Toxic chemicals in commercial personal care products explained.
AIR FRESHENERS: Work by coating your nasal passages with an oil film and/or reduce your ability to smell odors. Often containing Formaldehyde, a highly toxic ingredient, which can irritate eyes, nose, throat, and skin. High exposure can cause nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, memory loss and shortness of breath. They may also include Phenol, a skin irritant that can cause swelling, burning, and peeling. High doses of Phenol can also cause cold sweats, convulsions, circulatory collapse, coma, and even death. Most Air Fresheners contain artificial fragrances, which are petroleum based.
ALL-PURPOSE CLEANERS: often contains Propylene Glycol, a chemical that can cause nausea, convulsions, slurred speech, disorientation, and heart and kidney problems if ingested. Ninety percent contain Sodium Laurel (Laureth) Sulfate. Some all-purpose cleaners may contain Sodium Hydroxide (Lye), also found in drain cleaners, stain removers, and bathroom cleaners. A highly reactive chemical, lye can react violently with water and other materials, sometimes generating enough heat to ignite nearby combustible materials. Extremely corrosive to all tissues, especially the eyes as it can cause blindness. Aerosol sprays containing this chemical can also lead to lung injury. Extremely dangerous when coming in contact with skin, mucous membranes, mouth, throat, esophagus and stomach tissues.
AMMONIA: a volatile chemical, commonly found in window cleaners, and some stain removers and detergents. Ammonia can damage your eyes, as well as respiratory tract and cause ski irritation. Ammonia adds nitrogen to the environment, which can damage some ecosystems.
ANTIBACTERIAL CLEANERS: contains Sodium Laurel (Laureth) Sulfate and Triclosan, a chemical that, if absorbed through the skin, may contribute to liver damage. Eliminates good bacteria, and studies suggest bacteria acquires resistance to antimicrobial agents.
CARPET AND UPHOLSTERY SHAMPOO: Highly toxic ingredients include Perchlorethylene, a carcinogen that can damage the liver, kidneys, and nervous system. They also contain Ammonium Hydroxide, which is extremely irritable to eyes, skin and respiratory passages.
CHLORINE BLEACH: a strong corrosive with fumes that can irritate or burn the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. If ingested, bleach can cause pulmonary edema or vomiting. Extremely dangerous when mixed with ammonia, as the resulting fumes can be deadly.
DISHWASHER DETERGENTS: often contain highly concentrated amounts of chlorine, a leading cause of child poisonings (see Chlorine Bleach). They also contain Sodium Laurel (Laureth) Suflate and phosphates that can cause severe skin irritation, burns and chronic poisoning if inhaled or ingested.
DRAIN CLEANER: often contains Sodium Hydroxide (Lye, see All Purpose Cleaner above), Hydrochloric Acid or Trichloroethane. Hydrochloric Acid is a corrosive element that can irritate skin, and damage kidneys, liver and digestive tracts. Trichloroethane is an eye and skin irritant that can depress the nervous system and damage liver and kidneys.
FURNITURE POLISH: many include Petroleum Distillates, a highly flammable skin irritant, and Phenol (see Air Fresheners). Some also include Nitrobenzene, a toxic material easily absorbed through the skin, or Methyl Chloroform, which can cause skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, headache, drowsiness, symptoms of drunkenness, kidney damage, liver damage, convulsions, and even coma. A variety of other petroleum-based solvents may be used that can cause mucous membrane irritation, as well as headache, dizziness, and nausea at higher concentrations.
LAUNDRY ROOM PRODUCTS: contains Sodium Laurel (Laureth) Sulfate, and Sodium or Calcium Hypochlorite, highly corrosive materials that can irritate or burn skin, eyes or respiratory tract. Other chemicals include Linear Alkylate Sulfonate, which can be absorbed through the skin and may cause liver damage, and Sodium Tripolyphosphate, a skin and mucous membrane irritant that can cause vomiting. Liquid detergents may also contain Ethyl Alcohol, which can cause coughing, drowsiness, fatigue, and headaches.
MOLD AND MILDEW CLEANERS: ingredients often include Sodium Hypochlorite, a corrosive material that can irritate or burn skin and eyes. In cases of high exposure, can cause pulmonary edema, which can lead to coma or death. Many such cleaners also contain Formaldehyde (see Air Fresheners).
OVEN CLEANER: contains Sodium Hydroxide (Lye), a strong irritant to skin and eyes; can also inhibit reflexes (see All-Purpose Cleaner).
STAIN REMOVERS: often contain Petroleum Naphtha, a petroleum distillate that can inflame and damage lungs.
TOILET BOWL CLEANERS: may contain Hydrochloric Acid, a highly corrosive irritant to both skin and eyes that can also lead to kidney and liver damage. May also include Hypochlorite Bleach, another corrosive irritant that can burn eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Ingestion can lead to pulmonary edema, vomiting or coma. If combined with other chemicals may result in potentially fatal chlorine fumes. Other products can include Phosphoric Acid, an extremely corrosive material that can cause severe irritation and burns to skin.
The following is the ingredients listing form variety of commercially produced products.
