‘Substantial Damage’, No Injuries as Freight Train Hit Wind Turbine Blade

September 25, 2021: A sleepy Sunday in Luling, Texas (population 5,800) was shattered in late August when a semi-truck and trailer pulling a wind turbine blade was struck by a freight train.

Citing local police shortly after the crash occurred, Austin-based KVUE News said the truck and trailer unit was two-thirds clear of the track when an oncoming Union Pacific freight train hit the end of the turbine blade.

As this video makes alarmingly clear, that last third made all the difference. Reporting (with suitably colourful language) on the scene unfolding before his eyes, the trucker who recorded the video describes the moment when the railroad crossing gate arms come down on the wind turbine blade. 

Also caught on the trucker’s cell phone camera is the driver of the wide-load escort vehicle, hot-footing back to his truck when he realizes the train is going to hit, and that the trapped semi needs room to try to pull free before impact. 

But it was too late: in the video, the semi is dragged backwards towards the track, flipping on its side, fenders and doors peeling away like an onion. 

Citing the police report, KVUE says the two engines pulling the train both suffered “substantial damage” in the collision, as did the truck and turbine blade. Three unoccupied parked cars, a commercial building, a utility pole, and the railroad crossing signal controller were also damaged.

While the truck driver was unhurt, train crew members were taken to hospital, apparently as a precaution. Luling police and Union Pacific Railroad’s own law enforcement are investigating the crash.

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Getting to the Root of Our Outdated Food System

While producing enough food to eat is as basic as human civilization itself, there are times, historically, when following traditional methods falls short. During such crises, survival can depend upon migration or innovation. We are now challenged by the upper limits of our planet to produce enough food sustainably and responsibly to meet growing demand in the face of a more existential threat – the climate crisis.

The latest IPCC report tells us that today’s challenges are a “code red for humanity,” and the recent UNFCCC COP 26 Conference in Glasgow, where I was asked to speak, brought leaders from nations around the world together to sound the alarm.

Yet, upon returning from COP 26, I am very disappointed with the lack of attention paid to two of the root causes of climate change – our global agricultural supply chain and the declining health of our ocean. The former is particularly relevant as we gather with loved ones during the holidays each year, feeling gratitude for the delicious meals bringing us together and savoring the comforting meat, poultry, and seafood that fill our tables. But how did this abundance actually make it to our kitchen, and at what cost?

The food industry accounts for over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, originating from the ways in which we produce, process, and package food. The land-based livestock industry has finally started to face public criticism for receiving government subsidies that artificially lower the real costs associated with its intensive practices, but the problems have been far from addressed. And by comparison, the ocean-based seafood industry, which also receives subsidies in some nations, has long gone unnoticed in terms of growing geopolitical and environmental challenges including overfishing, bycatch, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and environmental contaminants that are increasingly found in our ocean and our seafood supply.

The Holy Grail of Alternative Protein

So, how do we ethically feed our growing population within our planetary limitations? Moving away from animal products has been one solution, with some consumers now opting for a flexitarian or “reducetarian” diet in which they consciously and gradually reduce consumption of animal-based products over time. Entrepreneurial startups, followed by big food companies, have recognized plant-based alternatives as a solution for this consumer shift and now we see these products in almost every protein category. Plant-based milk and dairy alternatives were the first category to demonstrate success, now representing about a 15% market share in the U.S., whereas plant-based meats are increasing their market share but still represent only about 1.4% of the retail U.S. meat market. In addition to plant-based solutions, there are now many startups utilizing a second technology solution, via fermentation, to develop alternative protein products.

While these two alternative technologies will continue to play an important role in our food system journey, their application is limited to certain categories of food products and may be challenged to meet the levels of sensory experience that consumers expect. Plant-based and fermentation technologies can play a significant role as consumers transition to a flexitarian, reducetarian, vegetarian or even vegan diet. However, these technologies fall short of creating solutions for more value-added and center-of-the-plate protein options like delicious seafood filets, steaks, chicken breasts, pork, and other items that are loved by consumers worldwide.

