shown as dangerous in some study. 1) How much of ingredient X is needed to be dangerous? The study could have pumped ingredient X into subjects while product A is only constituted 0.01% by ingredient X. 2) What is the method of absorption? Did the study inject ingredient X into the bloodstream or did the subjects eat ingredient X or was it applied to their eyeballs? Is the method of absorption the same in the study as in the product? Is applying a product externally to your hair or lips going to impact you the same way as in the study? 3) What else could have contributed to the dangerousness of ingredient X and is that same ingredient present in product A? For example, a product might contain ingredients that cancel out the "dangerous" ingredient. You'd be surprised how many companies do use ingredients that cancel each other out (see Paula Begoun: Paula's Choice: Cosmetics Cop: Skin Care & Makeup Tips & Reviews
). 4) Was the study showing that ingredient X is dangerous itself a good study? Was it done correctly? Are there reasons to believe that the study itself was flawed (many are)? 5) Who were the subjects? Rabbits, humans, rats? Is a test of ingredient X going to impact you the same way it did the subjects? For example, two decards ago, saccharin was shown to produce bladder tumors in rats and they extended the threat theoretically to humans, but now they know that rat bladder tumors arise from mechanisms that are not relevant to humans.
And there are many more questions that one would have to ask. The bottom line is that you should look at the methodology section where it explains how they "cross-linked" ingredient names in cosmetics with names in scientific studies and then did "some" unlinking when they found that cosmetic ingredients and study ingredients didn't match up for some reason. For me, this database is a fear peddling cash cow.
Food and Wine Maven
San Francisco, CA