Aveeno “active naturals” Lotion
Water, glycerin, emulsifying wax, ethylhexyl isonananoate, glycine soja (soybean) flour, propylene glycol isoceteth-3 acetate, dimethicone, cyclomethicone, polyacrylamide, stearic acid, phenoxyethanol, C13-14 isoparaffin, dimethicone copolyol, benzyl alcohol, fragrance, DMDM hydantoin, glyceryl laurate, laureth-7, methylparaben, cetearyl alcohol, disodium EDTA, butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, iodopropynyl butylcaarbamate, glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, panthenyl ethyl ether, tocopheryl aetate, panthenol, BHT. May also contain sodium hydroxide, citric acid.
Aveeno “active naturals” Stress Relief Body Wash
Water glycerin, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium laureth sulfate, decyl glucoside, avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, glycol stearate, sodium lauroampho PG-acetate phosphate, guar hydroxypropltrimonium chloride, hydroxypropyltrimonium hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydroxpropyltrimonium hydrolyzed wheat starch, PEG-150 pentaerythrityl tetrastearate, PEG-120 methyl glucose trioleate, propylene glycol, tetrasodium EDTA, PEG-6 caprylic/capric glycerides, fragrance, quaternium-15. May also contain sodium hydroxide, citric acid.
Curel Healing moisturizing lotion
Water, glycerin, petrolatum, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, cetyl-PG hydroxyethyl palmitamide, isopropyl palmitate, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), avena sativa (oat) meal extract, eucalyptus globules leaf extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) oil, cyclopentasiloxane dimethicone, acacia Senegal gum, gelatin, DMDM hydantion
Eucerin Original Dry Skin Therapy
Water, mineral oil, isopropyl myristate, PEG-40, sorbitan peroleate, glyceryl lanolate, sorbitol, propylene glycol, cetyl palmitate, magnesium sulfate, aluminum stearate, lanolin alcohol, BHT, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone.
Gillette Shave Cream
Palmitic acid, Triethanolamine, Isopentane, Glyceryl oleate, Stearic acid, Parfum, Isobutane, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Propylene glycol, BHT – butylated hydroxytoluene, CI59040, CI 42090
Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo– w/natural lavender (no more tears)
Water, cocomidopropyl betaine, PEG-80, sorbitan laurate, sodium trideceth sulfate, PEG-150 distearate, fragrance, polyquaternium-10, tetrasodium EDTA, quaternium-15, citric acid, ext. violet 2
L’Oreal Kids Super Squirt
Water, sodium laureth sulfate, PEG-200, hydrogenated clyceryl palmate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, polysorbate 20, sodium chloride, glycerin, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, polysorbate 21, fragrance, sodium benzoate, polyquaternium-10, disodium edta, potassium sorbate
L’Oreal Kids Moisturizing Bath & Shower Gel
Water, sodium laureth sulfate, PEG-20 hydrogenated glyceryl palmate, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, PEG-30 glyceryl cocoate, clycerin, polysorbate 20, sodium chloride, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, hexylene glycol, FD&C yellow 5, blue 1, fragrance, pear (pyrus communis) extract,
sodium laureth-8 sulfate, sodium oleth sulfate, sodium methylparaben, DMDM hydantoin, magnesium laureth-8 sulfate, magnesium laureth, sulfate, magnesium oleth sulfate, polyquaternium-10, propylene glycol, disodium edta
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash
Water, sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium C12-15 pareth-15 sulfonate, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, anthemis nobilis flower extract, matricaria (chamomilla recutita) flower extract, Linoleamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride, phosphate, propylene glycol, yellow 5, red 40, sodium chloride, fragrance.
Nivea Body Lotion
Water, mineral oil, c13-16 isoparaffin, glycerin, isopropyl palmitate, petrolatum, PEG-40 sorbitan perisostearate, polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, tocopheryl acetate, taurine, sea salt, magnesium sulfate, fragrance, citric acid, sodium citrate, potassium sorbate
Olay Body quench body lotion
Water, glycerin, niacinamide, isohexadecane, petrolatum, isopropyl isostearate, dimethicone, stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, panthenol, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, polyethylene, caprylic/capric triglycerides, sodium acrylates, behenyl alcohol, fragrance, tocopheryl acetate, benzyl alcohol, cetearyl glucoside, mica, titanium dioxide, tin oxide, ethylparaben, dimethiconol, disodium EDTA, stearic acid, PEG-100 stearate, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), sodium pca, betaine, sorbtol, glycine, alanine, praline, serine, threonine, arginine, lysine, gluamic acid, methylparaben, propylparaben, C12-13 pareth-3, laureth-7, sodium hydroxide
Old Spice High Endurance Anti-persipirant
Aluminum zirconium trichlorohydex gly 19%, cyclopentasiloxane, stearyl alcohol, hydrogenated castor oil, petrolatum, fragrance ppg-14 butyl ether, mineral oil, behenyl alcohol
Pantene Pro-V Shampoo
Water, ammonium laureth sulfate, mmonium lauryl sulfate, sodium chloride, clycol distearate, dimethicone, cetyl alcohol, cocamide mea, panthenol, panthenyl ethyl ether, lysine hci, methyl tyrosinate hci, histidine, fragrance, polyquaternium-10, sodium citrate, hydrogenated polydecene, sodium benzoate, disodium edta, PEG-7m, trimethylolpropane tricapryylate/tricaprate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, benzophenone-3, citric acid, tocopheryl acetate, ammonium xylenesulfonate, methychloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone.
