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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Lack of government oversight has created a problem in tracking the growing number of dangerous reactions to cosmetics.

Adverse reactions to cosmetics and personal care products more than doubled to nearly 1,600 complaints between 2015 and 2016, according to a new study.

“In 2015 to 2016, this jump that you talked about was primarily from three different product lines – hair care, skincare and tattoos,” said Dr. Tara Narula while talking on CBS This Morning.

That is actually estimated to be just a fraction of the actual number of complaints – some of which are never voiced by the consumer.

“The concern raised by this letter is that there are about 396 adverse events reported every year and that probably is the tip of the iceberg because we know that research has shown that usually less than 10% of adversary events are really reported,” said Dr. Narula.

Complaints can range from skin irritations to rashes to hair loss to longer-term concerns like cancer and reproductive problems.

Despite a lack of complaints, Dr. Narula says this rise is caused by a lack of oversight in the industry – something consumers should be very aware of when they’re using beauty products.

“In this industry there is really very minimal safety oversight,” said Dr. Narula. “I think that’s surprising to a lot of people to learn.”

But what type of oversight is needed?

“I think there needs to be on some level more information and more oversight,” said Dr. Narula. “The problem now… that there is no need for pre-market safety approval. Manufacturers don’t need to report to the FDA if they don’t get complaints. There is no need to register products. There is no need to give the FDA ingredients. So what has happened is that we’ve created a situation of passive surveillance where products get put on the market and then we wait for complaints to arise.”

There is something consumers can start doing to help themselves besides wait for more oversight.

The best advice Dr. Narula says is to “keep it simple’ and pick products that have chemicals that have been around and are “tried, true and tested.” Also, pick products that are dye free, preservative free and fragrance free.

If you have an issue with a product, make sure to report it to the FDA. Click here for more information.



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