Fortunately, there is now a third solution which I call the “holy grail” of food technology, utilizing cell-cultured processes that can result in the same sensory, nutritional and other characteristics as conventional protein products. These are real animal products created from the very cells of animals, that can provide sashimi quality bluefin tuna, wagyu steak, chicken breasts, pork chops and other items anchored in the familiar flavor, aroma, mouthfeel and experience of what we know and love, but without the guilt or negative externalities associated with consuming the conventional farmed or wild counterpart. These are products that can revolutionize the food industry, cutting the emissions associated with the harmful agriculture practices in every protein category without asking consumers to go plant-based or otherwise compromise on taste. These are products that have the potential to safely, ethically and sustainably feed a growing population – one that will require a 70% increase in food production by 2050 in a world that already uses 50% of habitable land for agriculture.

Looking to the Past, Present and the Future

Cell-cultured foods may sound like science-fiction, but so did a round Earth, the automobile (and now the electric car), the telephone (and now cordless smart phones), the personal computer, internet, commercial space travel, or even the kitchen microwave. It took teams of smart individuals with creativity, determination, experience, expertise, funding, and resolve to manifest the world that they envisioned.

Just as the computer sector first began about fifty years ago, in the 1970s, yet is still seeing continual innovation five decades later, the food industry will experience a similar revolution starting in the 2020s. There are now over 70 companies developing cell-cultured meat inputs or end products around the world, racing against a code red alarm from the planet, to develop food products of all types, from red meat to seafood, all without animals. I see teams of talented entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists, engineers, food technologists, and change-agents, who seek to create a better system, proving evermore that the human condition for adaption, ingenuity, and survival is alive and well.

At small scale, companies have already shown that it is possible to produce real meat, poultry, and seafood products via cell-cultured technology, using animal cells to produce just the portion that people like to eat. No company in this emerging field has yet proven that cell-cultured foods can be manufactured economically at large-scale, but when this is accomplished, humans will have unlocked one of the greatest global achievements of the 21st century, transforming the food system into one that prioritizes biodiversity, conservation, environmental health, food security, human health, regenerative agriculture, and the welfare of animals and humans.

Scaling a Much-Needed Solution

The primary challenge to the cell-cultured industry will ultimately not be regulatory issues nor consumer adoption, but scale production and the ability to demonstrate profitability and significant production capacity. For example, profitability will be more challenging for cell-cultured protein products that focus on commodity applications, such as ground and formed hamburgers, patties, and nuggets. Conversely, profitability will likely be much more attainable for whole muscle, center-of-the plate products, like beef filets(e.g. ribeye steaks) or seafood portions (e.g. bluefin tuna), as these command a far greater price-point in their conventional form, and the benefits of this process can even enable premium pricing. As economies of scale are ultimately realized, cell-cultured companies will be able to focus on species and product forms that command high volume, instead of high value, and expand market presence. However, once companies have fully developed their commercialization processes and built their first large-scale factories, it will still take extraordinary capital to replicate these factories around the world to generate significant market share of this trillion-dollar animal protein market.

While some amount of private investment has supported the industry to date, more public and philanthropic support is needed if we are to reboot our agricultural systems in time to meet climate goals. Today, we are greatly subsidizing and supporting the conventional agricultural industry. This same level of support (or higher) should be allocated to benefit the research, innovation, and progression of new alternative protein segments in order to accelerate their capital and operating requirements, particularly in the near-term.

Public Financing for an Archaic Food System

The UN FAO, in a recent report, indicated that current “public support mechanisms for agriculture in many cases hinder the transformation towards healthier, more sustainable, equitable, and efficient food systems, thus actively steering us away from meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the Paris Agreement.” Their report makes the compelling case for “repurposing harmful agricultural producer support to reverse this situation, by optimizing the use of scarce public resources, strengthening economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ultimately driving a food system transformation that can support global sustainable development commitments. ”Globally, support to agricultural producers currently accounts for a whopping USD $540 billion a year, or 15 percent of total agricultural production value, and this support could reach almost USD $1.8 trillion in 2030.

At any cost, a transition plan from conventional agriculture to other sustainable solutions must be implemented. There has been considerable debate by various stakeholders regarding “true pricing” initiatives – that is the actual costs and pricing of our conventional meat, poultry, seafood, produce, and other agricultural commodities. The intent is to make sure external costs (like costs related to greenhouse gases or biodiversity loss) are included in consumer prices, e.g. by fiscal government policies or price policies of supermarkets or food companies. In addition, farmers have to be paid fair prices too, including all costs they incur and payments for a fair living.