Pantene Pro-V Conditioner
Water, cyclopentasiloxane, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, cetyl alcohol, quaternium-18, panthenol, panthenyl ethyl ether, lysine HCI, methyl tyrosinate HCI, histidine, stearyl alcohol, dimethicone, PEG-2M, polysorbate 60, cetearyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, oleyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, hydroxyethylcellulose, fragrance, citric acid, EDTA, methychloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone.
Softsoap handsoap, Shea Butter
Water, sodium laureth sulfate, acrylates copolymer, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, methyl gluceth-10, Glycol distearate, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, PPG-10 Methyl glucose ether, laureth-4, DmdM hydatoin, butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter), tetrasodium EDTA, gelatin, acacia senegal gum, mica, citric acid, iron oxides, titanium dioxide
Strawberry Shortcake (Bubble Bath)
Water, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium chloride, lauryl glucoside, cocamidopropyl betaine, atrasodium EDTA, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, citric acid, fragrance. May contain FD&C blue 1, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 4, red 33, d&C violet 2.
Suave Kids, 2 in 1 Hair Smoothers Shampoo
Water, sodium laureth sulfate, sorbitan laurate, cocamidopropyl bentaine, dimethiconol, carbomer, fragrance, sodim citrate, polyquaternium-10, TEA—Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, tetrasodium edta, DMDM hydantoin, PEG-150 distearate, methyl chloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, PPG-9, mica, titanium dioxide
Suave Kids, Conditioner & Detangler
Water, cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, behentrimonium methosulfate, amodimethicone, fragrance, ceteareth-20 cetrimonium chloride, disodium EDTA, DMDM hydantoin, trideceth-12 methylchloroisothiazolinine, methylesothiazolicone
Sure unscented Antiperspirant
Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrox GLY, cyclopentasiloxane, stearyl alcohol, talc, dimethicone, hydrogenated castor oil, polyethylene, silica, dipropylene glycol, behenyl alcohol, pentadecalactone.
Watkins All-Natural Anti-age Botnicals
Water, c12-15 alkyl ethylhexanoate, stearic acid, caprylic/capric triglyceride, glycerin, triethanolamine, altantion, propylene glycol, calendula officinalis flower extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, tillia cordata flower extract, centaurea cyanus flower extract, anthemis nobillis flower extract, hypericum perforatum flower extract, camellia oleifera leaf extract, aloe barbadenis leaf juice, panthenol, tocopheryl acetate, fragrance, diazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, propylparaben, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, dimethicone, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, disodium EDTA
There is conclusive evidence on the destructive consequences of the over use of antibiotics. Antibiotic pressure on an organism can be a cofactor in immune deficiency conditions. Antibiotics were originally prescribed to fight bacterial diseases. Once these drugs became major moneymakers, their marketing took on a life of their own.
Unaware of the link to mass destruction of their immune system, an unsuspecting generation has upped its antibiotic intake through over-use (orally), through use in skin cleansing products, and ingestion through meat and poultry. This has created a potentially greater problem of the seemingly unstoppable advance of resistant bacteria. Bacteria, resistant to most or all of the known antibiotics, are menacing hospitals and their patients.
Because essential oils are not patentable and profit expectations are zero, there is no corporate sponsorship and therefore there is hardly any current scientific exploration. Essential oils are no longer researched at university level, which therefore creates the perception that these medicines are weak, useless, or ineffective.
“Existing knowledge” is no longer generated by impartial, unbiased research, but almost exclusively through corporate funding. Since virtually no current research exists, aromatherapy’s claims rest on traditional and anecdotal lore. The reality of aromatherapy is therefore only partly defined by science. It may be a sign of our times that a short attention span is also reflected in the work of contemporary scientists who find neither the time nor the energy to look at available evidence before they set out to conduct more research or formulate their statements. As a consequence, abundant scientific documentation on the pharmacology of essential oils , especially in German and French scientific literature, is overlooked. A substantial body of scientific studies already exists. This provides a perfect pharmacological rationale for many of the applications of essential oils.
Antibiotics can set off allergies, and this happens most frequently in countries where they are in general use. The widespread diffusion of penicillin, and it’s dirivitives, its systematic and at times indiscriminate use in mild infections, together with its abuse in such pharmaceutical preparations as toothpaste, can explain the steadily increasing numbers of people in the West who have become sensitized to it.
Text taken from:
Medical Aromatherapy, Healing With Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt.
Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.
The Practice of Aromatherapy, by Jean Valnet, M.D.
