Toxins in our Toiletries
The majority of brands of mainstream toiletries that we use with our families are full of toxic chemicals, even products which claim to be 'natural' and 'pure' contain many of these toxic ingredients.
The majority of popular brands of mainstream toiletries and personal care products that we use on ourselves and our families are full of toxic chemicals, even products which claim to be 'natural' and 'pure' contain many of these toxic ingredients. The biggest organ on our bodies is our skin, anything which comes into contact with it is rapidly absorbed into our bloodstream - with babies skin being three times thinner than a grow adults and the vulnerable state of babies and young children to toxic exposure due to their developing organs and reproductive system, it is even more important to avoid these chemicals. By reading labels and seeking fragrance free products derived from natural sources you can help protect your family from these toxic chemicals.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate
What is it? Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate is used as a detergent, that will cause a product to foam and bubble.
Why is it bad for us? SLS/SLES's are a possible carcinogenic, which have been shown to irritate the scalp eyes and skin, and cause hair loss and damage to the teeth. Studies on lab animals show evidence that SLS's damage the reproductive system, liver, lungs and immune system and may mimic estrogen. SLS's can be stored in the brain, liver, heart and lungs.
What is it used in? SLS/SLES's are found in most commercial shampoos (including 'baby' shampoos), bubble bath, shower gel, cleansers, mouthwash and toothpaste (where the body gets its biggest dose of SLS/SLES's due to the mucus membranes in the mouth)
Appears on ingredient labels as: SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, SLES, SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, SODIUM LARYL SULFATE, SODIUM LAUREL SULFATE, SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE SOLUTION, SODIUM LAYRYL SULFATE, SODUIM LAURYL SULFATE, SODIUM LAUROYL SULFATE, SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, ANHYDROUS SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, IRIUM, SLS, AMMONIUM LAURYL SULFATE, ALS
What are they? Ethanolamine's are an ingredient used in skin and personal care products as solvents, emulsifiers and detergents. They fall into three categories: DEA - Diethanolamine, MEA - Monoethanolamine, TEA - Triethanolamine
Why is it bad for us? Ethanolamine's are "suspected of carcinogenic activity." In tests on lab animals they have been shown to cause tumors in the kidneys and liver, and can react with preservatives in toiletries to form other known carcinogens.
What is it used in? Soaps, shampoos, bubble baths, lotions, cosmetics, sunscreens and hair colour.
Appears on ingredient labels as: TRIETHANOLAMINE; TROLAMINE; TEA; TRIATHANOLAMINE; THRIETHANOLAMINE; TREITHANOLAMINE; TRITETHANOLAMINE; TRIETNANOLAMINE; TRIETHANLOLAMINE; TRETHANOLAMINE; TRIETHANLAMINE; TRETHAMOLAMINE; TRIETAHNOLAMINE; THIETHANOLAMINE, DIETHANOLAMINE, DEA, DIETHYLOLAMINE, BIS(HYDROXETHYL)AMINE, COCAMIDE DEA, HYDROXYDIETHYLAINE, DIOLAMINE, MONOETHANOLAMINE, MEA, COCAMIDE MEA,2-AMINOETHANOL,ETHANOLAMINE
Propylene Glycol (PEG)
What is it? Propylene glycol is a humectant (a substance used in toiletries and cosmetic products to help retain moisture)
Why is it bad for us? Propylene glycol has been shown to cause damage to the liver and kidney's, and can inhibit skin cell growth and cause dermatitis. If ingested it causes problems with the nervous system and gastro-intestinal tract. Propylene Glycol is rapidly absorbed through the skin and stored throughout the body.
What is it used in? Propylene Glycol is used in almost all shampoos and conditioners, toothpastes, deodorants, face creams, baby wipes, shaving gels, hair color and bleach; facial cleansers, styling gels and lotions, and body wash.