Meanwhile, with enough support to propel these technologies forward, alternative proteins like cell-cultured foods could provide a nutritionally equivalent finished product with close to 100% yield using less water, less land, and tightly controlled processes to maximize efficiency and minimize waste and spoilage. Fresh food can be located closer to the end customer to minimize transport, create higher-paying local jobs, and enhance food security – all without raising and slaughtering an animal. If nations around the world truly want to invest in future-forward, climate action, they must develop programs that support the cell-cultured protein industry, as well as plant-based and fermentation technologies, as this is the only sustainable way to feed our growing population.

There Are No Longer Plenty of Fish in the Sea

While I was in Glasgow, I was also surprised at the lack of conversation around ocean health. The ocean, responsible for providing half the oxygen we breathe, absorbing a third of our CO2 emissions and 90% of global heating, plays an integral role in both the climate crisis and our food system. And while some ocean climate related discussions resulted in broad commitments, the lack of agenda around the ocean felt unacceptable for an event focused on the climate crisis.

There are no longer “plenty of fish in the sea.” Fish consumption has been outpacing world population expansion since 1961 and current seafood production from wild-caught and farm-raised sources cannot keep pace with demand according to the United Nations, which projects a supply chain gap representing 28 million metric tons of new seafood production needed by 2030. Furthermore, as “Blue Foods” gain notoriety and interest from consumers as a “green way to feed more people,” we are creating greater stress on our ocean without addressing the challenges. Not only is the impending seafood deficit a massive food security issue for communities around the world, but the consequences of mistreating our complex ocean ecosystem – a critical carbon sink – will have detrimental effects on the climate.

The truth is that for a long time, the exploitation of our ocean was simply ignored – out of sight and out of mind. Only now are we realizing the huge importance that the ocean ecosystem plays in sustaining life on earth. Alternative protein products like cell-cultured seafood could allow nature to re-wild the ocean, while still providing consumers with delicious, nutritious, contaminant-free seafood. It must become a primary focus for public support and funding if we are to save our ocean ecosystems from collapse while still feeding people.

Take a Seat at the Table of the Future

At COP 26, I was honored with the opportunity to speak alongside other leaders combating climate change through resilient food technologies. This was an opportunity to highlight both the agricultural industry and ocean ecosystem as huge areas of potential climate action and to advocate for alternative protein as a resilient, future-proof solution. While these weren’t major themes at this year’s COP, as the climate crisis unfolds they cannot be left out of the conversation for much longer.

Events like COP are not the only ways to drive change. We are already off to a healthy start, as consumers are actively and aggressively seeking sustainable alternate protein options in their diet; hundreds of entrepreneurial startups in the food tech sector have been established in recent years to address these opportunities; billions of dollars of investment have already occurred in this sector and will continue to escalate; multinational food and pharma companies are entering this space and supporting these startups in various capacities; and national governments are enthusiastically supporting these companies as their successes will result in enhanced food security, lessening reliance on imports, increasing job creation, and increasing sustainable practices.

What we need now is for public investment to fill its empty seat at the holiday dinner table to propel these technologies forward, enabling humanity to feed itself in the decades to come, and to do so in a sustainable way that supports our global goals for resilience and regenerative agriculture.

Lou Cooperhouse is founder, president and CEO at BlueNalu, with a mission is to be the global leader in the manufacturing, marketing and sales of cell-cultured seafood, providing consumers with great tasting products that are healthy for people, humane for sea life, and sustainable for our planet. He received a M.S. in Food Science and B.S. in Microbiology, both from Rutgers University, formerly served as a founder and the executive director of the Rutgers Food innovation Center, and has served as an adjunct professor at the Rutgers Business School.

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Personal Care Product Toxins 101: Everything You Need to Know

Choosing beauty products is about more than finding what will work as promised — you also need to determine whether its ingredients list is one you’re comfortable with.

If you live in the United States, some experts predict that you are exposed to more than a hundred chemicals from personal care products before you even start the workday. While it’s easy to assume by their prevalence that these compounds are safe, a shocking amount are both untested and unregulated. Worse still, dozens of them have known negative effects yet are still in products you use every day.

Navigating the confusion of these cosmetic compounds is a daunting task. This guide should give you the tools necessary to better understand what’s really in the bottle so you can make informed choices with your personal care products.