PERSONAL CARE TOXINS : A PARTIAL LIST
Of the more than 15,000 chemicals found in personal care products, 60% are considered toxic. Here is a list of the ones you will find most often, and why you should avoid using them. Of course, none of these are ever used in Healing-Scents.com Toxin-Free products. While this list may seem extensive, and boring, we want you to know that use of any of the chemical agents listed below can have severe adverse effects on your skin. The FDA allows these ingredients, which are by and large very inexpensive, to be used in small quantities. The problem is that most of them have cumulative effects–they add together as you continue to use them. Topping it all off, imagine this–if ONE of these is bad for you; imagine what they do in COMBINATION with each other. We are convinced they make a TOXIC SOUP, and hope you will learn to avoid every one of them.
AHA (alpha hydroxy acid): Skin is exfoliated chemically by breaking the bonds of the outer layer of the skin, instead of mechanically via abrasion, Can thin the skin and cause sun sensitivity. Can stimulate collagen production. Used as a solvent originally in cleaning compounds and for tanning leather. The FDA warns that strengths over 3% may thin the skin.
Acetamide MEA: Used in lipsticks and cream blusher to retain moisture. Causes adverse reactions, and is toxic, carcinogenic, and mutagenic.
Alkyl-phenol-ethoxylades: Has been found to reduce male sperm count, and to mimic estrogen in the body. It is widely used in shampoo, causes adverse reactions and has been shown to be toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic.
Ammonium Laureth Sulphate: This substance contains ether and is also easily absorbed by the skin. It is found in hair and bubble bath products. It is known to cause adverse reactions, to be carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic.
Aluminum: Used as a color additive in cosmetics, especially eye shadows. Another form of Aluminum is used in deodorants and antiperspirants. Listed as carcinogenic, toxic and mutagenic.
Alcohol (cetyl, butyl, ethyl): Acts as carrying and antifoaming agent as well as a water and oil solvent. It dries quickly, and if synthetically produced is carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic and can cause adverse reactions.
Benzene: It is a known bone-marrow poison, yet is widely used and combined with other chemicals in many personal care products. Causes adverse reactions, is carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic.
Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane: UVA filter. Causes: skin rashes, allergic reactions and inflammation; B-MDM’s questionable stability in the sun means it may break down into chemicals that inhibit the skin’s natural defenses against sunlight, leaving it more vulnerable to skin cancer and premature ageing.
BHT – butylated hydroxytoluene: Antioxidant. Adverse effects: Contact allergies; contact dermatitis. Potential carcinogen; May cause birth defects. If absorbed, BHT can accelerate the breakdown of vitamin D, which helps maintain immunity and healthy bones and teeth.
Coal Tar: Many kinds of shampoo designed to treat dandruff & flaky scalp contain it. Disguised with names FD, FDC or FD&C color. Coal tar causes potentially severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, fatigue, nervousness, headaches, nausea, lack of concentration, and cancer.
Coconut oil (derived from): (Oleochemicals) There are two kinds of synthetic chemicals: petrochemicals, made from crude petroleum, and oleochemicals, made from plant oils, most often coconut oil and sometimes from conventionally-grown, genetically-modified corn. (Did you know that a new version of canola (rapeseed) has been genetically engineered to produce “coconut” oil?) They’re all processed in factories and chemically turned into a wide range of different substances through the use of high pressure, extremely high temperatures of thousands of degrees, and combinations with various solvents, catalysts and other chemicals. They all come under the official USDA definition of synthetic. They’ll say that they’re “derived from” natural sources. Every man-made object or substance on earth or in outer space is derived from natural sources, if you think about it. To really fool people, put the name of a plant in parentheses after the chemical, like this: “methyl paraben (blueberries)”. You can say “no petrochemicals” and still use cheap synthetic chemicals – detergents, foam boosters, emulsifiers, thickeners, the whole works. They call them natural but they really aren’t. Why not call petrochemicals or gasoline “natural?” They’re “derived from” natural plants and dinosaurs! (It’s been done!) Remember, petrochemicals and oleochemicals aren’t permitted in certified organic foods. They’re synthetic.
CI59040, CI 42090 Coloring Adverse effects: Skin irritation. 42090 is a potential carcinogen. 59040 is an irritant to the mucous membranes of the eyelids, mouth, nose, respiratory tract and genitals; the EU does not allow it in any preparations that come into contact with these areas. 42090 is also known as FD&C blue 1, CI 59040 as D&C green 8; both are synthetic coal tar dyes.
Cocomide DEA: Nitrosamines can form in all cosmetic ingredients containing amines and amino derivatives with nitrogen compounds. When DEA is applied to skin known carcinogens can form. Mostly found in shampoo. Contains nitrosamines that are known carcinogens causing allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. Synthetic nonionic surfactant.
Cocomidopropyl Betaine: Used in shampoo in combination with other surfactants. Synthetic. Causes eyelid dermatitis. Can be contaminated with diethanolamine, which when combined with formaldehyde (released by other ingredients during storage) produces carcinogenic nitrosamines (see polyquaternium 7).
