Hazardous Chemicals to Avoid in Personal Care Products

We search and try a lot of different products on our bodies to feel and look great. We also search and buy the most popular products in the market for our babies to use. We are keen if the smell is nice, if it makes the skin clean, soft and supple or produces the ‘rosy’ cheek everyone would wish to have. We rarely read the labels or ingredients as long as the ads or reviews are great. Have we ever thought of these products to be safe the least?

In the helm of going “natural” and “organic” to be healthy, it seems wrong to start to eat right and avoid toxic chemicals like BPA while slathering your skin (or your baby’s!) with cancer-causing chemicals and hormone disruptors. It’s scary but true that some potentially toxic ingredients and known carcinogens are not even required by law to be labeled on the products. Below is a list of chemicals you need to look out for to minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals.

(Photo courtesy of Google)
(Photo courtesy of Google)

1. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). 

These are the most toxic ingredients on this list. This surfactant can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products (think foaming products). When used in combination with other chemicals, they can form nitrosamines, a deadly class of carcinogen. These are used to clean engines, garage floors and at car washes. And still the most popular ingredient for makeup, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and body wash/cleanser.
Avoid chemicals that end in “–eth.” This includes myreth, oleth, laureth, and ceteareth, among others.

2. Formaldehyde (Diazolidinyl UREA)

The word "urea", which refers to urine and other bodily fluids, is where this stuff comes from. They take this filth and put it in skin care products and cosmetics because it acts as a preservative. Talk about skincare, right??
The biggest safety concern with diazolidinyl urea is that it releases formaldehyde, an embalming agent. This is used in many cosmetic products to help prevent bacteria growth. It's also a "human skin toxicant or allergen" which is true irony because it's used in products that are supposed to beautify and enhance the skin. In essence, Formaldehyde causes cancer and is widely used in hair products, nail polish, body washes, cleansers, eye shadows, nail polish treatments.

Avoid DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl UREA, Imidazolidinyl UREA, Methanamine, or Quarternium-15.

(Photo courtesy of Google)
(Photo courtesy of Google)

3. Nitrosamines

This are carcinogenic impurities found in personal care products – shampoos, soaps, bubble baths and facial cleansers. According to scientists from San Jose University, the common nitrosamine impurity NDELA “is readily absorbed through the skin and accumulates in organs, such as the liver, bladder, etc. where it induces chronic toxic effects” (Matyska et al. 2000). The International Agency for Research on Carcinogens has found that nitrosamines are carcinogenic in all animal species studied, including primates. No other carcinogen has been found to be carcinogenic in as many species as nitrosamines. (IARC, 1978; 1982; 1985; 1987).

Avoid: cocamide diethanolamine(DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), and monoethanolamine (MEA). The U.S. National Toxicology Program published (1998) an animal study showing that topical skin application of cocamide DEA created liver tumors.

4. Mineral Oil and Petroleum

Mineral oil is a petroleum derivative that coats the skin, preventing it from breathing, and can’t be metabolized! These are "obstructive" agents—they seal off the skin from air, water or anything else getting in (or out). Wherever they're applied, they form an invisible film on the surface that blocks the pores and the skin's natural respiration process. They are also linked to estrogen dominance. A study indicated that oils contain compounds with possible endocrine-disrupting potential, some of them acting via the hormone receptors." These products and their contaminants build up in the body, so it stands to reason that long-term exposure might exacerbate hormonal imbalances. Notice that baby oil is 100% mineral oil (??)

5. Parabens

Parabens are widely used as preservatives - prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products. They keep hairsprays sticky and bacteria and fungus out of things like nail polish and perfume. Unfortunately, Parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. Already banned by the European Union in 2003, they can be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos and facial cleansers. You can also find them in food and pharmaceutical products.

Beware of ingredients with prefixes Ethyl, Methyl, Butyl or Propyl.

6. Fragrance

What does “fragrance” mean in the label anyway? This term was created to protect a company's "secret formula." Manufacturers can legally hide hundreds of ingredients under “fragrance” (or “parfum”). More than 75 percent of the time, if you see “fragrance” listed, it signals legally hidden phthalates (THAL-ates), which are known endocrine disruptors that are linked with birth defects, breast cancer, infertility, liver cancer, diabetes, and obesity. “Fragrances” are found in most colognes, deodorants, conditioners, skin care and body products.

7. Tricolosan

Triclosan is a synthetic antimicrobial ingredient that is a known endocrine disruptor - especially thyroid and reproductive hormones, and a skin irritant. Studies raise concerns that Triclosan contributes to making bacteria antibiotic-resistant. There wasn't enough supporting evidence that washing with antibacterial soaps containing Triclosan provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water. Triclosan stores away in body fat and can accumulate to toxic levels in the liver, kidneys and lungs. It can cause paralysis, suppression of the immune system, brain hemorrhages, and heart problems. This is widely used in antibacterial cleansers, disinfectant gels, toothpaste and household products.

8. Talc

Talc is a fine powder and is chemically similar to asbestos. This has been linked to ovarian and testicular cancer. Talc is a known carcinogen and is a major cause of ovarian cancer. It can be harmful if inhaled as it can lodge in the lungs, causing respiratory disorders. Since the early 1980s, records show that several thousand infants each year have died or become seriously ill following accidental inhalation of baby powder. It is found in baby, face and body powders.

Avoid these chemicals which are often found in baby products. Beware of taglines like “dermatologist tested” or “#1 brand recommended by doctors,” as these are, unfortunately, just dandy promotion techniques.

Everyday chemical exposure is already among the leading causes of the most common cases of chronic diseases today. So be vigilant on keeping yourselves and your babies safe and healthy. Always read the labels and be particular behind “greenwashing” words like “natural”, “herbal”, “pure” or “free”. Make sure not to buy skin are or baby care products that use any of the toxic chemicals mentioned.

Have you checked the ingredients of the products that you use lately?

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Hazardous Chemicals to Avoid in Personal Care Products  Hazardous Chemicals to Avoid in Personal Care Products   Reviewed by TrendSpot on Monday, June 15, 2015 Rating: 5

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