How Toxic Are Personal Care Products?

We take it for granted that government regulations will keep poison out of products we use on our skin. In fact, however, cosmetics and personal care products have less oversight than almost any other consumer good.

Consider this: since 2009, close to 600 cosmetics manufacturers have reported the use of 88 chemicals that are linked to cancer, birth defects, and reproductive products. And these products aren’t rare — these chemicals are distributed throughout close to 73,000 distinct products.

Many believe these known toxins should be banned. But for today, they continue to be found in products meant to be used on the most sensitive parts of our bodies.

FDA Limitations for Personal Care Products

FDA headquarter building A sign for the Food And Drug Administration is seen outside of the headquarters on July 20, 2020 in White Oak, Maryland. Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

Why is there such limited regulation over cosmetics in the United States? That comes down to understanding their history with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Cosmetics are big business, but shockingly, this $170 billion industry is largely regulated under legislation established in 1938. Even today, just two pages of a 929-page act deal directly with cosmetics, crippling the FDA from regulating the chemicals within it.

This means that the cosmetics industry largely relies on self-regulation to keep things safe. As things stand today, companies don’t have to register with the FDA, provide them with ingredients statements, follow Good Manufacturing Practices, or provide access to product safety records. This limits the FDA’s power to order recalls, even when products pose risks of severe health consequences. Today, just 11 chemicals out of more than 10,000 found in cosmetics have been banned by the FDA.

Other countries aren’t as constrained with limited regulations. Many compounds prevalent in American products, such as formaldehyde, parabens, and many PFAS, are banned by the European Union and more than 40 other nations.

Health Effects of Toxins in Personal Care Products?

Toxic chemicals in cosmetics products have real impacts on personal health and the environment. Many are known or suspected carcinogens and linked to tumor formation. Other compounds contribute to neurological issues, endocrine disruption, and reproductive problems such as infertility, a higher risk of miscarriage, poor maternal and infant health outcomes, and developmental delays.

Most of these products only contain trace amounts of the problematic compounds. However, they are designed to be used frequently and are applied to the skin, a highly porous organ that offers direct access to your bloodstream and fatty tissues. In this way, even minute amounts of exposure can build up to dangerous levels over time.

What Chemicals Should You Avoid in Personal Care Products?

Here’s a closer look at some of the most insidious compounds in personal care products today.


Parabens are used to prevent microbial growth in products like shampoo, conditioner, facial creams, and lotions. They are known endocrine disrupters that can be absorbed through the skin and into your blood and digestive system. There, parabens can mess with your hormones, cause reproductive health problems, and even contribute to cancer development. For this reason, pregnant women and young children are most vulnerable.


Both butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in personal care products ranging from lipstick to makeup, sunscreen, deodorant, and many fragrances.

Some people experience allergic reactions when they touch their skin, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies them as a possible carcinogen. Research with mice has found that long-term exposure to high doses causes kidney, liver, and thyroid problems while affecting lung function and even promoting tumor growth.

Worse, their presence is linked with organ toxicity and endocrine disruption. This has led the European Union to ban them in cosmetics, though they remain prevalent in the United States.

That’s bad news for wildlife, as the compounds can accumulate in water systems where they are toxic to aquatic organisms.

Coal Tar Dyes

As a derivative of burning coal, this complex mixture of hundreds of compounds is used in shampoos, scalp treatments, and hair dyes, as well as soaps and lotions. Research shows that coal tar and its derivatives are known carcinogens and can lead to skin tumors and neurological damage when applied topically. Compounding the problem, sometimes coal tar is contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.

Preliminary research is inconclusive. One study found that women who used hair dyes had an increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, while others have found minimal association between the two.

The FDA requires all hair dye and skin products that contain coal tar to display a warning label on the packaging with precautions for its use. Even so, millions of consumers use these products unaware. That’s partly due to confusing labeling, as coal tar dyes are used extensively in cosmetics, where they are identified by five-digit Color Index (CI) numbers.

DEA-Related Ingredients

Diethanolamine (DEA) is widely used in cosmetics and household cleaning products to make them creamy or sudsy. It also acts as a pH adjuster to balance out acidity.