Carbomer 934, 940, 941, 960, 961 C: Used as a thickener and stabilizer in creams, toothpaste, eye makeup and nail care, bathing products. It is a known allergen that has a high acidic PH in 1% water solution. Synthetic emulsifier that can cause eye irritations and should be avoided.
DEA (diethanolamine): A synthetic solvent, detergent and humectant widely used in brake fluid, industrial degreasers and antifreeze. Mostly used in liquid soap, shampoo & conditioner. Can be harmful for the liver, kidneys and pancreas. May cause cancer in various organs. Irritates skin, eyes, mucous membranes. Found also in hair dye, lotions, cream, bubble bath, liquid dishwashing detergent & laundry soap. Health risk especially to infants and young children. Forms nitrosamines known to be carcinogens. Causes allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. Hazardous & toxic.
Dioform: Many tooth pastes and other tooth whiteners contain it. Damages your teeth enamel weakening their protective shell.
Dimethylamine: Secondary amines cause allergic dermatitis. Carcinogenic properties.
Debutyl phthalate (DBP): A toxic chemical in nail polishes, shampoos, conditioners, antiperspirants. Causes severe birth defects in animals. Especially damaging to the maile reproductive system.
Hydantoin DMDM: Used in the synthesis of lubricants and resins, and is derived from methanol. Causes dermatitis. Acts as a preservative and may release formaldehyde and is a suspected carcinogen. Rats develop cancer when injected with this chemical.
FDC-n (FD&C): These are available in various different colors. Some are simply irritants while others are strong carcinogens. Most are coal tar derived, and many scientists feel that adequate safety levels have not been established for each color category.
Fluoride: Hazardous chemical. Researchers linked it to cancer years ago. No one is listening. Fluoridated toothpaste is especially dangerous to young children who tend to swallow it after brushing their teeth. Supposed to stop tooth decay. Scientists are now linking fluoride to dental deformity, arthritis, allergic reactions, can lead to Crohn’s disease. A toxic manufacturing by-product.
Formaldehyde: It is a colorless gas with vapors that are extremely irritating to mucous membranes. Used in nail polish and hardeners, soap, cosmetics and hair growing products. Due to it’s bad name it is sometimes hidden under the name DMDM hydantoin or MDM hydantoin. Its trade-name is Formalin. Released by imidazolidinyl urea. Causes dermatitis, and ingestion can cause severe abdominal pain, internal bleeding, vertigo, coma, and a loss of ability to urinate. It is very toxic when inhaled, a severe skin irritant, and a suspected carcinogen that is linked to cancer. Its use in cosmetics is banned in Japan and Sweden.
Fragrances (Parfum): Can contain up to four thousand ingredients (including animal urine), many toxic or carcinogenic. Causes headaches, dizziness, allergic reactions, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and skin irritation. Fragrances affect the nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope and other behavioral changes
Glyceryl oleate: Emulsifier, Emollient. Adverse effects: Skin allergies; dermatitis
Glycols (group): Used as a humectant (emulsifier/moisturizer), that can be from animal or vegetable, natural or synthetic. In most cases it is used as a cheap glycerine substitute. Propylene glycol did cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage in laboratory animals. Diethylene glycol and carbitol are considered toxic. Ethylene glycol is a suspected bladder carcinogen. The FDA cautions manufacturers that glycols may cause adverse reactions in users. They have been shown to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic.
Imidazolidinyl Urea: After parabens, this is the second most commonly used preservative in cosmetics. It is colorless, tasteless and odorless. Used in powders, baby shampoo, bath oils, colognes, eye shadows, blushes, hair tonics, lotions. Causes dermatitis. If heated to higher temperatures it produces formaldehyde.
Isobutane: Propellants. Adverse effects: Headache; Mood swings; Nausea; vomiting; dizziness; High doses can cause convulsions and coma. These highly flammable volatile organic chemicals accumulate in human breast milk. While isobutane doesn’t destroy the ozone layer, it does contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog, which can cause serious breathing problems.
Isopentane: Solvent. Adverse effects: Breathing difficulties; Has anaesthetic effect on the skin; Dry skin; contact dermatitis, Altered heart rhythms; Dizziness; headaches; Irritating to nose and throat. A major component of gasoline vapour, and a chemical relative of isobutane (see).
Isotridecyl salicylate, Octyl salicylate: UVB filter and antiseptic. Skin irritants; some salicylates have hormone-disrupting potential.
Lauramide DEA: Lauric Acid derived mostly from coconut oil and laurel oil, and used as a base for soaps, detergents, and laurel alcohol because of their foaming properties. Nitrosamines can form in all cosmetic ingredients containing amines and amino derivatives with nitrogen compounds and nitrosamines are known carcinogens.
Methyl Chloroisothiazolinine: Carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic and causes adverse reactions.
Mineral Oil: Petroleum by-product that coats the skin similar to 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.
Octocrylene: UVB filter belonging to the cinnamate family of chemicals. Health effects: Skin irritant; some cinnamates have hormone-disrupting effects; research by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority suggests that weak doses of cinnamates can cause premature death of animal skin cells.
