Last month I shared with you Part I about toxins in our body care products. Now let’s continue with Part II and find out what toxins to avoid.
Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol: Found in Anti-freeze. Acts as a “surfactant11 (wetting agent and solvent). Penetrates skin and weakens protein and cellular structure. Strong enough to remove barnacles from boats! The EPA considers PG so toxic that workers are required to wear protective clothing and to dispose of PG by burying it in the ground. PG penetrates the skin so quickly, the EPA warns against contact to prevent brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. But there isn’t even a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than is most industrial applications.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Detergents that pose serious health threats. Used in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and in 90% of personal care products that foam. Animals exposed to SLS experience eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and even death. Young eyes may not develop properly if exposed to SLS. May damage the skin’s immune system. Can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens. Your body may retain SLS for up to five days and maintain residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs and brain.
DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (Monoethanolaniie) & TEA (triethanolamine): Hormone-disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing nitrates. Restricted in Europe due to carcinogenic effects, yet they are still used in the U.S. Americans may be exposed 10-20 times per day with shampoos, shaving creams and bubble baths. Dr. Samuel Epstein (processor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois) says that repeated applications of DEA-based detergents result in major increase in liver and kidney cancer. The PDA’s John Bailey says, “The risk is significantly increased for children.”
Sodium Hydroxide: The most recent addition to our personal care products. This is poison (caustic lye) found in drain cleaners, yet is now found in our children and adult toothpaste!
Triclosan: Synthetic “antibacterial” with a chemical structure-similar to Agent Orange! The EPA registers it as a pesticide, giving it high scores as a risk to human health and the environment. It is in a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. It may produce dioxin, a hormone-disrupting chemical with toxic effects measured in the parts per trillion; that is only one drop in 300 Olympic-size swimming pools! Hormone disrupters pose enormous long-term chronic health risks. It can change genetic material, decrease fertility and sexual function, and foster birth defects. Internally it can lead to cold sweats, circulatory collapse and convulsions. Stored in body fat, it can accumulate to toxic levels, damaging the liver, kidneys and lungs, and can cause paralysis, brain hemorrhages and heart problems. Tufts University School of Medicine says Triclosan can force the emergence of “super bugs” that it cannot kill. Its widespread use in antibacterial cleansers, toothpastes and household products may have nightmarish implications on future generations.
DMDM & Urea (Imidazolidinyl): Two of many preservatives that often release formaldehyde which cause joint pain, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. Exposure also irritates the respiratory system, triggers heat palpitations or asthma and aggravates cough and colds. Other side effects include weakening the immune system and cancer.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG): Carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that reduces the skin’s natural moisture. Increases the appearance of aging and leaves you vulnerable to bacteria. Used in spray-on oven cleaners and cleansers to dissolve oil and grease.
Liutane or Propane: Found in aerosol products. May be narcotic and cause asphyxiation.
Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40): Drying, irritating solvent that strips skin’s moisture and immune barrier, making you vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Made from a petroleum derivative found in shellac and antifreeze as well as personal care products. Promotes brown spots and premature aging. A consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients says it may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting and coma. Fatal ingested dose is one ounce or less.
Mineral Oil: Petroleum by-produce that coats the skin like plastic wrap, clogging the pores. Interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Baby oil is 100% mineral oil!
FD&C Color Pigments: Synthetic colors from coal tar that deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and death. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.
Fragrances: Can contain up to four thousand ingredients (including animal urine), many toxic or carcinogenic. Causes headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting and skin irritation. Fragrances affect the nervous system, causing depression, hyper activity, irritability, inability to cope and other behavioral changes.
To learn more about cosmetic safety and the health concerns associated with certain ingredients in beauty care products, please consult the follow resources:
- The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (www.safecosmetics.org)
- Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers’ Guide to Safe Cosmetics (www.ewg.org)
- CosmeticsDataBase.com (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com)
- Environmental Risks and Breast Cancer Project from Vassar College (erbc.vassar.edu)
- National Geographic’s “The Green Guide” (thegreenguide.com)
To learn more about products that are more health friendly contact Lynn for information on a full skin care line. There are a number to choose from and they don’t have to be costly. My new favorite is a package of five facial care products for as little as $85 that will last you a couple of months. The kit contains a cleanser, toner, antioxidant serum, skin repair cream and lipid complex. These products do not have these harmful ingredients listed in this article.
HealthKeepers Magazine April 2012