We've heard a lot about potential health hazards in cosmetics, but so far, the US government hasn't done anything in response. Not so in Canada, whose government recently declared four chemicals to be toxic.

Siloxanes D4 and D5, used as emollients in products such as moisturizers and makeup, are unhealthy for the environment. While they aren't considered harmful to human health, they do cause problems for streams, lakes, and rivers after they've been washed down the drain. The chemicals accumulate in microrganisms and other aquatic life, and some scientists suspect that they may harm fish. There's no talk of an outright ban yet, but Canada proposes setting concentration limits.

Equally unsettling is the announcement that two known human carcinogens, isoprene and epichlorohydrin, are used in cosmetics. You'd think they would be banned, but, uh, not exactly: They're being added to the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. If that sounds like a puny response to ingredients that can cause cancer, that's because it is. The ingredients are prohibited, but enforcement sounds pretty weak: The manufacturers "may be advised to remove the substance from the formulation," among other similarly not-so-intense-sounding options.

Photo by Tanakawho