Paba (p-aminobenzoic acid): It is a water-soluble vitamin found in B complex. It is widely used in sunscreen lotions but can cause photo-sensitivity and contact dermatitis and allergic eczema.
Parabens: Trademark for butyl, ethyl, germa, isobutyl, methyl, propyl paraben; butylated hydroxytoulene, tetrasodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol
Causes dermatitis and allergic reactions. These are estrogen mimics that can disrupt the hormonal balance of the body. Parabens have been found in uterine and breast cancer tumors. It is the most common preservative used in a variety of personal care products especially cream & lotion. Petroleum based.
PEG (4-200): Abbreviation for polyethylene glycol, polyoxethylene, polygocol, polyether glycol. A manufacturing by-product. Dangerous levels of the toxin dioxane has been found in this product. Many allergic reactions, as well as hives and eczema are known to occur from these synthetic plant glycols. Peg-14M is considered unsafe to use on damaged skin. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, which are linked to breast cancer.
Polypropylene Terephthalate: Film former. Type of polyester providing a superficial feeling of smoothness to the skin. Adverse effects: carcinogen, linked to pancreatic cancer; contains phthalates: oestrogen mimics linked to breast cancer.
Polyquaternium: Followed by any number. Film forming impression of softness. they are carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic and cause adverse reactions. Induced contact dermatitis, causes fatal drug allergy (anaphylactic shock), may cause increased sensitivity to muscle relaxants. Formaldehyde releaser, thus a potential carcinogen. It may be contaminated with acrylamide, a central nervous system toxin.
Polytetrafluoroethylene: Film former; Friction reducer. Adverse effects: Carcinogenic; Birth defects; Weakens immune system. Also known as Teflon, this chemical belongs to the same family of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) as Scotchguard (now withdrawn from the market for safety reasons) and a range of other fabric treatments such as Stainmaster and Gore-Tex. A recent report by the US pressure group the Environmental Working Group on the PFC perfluorooctanoic acid revealed that it can be found in the blood of some 90 per cent of US citizens. PFCs are indestructible and widespread in the environment, and some observers believe that their effect on humans may make DDT look safe by comparison.
Potassium Hydroxide: Controls alkalis. Health effects: Skin irritation and eye damage.
Propylene Glycol (Dipropylene glycol): It is the most common moisture-carrying vehicle other than water that is used. Found in most shampoo and conditioners, even foodstuffs such as cakes & muffins. Derived from petroleum products. Also used in anti-freeze, de-icer, latex, paint, and laundry detergent. It can cause irritation of nasal and respiratory passages and if ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is documented to cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. Research also shows it is mutagenic, and a contributor to cardiac arrest. Japanese studies show it damages cell DNA (genetic code). Strongly degreases and dries the skin.
PVM/MA copolymer: Plastic-like glue derived from polyvinyl, often found in hair gels and sprays, which sticks the triclosan, and other ingredients, to the teeth and gums. Health effects: Unknown
Saccharin: Artificial sweetener. Health effects: Carcinogenic: linked to bladder cancer in animals.
Triclosan: Antibacterial agent; Reduces plaque. Health effects: Gum damage: causes premature cell death in gum tissues; Allergic reactions; Ulceration. Alters the biodynamic balance of the mouth: kills good and bad bacteria, which could make users more vulnerable to infection
silica (hydrated): Abrasive stain remover. Health effects: Weakens tooth enamel; tooth enamel rebuilds itself daily from ionic calcium and phosphorus in the saliva; regularly scratching the surface of the tooth with harsh abrasives interferes with this process. Gum damage: in rare cases the silica can build up under the gum, causing inflammation. The safety of ingested silica has not been adequately proven, and some observers have linked it with Crohn’s disease, though this connection remains unsubstantiated.
Sodium Fluoride: Strengthens tooth enamel, Antibacterial. Health effects: Fluorosis: spotting, mottling and yellowing of the teeth; especially in children; Osteoporosis: ingested fluoride leeches calcium from the bones; Allergy/hypersensitivity reactions; Poisonous: ingestion can cause salivation, nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain and diarrhea. THERE IS ENOUGH FLUORIDE IN A 100-MILLILITRE TUBE OF FAMILY TOOTHPASTE TO KILL A SMALL CHILD.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Used mainly in shampoo and conditioners. Causes skin irritation and dermatitis. Has ether added and is toxic.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: An ingredient in 90% of commercially available shampoo and conditioner. Corrodes hair follicle and impedes hair growth. Is found in car wash soap, engine degreaser, toothpaste, cream, lotion, and garage floor cleaners. Penetrates your eyes, brain, liver kidneys and remains there for long-term. Degenerates cell membranes and can change the genetic information (mutagenic) in cells and damage the immune system. May cause blindness and lead to cataracts. Eyes cannot heal properly. Retards the eye healing process. Studies also show that these additives react with the ingredients of food supplements or cosmetics, to form carcinogenic nitrates and dioxin. All of this may enter the circulatory system with each shampooing or each oral ingestion. The end result being that these harmful ingredients can be retained in the liver, heart, eyes, kidneys and muscles for several years after being used. It is further reported to cause eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, dandruff and allergic reactions.