Some people experience moderate skin and eye irritation from DEA. Even more serious, the EU has banned it in personal care products due to concerns of the formation of nitrosamines, a probable carcinogen. On its own, DEA has been linked to liver tumors and cancers and tends to accumulate in water systems, posing problems to aquatic life within it.

Dibutyl Phthalate (DEP)

Primarily used as a dye solvent in nail products, dibutyl phthalate prevents polishes from becoming brittle. It’s also used in fragrances, where it doesn’t need to be disclosed by the manufacturer. Unfortunately for the end-user, this compound is an endocrine disruptor and can cause developmental problems for men like early puberty and other reproductive changes.

As DEP is absorbed through the skin, it increases the chances that other chemicals will trigger genetic mutations like reduced sperm count and changes in the testes and prostate.

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives

Used as a preservative, formaldehyde and compounds that release it are common in shampoos, hair gel, body wash, nail polish, and even liquid baby soaps.

While these compounds prevent microbes from growing in moist environments, they can be absorbed through the skin where they trigger allergic reactions or worse. Products that contain formaldehyde can slowly off-gas the compound, making it a concern for indoor air quality. Some research links formaldehyde exposure to cancer. Worse, infants are one of the most vulnerable populations to formaldehyde.


This common antimicrobial agent is common in soap, detergents, toothpaste, and other personal care products. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found evidence of triclosan in the urine of more than three-quarters of people tested.

This compound has been linked to public health problems like endocrine disruption and an increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It’s considered especially dangerous for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

Less serious but still concerning, triclosan tends to be mildly irritating to skin and eyes after prolonged exposure. It also degrades slowly and builds up in the environment when flushed down the drain, where it can produce toxic effects for animals in water systems.

Parfum (Fragrance)

Many products like sunscreen, soap and shampoo, deodorant, and perfume include “fragrance” on the label, but rarely disclose what precisely is contained in their proprietary blends.

The FDA defines fragrance as a combination of chemicals that contribute to a product’s distinct scent. Over 3,000 chemicals are regularly used, and they can be made from a mix of petroleum or naturally derived ingredients, and most contain solvents, stabilizers, and other forms of preservatives.

Laboratory analysis shows that the average cologne or perfume contains around 14 chemicals not included on the label, many of which can trigger allergic reactions in some users.

This poses a problem for consumers, as many fragrance compounds have been linked to serious health problems like allergies, reproductive complications, and cancer development. Other problems associated with regular exposure include chronic migraines, asthma attacks, and gastrointestinal issues. Some evidence indicates that repeated exposure to perfume can contribute to the development of childhood asthma.

Note that even products marketed as “fragrance-free” or “unscented” might contain fragrance paired with a masking agent to prevent your brain from processing it.

PEG Compounds

PEGS (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based agents commonly used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, and moisture carriers. You’ll most often find them in cream-based products and laxatives.

Depending on how they’re manufactured, PEGS can be contaminated with known human carcinogens, including ethylene oxide and 1, 4-dioxane. Both don’t degrade quickly, meaning they can build up in your system and lead to toxicity problems.

Even when uncontaminated, PEG compounds can pose problems, especially when used on broken skin. The agent works as a “penetration enhancer,” meaning it improves the absorption of other products through the skin and into your bloodstream.


More commonly known as petroleum jelly, petrolatum is added to personal care products as a moisturizer. It tends to melt at body temperature and forms a water-repellent layer on the skin, essentially locking in moisture.

Petrolatum is considered safe when refined properly, but that’s not always the reality. Often, the compound becomes contaminated with toxic compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). That’s a big concern, as the National Toxicology Program classifies PAHs as reasonably anticipated carcinogens, especially in regards to breast cancer. While the EU mandates that manufacturers be transparent about the full refining process for PAH in petrolatum, there is no equivalent standard in the United States.


Used to soften, smooth, and moisten hair and skin, siloxanes are also commonly found in commercial lubricants and make up water-repelling windshield coatings. Unfortunately, specific forms, such as cyclotetrasiloxane and cylcopentasiloxane, (also known as D4 and D5), are known to be toxic and can accumulate in your system after prolonged exposure. They are also harmful to aquatic life.

Lab testing has linked high doses of D5 to the development of uterine tumors and reproductive system harm. There’s also evidence that it can interfere with neurotransmitters in the nervous system.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

This compound, commonly referred to as SLES, is a popular foaming agent in shampoos, facial cleansers, shower gels, and even dish soap. Many people find it irritates their skin and eyes after prolonged exposure.

