Should you trust the EWG?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
What do you think?  Here are my thoughts and a review of what the skin deep database really reflects.


  • I think what they just did regarding formaldehyde hair treatments needed doing. There's a lot of garbage in their site though.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    I really get a kick out of their EWG seal program where you can have cosmetics EWG Certified, but they charge 1% of revenues on that product for the seal.  Now that's a money-making scheme if you've ever seen one ... going from "Safety Advocacy" to trying to get an annuity off of each product certified.

    Many consumers do pay attention to EWG and I have clients who use it to screen proposed ingredients.  So, rightly or wrongly, it's one of those marketing issues that you do need to pay attention to on occassion. 
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details
  • The EWG has its place, but must be read with some caution.
    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • johnbjohnb Member
    edited December 2016
    The EWG may boast a learned panel of experts and consultants on their advisory boards but they probably have as many cranks, charlatans, loonies and "experts" in poor science there as there are in any other anti-progress pressure group - flat Earth societies or Elvis is alive and well and living on the Moon.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited December 2016
    in my experience, safety assessors/toxicologists always cite the CIR and SCCS as primary sources for their safety data - not one of them cites the EWG

    to my mind, that really says it all
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • heraklitheraklit Member, PCF student
    Try to search for any basic cosmetic ingredient and EWG result will be almost always at the first page of google. Always I ignore it.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @heraklit  - I've always found that fact to be troubling. Raw material suppliers should do a better job of SEO.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    For me EWG translates into 'Explanations Without Grounds', never took them as part of the industry anyway. 
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    The problem with EWG is that clients (thankfully much less often than even 10 years ago) will sometimes approach you during the Product Development Phase and say "I want everything lower than a 2 on the EWG." Fortunately the last few times this was brought up I was able to meet this challenge. It is the undeserved value that clients assign to this flawed website that can be the issue. Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
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