Sodium Cyanide: Carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic and causes adverse reactions.
Sodium Hydroxide: This is a poison (caustic lye) found in drain cleaners and tooth paste. The warning label on sodium hydroxide products reads POISON, May be fatal or cause permanent damage if swallowed. May cause blindness. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, mouth and clothing.
Sodium Oleth Sulfate: May contain dangerous levels of ethylene oxide and/or dioxane, both potent toxins.
Sorbitol: Sweetener, tartar control agent, humectant. Health effects: bloating and intestinal cramping in high doses; Laxative. Because of its laxativeeffects, the use of gel toothpastes (which can contain up to 70 percent sorbitol) by small children should be supervised, possibly even discouraged, by parents.
Styrene Monomer: Carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic and causes adverse reactions. May be irritating to the eyes and mucous membranes.
Stearamidopropyl Tetrasodium EDTA: Nitrosamines can form in all cosmetic ingredients containing amines and amino derivatives with nitrogen compounds. Nitrosamines are known carcinogens.
Talc: It is derived in powder form from the mineral magnesium silicate. It can be hazardous to one’s health, and is toxic with prolonged inhalation. Some talc found to contain amphibole particle distribution typical to asbestos, which is cancer causing and a known lung irritant.
Tetrasodium EDTA: Preservative and penetration enhancer, causes: skin irritation, contact dermatitis, contact allergies, eye irritation.
Toluene: Obtained from petroleum, it is used as a solvent in cosmetics, especially nail polish and dyes. It resembles benzene, and if ingested may cause mild anemia, liver damage, irritate the skin and respiratory tract. Also in pharmaceuticals and gasoline as a blending agent.
Triethanolamine (TEA): Can cause severe facial dermatitis, irritation and sensitivity. Used as ph adjuster. Reacts with stearic acid to form oil in water emulsions, typically lotions. May contain nitrosamines, known carcinogens. Its main toxic effect in animals is due to its over-alkalinity. It is used as a coating agent for fruits and vegetables.
Triclosan: Synthetic antibacterial with a chemical structure similar to Agent Orange, is used in antibacterial cleansers, tooth pastes, baby and household products! The EPA registers Triclosan 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. Hormone disruptors 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 the 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. With a half live of 500 years and a toxicity level of one part per trillion (one drop in 300 Olympic sized swimming pools), Triclosan may be a contributory factor to the sterility of future generations.
Ingredients with unknown health effects:
12-15 alkyl benzoate. Purpose: Synthetic moisturizer and preservative
Diethylhexyl butamido triazone: Purpose: UV filter
Polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate: Purpose: Emulsifier holds the mixture of water and oils together.
C18-36 acid glycol ester: Purpose: Synthetic moisturiser.
PVP/ hexadecene copolymer, acrylates/ vinyl isodecanoate crosspolymer: Purpose: Keep the product stuck to the skin and improve water-resistance.
Toxins in Body, Hair and Skin Care Products
The condition of hair and skin is affected by what we eat, what we put on our hair, and our emotions. What we need for hair is the same as what we need for the skin, the outer layer of which is also keratin. If you eat plenty of fresh food, cut down on stimulants–coffee, tea, alcohol–increase your vitamin B, levels, use cold pressed oils, unsaturated fatty acids, and get enough sleep, you’ll be on your way to a glorious head of hair and healthy supple skin.
What chemical cocktails are in today’s hair and skin care products? A main ingredient is Sodium Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate (SLS), and other surfactants–i.e. any names with “lauryl”, “laureth”, “sulfate”, “dea”. If the names are highly chemical how can the product be natural? These chemicals are used because they increase skin permeability roughly 100 times.
These chemical cocktails affects our skin as well as our hair. Many so called “natural” products contain these synthetics. Surfactants strip away vital amino acids from hair and skin protein. Harsh surfactants have a skin roughening potential that increases along with the percentage used, leaving the skin and hair feeling dry and unmanageable, and looking dull and lifeless the more you use them. They rob the skin and hair of what they need.
For example: Lauramide dea, part natural, but also part synthetic, is used to build up a lather. It is drying to hair and can also cause scalp itching and dermatitis. Oleyl betaine is a synthetic used to reduce static. It causes dandruff, dry hair and scalp, and is toxic when absorbed through the skin. Other commonly used “natural” products (really toxins) are Sodium C14-16 and Olefin sulfate, petroleum derivatives used as wetting agents.
More synthetics are: Sodium lauryl sulfate, Sodium cetyl sulfate, and Sodium laureth sulfate, Ammonium lauryl sulfate, and Ammonium laureth sulfate. These are surfactants, used to produce lots of bubbles. These can cause all manner of allergic reactions: hair loss, dry flaky scalp, and/or skin rashes. They often appear under the banner of “natural” products.
