Natural Foods Merchandiser

Supplement & Personal Care News Briefs

New Web site outs toxic ingredients
Wondering just how nontoxic those natural nail polishes and shampoos really are? Now there's help. The Environmental Working Group recently launched version 3.0 of its Skin Deep Web site ( The online resource assesses the safety of about 25,000 personal care products, about a quarter of those on the market. EWG, an environmental watchdog group, reports that only 13 percent of the 10,500 ingredients in personal care products have been reviewed for safety by the cosmetic industry's review panel. The site combines EWG's collection of cosmetics and personal care product ingredient listings with more than 50 toxicity and regulatory databases, and rates each on a toxicity scale of 1 to 10.

USP taking comments
The United States Pharmacopeia is inviting comments on proposed revisions to guidelines and resources it makes available in the National Formulary and Food Chemicals Codex. The comment period will be open until Aug. 31. The USP says proposed revisions will make the documents more user- friendly. Revisions include creating clearer definitions and instructions, updating language dating back to the 1920s and creating standards for substances legally marketed outside the United States. The USP-NF contains standards for medicines, dosage forms, drug substances, medical devices and dietary supplements, as well as standards for botanicals. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, the USP-NF is the official compendia for drugs marketed in the United States.

Selenium drafted in fight against HIV
Research on whether selenium could help with the fight against prostate cancer continues to offer tantalizing results. But now the antioxidant could be drafted in the war against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. An article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine earlier this year reported that researchers found a lower HIV viral load in patients who took selenium supplements for nine months. Researchers gave 91 HIV patients a daily capsule containing 200 micrograms of high-selenium yeast; another 83 patients received a placebo. The patients taking selenium were more likely to have a lower HIV viral load and more CD4 cells, which play a key role in fighting infection. The researchers don't yet understand the connection between selenium and HIV, but one guess is that selenium's antioxidant properties may repair damage done to cells by oxygen, which is produced at higher levels in the bodies of HIV patients.


Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 7/p.30

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