Appears on ingredient labels as: PROPYLENE GLYCOL; PROPYLENE GYLCOL; PROPLENE GLYCOL; PROPLYENE GLYCOL; PROPYLENE GYCOL; PROPYLENE GLCYOL; PROYLENE GLYCOL; PROPTYLENE GLYCOL; 1,2-PROPANEDIOL
What is it? Propyl alcohol is added to toiletries as an antiseptic and a binding agent.
Why is it bad for us? Alcohol acts as a solvent and particularly when used in mouth wash and oral care greatly increases the risk of oral cancers.
What is it used in? Propyl Alcohol is used in shampoos, shaving products, waterless hand cleaners, cosmetics and in large quantities in mouthwash.
Appears on ingredient labels as: ISOPROPYL, ALCOHOL, PROPYL ALCOHOL
What are they? Methyl-methoxycinnamate is used in sun creams to absorb UVB and some UVA rays.
Why are they bad for us? By absorbing rather than reflecting light rays (as safe mineral sunscreens do) research suggests that new toxic chemical compounds are formed in the skin which may cause the skin to become sensitized. UV light may then be delivered to and damage DNA, potential causing cancer.
What are they used in? Sunscreens, and moisturizers with Sun Protection Factor.
Appears on ingredient labels as: METHYL-METHOXYCINNAMATE
What is it? Toulene is a solvent.
Why is it bad for us? Toulene is a very Volatile Organic Compound. Acute exposure can irritate the nose, throat, and eyes, and cause headaches, loss of consciousness, and death. Chronic exposure can cause mutations, damage developing fetuses, and damage the liver, kidneys, brain, and bone marrow.
What is it used in? Toulene shows up in most perfume, nail polish and nail polish remover.
Appears on ingredient labels as: TOLUOL, TOLUENE, TOULENE
What are they? Benzene is a petrochemical which is a solvent.
Why are they bad for us? Benzene is a very Volatile Organic Compound which is classified as a carcinogenic. Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene can decrease red blood cells, leading to anemia, it can also affect the immune system and in extreme cases cause leukemia. Short-term exposure to high levels of benzene by inhalation affect the central nervous system, and can cause dizziness, rapid breathing, tightness of the chest, tremors, rapid heart rate, sleepiness, convulsions, paralysis and coma.
What are they used in? Benzene is used in most perfumes, nail polish and nail polish removers.
Appears on ingredient labels as: BENZOL, BENZENE
What are they? Talc is a fine powder and is chemically similar to asbestos.
Why are they bad for us? The use of talc-containing feminine sprays & powders used in the genital area have been linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Inhalation of talc causes irritation to the respiratory system.
What are they used in? Baby powders, feminine powders, condom lubricants, and in cosmetics.
Appears on ingredient labels as: MAGNESIUM SILICATE, TALC, TALCUM POWDER
What are they? Parabens are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and as a preservative in a wide range of personal care products.
Why are they bad for us? Parabens are endocrine disrupter that mimic estrogen and have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive system defects. They can easily be absorbed into the blood stream and are especially dangerous for babies in utero when used by pregnant mothers.
What are they used in? Shampoos, body and face creams, deodorants, condoms, baby lotions, bath products, facial cleanser, some sunscreens SPF 15 and above, conditioner, hair color and bleach, eye shadow, foundation and other cosmetics.
Appears on ingredient labels as: METHYLPARABEN, PROPYLPARABEN, BUTYLPARABEN, ETHYLPARABEN, ISOBUTYLPARABEN
What are they? Synthetically manufactured 'scents'.
Why are they bad for us? Synthetic musks can cause irritation to the throat, nose and eyes, cause allergies, trigger headaches, migraines, and asthma attacks. The biggest issue is that synthetic musks act as toxic enhancers by debilitating the cells natural ability to defend against toxic substances. Synthetic musks are most likely in products that already contain toxic chemicals such as parabens and phthalates and, as enhancers the synthetic musks act in increasing the toxicity of these chemicals.
What are they used in? Perfumes, body lotions, body wash, shaving foam, conditioner, shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics and styling treatments.