Because of the way they are designed to work, surfactant molecules stay on hair and skin long after you think you’ve rinsed them off. As they sit there, they literally strip away fatty acids, moisture and amino acids from your hair and skin. They increase dryness and roughness, and disturb the healthy growth process of new hair and skin. Surfactants inhibit the activity of skin cell enzymes. These side effects reduce the water-binding capacity of skin, and contribute to dysfunctional growth of skin cells. The result can be skin that doesn’t form properly, looks dull and dry, and even chaps and peels. The greater the percentage of surfactant used, the higher potential for irritation. This is alarming knowing that some shampoos, conditioners, bubble bath and body wash contain up to 50% or more. These surfactants are not only in shampoos, conditioners, and body products, but also in toothpaste, shaving cream, laundry detergent, dish soap and many industrial cleaning products as well.
Other Common Toxic Ingredients
DEA, MEA, TEA: These “mouthful” chemicals (diethanolamine, monoethanolamine, and triethanolmine) are hormone-disrupting chemicals known to form nitrates and nitrosamines, often in conjunction with other chemicals present in a product, e.g., cocamide DEA, or lauramind DEA. They are almost always in products that foam; bubble bath, body wash, shampoo, soap, facial cleanser. A Federal government study says that DEA and DEA-based detergents have been shown to greatly increase the risk of cancer, especially liver and kidney cancer.
GLYCOLS (Propylene, ethylene, diethylene) : Found in almost every moisturizer, skin cream, hand and body lotion and many hair conditioning treatments is called “industrial strength anti-freeze.” This dangerous solvent is used to protect machines and heavy equipment from freezing over the winter. It can also be found in brake fluid and other mechanical oils for the same reason. Because of PG’s ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing, and goggles when working with this toxic substance. It’s Material Safety Data Sheet warn against skin contact because PG has systemic consequences, such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. Cosmetic companies use PG to help keep their products emulsified (thoroughly mixed and thick); keep it from freezing or spoiling; or to make the product spread easily. In reality, propylene glycol should not be used in hair or skin care products. It is dangerous. Cosmetic companies do not even have a warning label on products where the concentration is greater than that of most industrial applications.
“Laureth”: Ethoxylated surfactants have been chemically combined with the compound “ethylene oxide”. These ethoxylated surfactants are considered slightly milder because the molecules are larger. The more ethylene oxide you add, the larger the molecule becomes. The idea is to make the molecule large enough so that it won’t irritate the skin or eyes, but this effect is negligible in most cases. The more ethoxylation, the greater the risk of exposure to harmful carcinogens, nitrosamines, and/or 1,4 dioxane. These react with other ingredients in shampoos to form dangerous nitrates. These nitrates are capable of permeating through intact skin each time you shampoo. Products for children and babies usually use highly ethoxylated ingredients. Parents should not permit their babies to sit for periods of time in bubble baths, or use “no tear” baby shampoos. Possibly they are exposing their children to these dangerous elements. We advise that you keep young children away from harsh and highly ethoxylated surfactants.
Mineral oil: a petroleum derivative found in most commercial products. It is the main ingredient in so-called “baby oil.” There is nothing natural in petroleum. It actually coats the skin like plastic wrap, disrupting the skin’s natural immune barrier and inhibiting its ability to breathe and absorb moisture and nutrition. As the body’s largest elimination organ, it is vital that the skin be free to release toxins. Mineral oil impedes this process. Toxins accumulate, which can promote acne and other disorders. It also slows down skin function and normal cell development, resulting in premature aging of the skin. Is it any wonder that every day more cancers and unusual diseases are being found in infants, children and adults?
Parabens (Methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl): Weakly estrogenic. In other words, these preservatives have the ability to mimic estrogen in the body with butylparaben being the most potent. It is estimated that 99 percent of all cosmetic and body care products contain some form of the paraben preservatives. If this is the case, other safe alternatives need to be developed for widespread use in the cosmetics industry. Be a smart shopper and look for paraben-free products. British researchers have found traces of parabens in tissue taken from women with breeast cancer. Some scientists have called for a review of the current paraben use.
Isopropyl & Ethyl Alcohol: A petroleum-derived solvent and denaturant (a poisonous substance that changes another substance’s natural qualities). Alcohol is found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances, and many other cosmetics and personal care products. It is also used in antifreeze. According to “Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients”, ingestion or inhalation of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, and coma. A fatal ingested dose is one ounce.
Year after year many beautifying creams assault the hair and skin with these ingredients and the end result is always the same–wrinkles, dull, dry, putty-like skin. If you really want to preserve your skin’s youthful elasticity, health and vibrance, the first step should be to stop using creams that contain propylene glycol and mineral oil. The most expensive skin preparations in the world contain essential oils and other natural ingredients. But, because the product must be able to endure a long shelf life, they contain chemical preservatives as well. All sorts of chemicals are used in commercial cosmetic preparations and some, such as steroids, cause serious problems. When you put a store-bought product on your face, you really don’t know what effect it will have. Advertising and packaging make these products as expensive as they are; not the quality of the ingredients. The retail markup is at least 200% since the manufacturer as well as the retail outlet need to make their profit.
Some text derived from:
Medical Aromatherapy, Healing With Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt.
Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.
The Practice of Aromatherapy, by Jean Valnet, M.D.