Manufacturing processes are the biggest cause for concern, as sodium laureth sulfate is often contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, two compounds labeled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as known and probable human carcinogens. As 1,4-dioxane doesn’t quickly degrade, this compound is considered an environmental toxin that disrupts water systems and can impact human development.

While both compounds can be removed from SLES through a vacuum stripping process, companies don’t need to disclose to consumers whether the source they use has gone through the process.

What Products Contain Toxins?

The list of cosmetic products that contain these compounds is convoluted and subject to change after frequent reformulations. As such, any attempt at listing them would become outdated even before publication.

However, certain product styles tend to be more toxin-laden than others. Research conducted by the University of Notre Dame found that cosmetics advertised as “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” or “long-wearing” tend to contain alarming levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Of the products tested, over 60 percent of foundations, 55 percent of lip products, and close to 50 percent of mascaras contained high levels of PFAS.

These findings have been collaborated by the Environmental Working Group through its Skin Deep Database. It shows that 13 different PFAS compounds have been found in over 300 products produced by more than 50 brands. Just eight percent disclosed their PFAS content on the ingredients list, and most that did were incomplete.

Legacy brands like Johnson & Johnson also aren’t immune to making products without problematic ingredients. According to a 2017 independent investigation, the company’s Just Shine Shimmer Powder (a cosmetic marketed to teens and tweens) contained high levels of lead and asbestos, a known human carcinogen. Further testing in 2019 found more signs of asbestos contamination in baby powder and products marketed to children, which were sold by brand names Claire’s and Justice. Despite clear evidence of concerning compounds, the FDA lacks the authority to recall these products.

How to Find Toxin-Free Personal Care Products

Set textured multicolored smears cosmetic products on beige background Tanja Ivanova / Moment / Getty Images

Thankfully, the tide is turning in regards to consumer awareness of chemical load in cosmetics. Personal care brands are taking notice and adjusting their formulas accordingly.

Many American cosmetics companies are feeling the pressure to improve their ingredients lists. Retailers such as Target, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, and mega-brands Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson have gone public in recent years with promises to address the use of toxic compounds in personal care products. At the end of 2019, CVS prohibited formaldehyde, many parabens, diethylhexyl phthalate, and dibutyl phthalate from its shelves.

In contrast, many brands have long histories of keeping their ingredients lists simple and safe. The classic example is Dr. Bronner’s soap. Utilizing certified organic and fair-trade ingredients, this pure castile soap comes concentrated (meaning less plastic waste) and is free of synthetic preservatives, detergents, and foaming agents — making it safe for washing everything from the dishes to your face.

7 Tips for Avoiding Toxic Beauty Products

Finding personal care products free of toxins is far from easy. Not only is the industry guilty of greenwashing, but the lack of regulation within it means that dangerous compounds aren’t always disclosed on labels. With that in mind, here are some strategies for determining whether a product is worth the purchase:

  • Look for certifications from the EU, as the products undergo stricter regulation than U.S. brands.
  • Verify brands and ingredient safety through the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
  • Avoid products advertised as being long-lasting or waterproof, as they likely contain PFAS.
  • Stay away from anything not labeled fragrance-free. “Unscented” is not the same, as this wording allows manufacturers to add masking agents to hide fragrances.
  • Take shorter showers. The longer you spend under hot water, the more your pores will open, which increases the absorption rate of problematic compounds.
  • Make DIY beauty products using clean, simple ingredients.
  • Use personal care products that have a trusted organic certification.


Few things are more intimately connected to your well-being than products you apply to your skin. Failing to account for questionable ingredients may seem like a minor oversight in the moment, but consistent exposure to even trace amounts can lead to serious health and environmental problems.

Lack of regulation and even less product testing makes it almost impossible to accept a product’s claims at face value. To limit your exposure to problematic ingredients, you’ll need to rely on your own research and use the resources listed here to verify whether products are safe before using them.

Lydia Noyes is a freelance writer specializing in health and wellness, food and farming, and environmental topics. When not working against a writing deadline, you can find Lydia outdoors where she attempts to bring order to her 33-acre hobby farm filled with fruit trees, heritage breed pigs, too many chickens to count, and an organic garden that somehow gets bigger every year.