Appears on ingredient labels as: GERANIUM MACULATUM OIL PARFAM; FRAGRANCE; PERFUME OIL; PARFUM; FRAGRANCE FLORAL-SPICE
What are they? A derivative of crude oil
Why are they bad for us? Mineral oil blocks the pores of the skin hindering normal respiration by keeping the oxygen out, as a result trapping toxins. Mineral Oil exacerbates skin disorders such as eczema.
What are they used in? Mineral oil is found in many products including baby oil and bath and body oils.
Appears on ingredient labels as: MINERAL OIL, LIQUIDUM PARAFFINUM, PARAFFIN OIL, PARAFFIN WAX, PETROLATUM, MINERAL OIL JELLY, LIQUID VASELINE, PARAFFINUM, LIQUIDUM, BABY OIL
What are they? Phthalates are chemicals added to personal care products to give substances a 'smooth' effect and to help the fragrance last longer.
Why are they bad for us? Phthalates are endocrine disruptor's. Health issues related to toxic phthalates include increased risk of miscarriage, male reproductive development impairment such as undescended testicles, enlarged prostates and reduced sperm count, and early onset puberty in girls. These reproductive abnormalities increase the risk of cancer in later life such as breast and prostate cancer. Toxic phthalates have also been shown to cause liver and kidney damage.
What are they used in? Nail polish, especially chip-resistant polish. Fragrances, phthalates are often used as part of the "fragrance" in some products but most probably won't be listed separately, as it will just fall under the umbrella of 'fragrance' or 'parfum' on the ingredients list. To avoid it choose toiletries and personal care products that don't have the word "fragrance" on the ingredients list. Phthalates are often found in personal care products, including deodorants, perfumes and cologne, aftershave lotions, shampoos, hair gels, hand lotions and insect repellent.
Appears on ingredient labels as: DI BUTYL PHTHALATE, (DBP), DI ETHYLPHTHALATE, (DEP), DIMETHYLPHTHALATE, (DMP), BENZYLBUTYLPHTHALATE, (BzBP), FRAGRANCE, PARFUM
What are they? Triclosan is a synthetic chemical that is anti-bacterial and anti-microbial.
Why are they bad for us? Triclosan is a close relation of dioxin, which is the most potent synthetic animal carcinogen ever tested,. Lab studies link triclosan to cancer, developmental defects, and liver and inhalation toxicity. Triclosan may also affect the thyroid and other hormone systems. This powerful antibacterial and anti-microbial causes genetic mutations in bacteria and viruses, producing new stains for which the human immune system has no defense. Triclosan is not only dangerous to human health but also to the environment, when flushed into waterways it contaminates streams and is toxic to wildlife.
What are they used in? Hand wash, toothpaste, & deodorants.
Appears on ingredient labels as: TRICLOSAN
What are they? Formaldehyde is used in toiletries as a disinfectant or preservative.
Why are they bad for us? Formaldehyde is a irritant and a suspected human carcinogenic. Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and may trigger asthma attacks.
What are they used in? As a preservative formaldehyde can be found in a huge range of personal care products including face and body creams, shampoos, toothpaste, nail polish, cosmetics, perfumes and fragrances.
Appears on ingredient labels as: FORMALIN, FORMAL AND METHYL ALDEHYDE, DMDM HYDANTOIN, UREA-IMIDAZOLIDINYL
Not everybody has an endless supply of money to buy toiletries that are free of these toxic chemicals, because the truth of the matter is that it does cost more to buy truly natural, products free from toxins. Remember that anything which goes on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream, so if you can not afford toxin free cosmetics and non essential toiletries, it is better to go without and to ensuring that your essential everyday toiletries are free from these chemicals e.g toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, moisturiser and sunscreen to help keep your costs down. Also keep in mind that the key times, when it is of up most importance to avoid these toxic chemicals, are when you are preparing to conceive, during pregnancy, with babies and children, and with teenagers who have developing reproductive systems.