As per the blog regarding the toxic truth about the chemicals lurking in your personal body care products, here is the list of the dirty dozen toxic chemicals in your body care products – and what these toxins are doing to our bodies – and our environment. Scary stuff! One in 8 ingredients in your body care products are made with industrial chemicals…
Please click on the name of each toxin for further resource information from the David Suzuki Foundation – sad, but true, what we have listed below is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the toxicity of these hazardous chemicals….and not only are they still being added to body care products – but they have no consumer warnings!
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Why not take our ‘How Toxic Are You’ Quiz and get your personalised toxic body burden score?
The Dirty Dozen Toxic Chemicals in Body Care Products
Brace yourself. Get to know this list of the dirty dozen chemicals that are toxic, and a hazard, to you and your family’s health.
- DEA-related ingredients – Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Has been shown to cause liver cancers and precancerous changes in skin and thyroid. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified DEA as a possible human carcinogen.
- BHA and BHT – BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are closely related and are used as preservatives in lipsticks, moisturizers and other cosmetics. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed BHA as a Category 1 priority substance, based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function and mimics estrogen on top of other hormone issues. Long-term exposure to high doses of BHT is toxic in mice and rats, causing liver, thyroid and kidney problems and affecting lung function and blood coagulation.
- Coal tar dyes – p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number. Look for p-phenylenediamine in hair dyes and as colours in other products (listed as “CI” followed by five digits). In the U.S. colours may be listed as “FD&C Blue No. 1″ or “Blue 1″. Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals including aaluminium which are toxic to the brain.
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives – Look for diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. They slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which is a known cause of cancer.
- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) – Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products to keep the product from going brittle, also used in fragrances (perfume). This is a good one…Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets, so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients! Also used in PVC plastics to make it malleable. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant.bIn laboratory experiments, it has been shown to cause developmental defects.
- Parabens – Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives and in perfume. This is another ‘trade secret’ in regards to fragrances, so you will not see this listed on the label(!). Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
- PEG compounds (polyethylene glycol) – Found in many cosmetic cream bases, also as a solvent (make-up remover) and thickener. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also look out for the related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen.
- Parfum (a.k.a fragrance) – A concoction of a multitude of different (and toxic) ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented”. Up to 3,000 chemicals, in fact are used. Unnamed. Used in fabric softeners and detergents as well. Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma and migraines. Some are linked to cancer and neurotoxicity, although many have not been tested for toxity to begin with.
- Petrolatum (a.k.a petroleum jelly) – As in Vaseline and similar products. It is also used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. Petroleum products can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which may cause cancer. Studies suggest that exposure to PAHs — including skin contact over extended periods of time — is associated with cancer. On this basis, the European Union classifies petrolatum as a carcinogen.
- Siloxanes (cyclotetrasiloxane and cylcopentasiloxane) – Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone”. Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane).
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) – Used in foaming cosmetics such as shampoos, facial gels, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer and also affect the nervous system. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
- Triclosan – Used in antibacterial gels and handwashes – as well as on cutting boards (and many other places), antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. In September 2016 the FDA ruled that triclosan and other antibacterial agents show no evidence in being effective in combating harmful bacteria (germs) – nor evidence that they are safe (although it’s been on the market for over 40 years…) and that it needs to be removed from commercial antibacterial soap and handwashes – yet for some reason not sanitizing gels, as well as use in wipes. Canada has banned it. Tricolsan is suspected of interfering with hormone function (endocrine disruption). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detected Triclosan in the urine of nearly 75 per cent of those tested (2,517 people ages six years and older)
Be Smart. Be Savvy. Educate Yourself. Say No to Toxic Chemicals!
Make Your Own!
Buying organic/eco-friendly body care products can be expensive! Why not try making them yourself? There’s tons of recipes online to choose from! You might even surprise yourself and find that they not only work great but they are also a fraction of the price, too.
Or why not try the gorgeous, lemon scented foaming liquid soap recipe I make? It takes 30 seconds (seriously), costs pennies, smells fresh and clean and makes your hands ever so soft, too!
Now that you know the dirty dozen list of toxic chemicals in body care products, be prepared to find very few products not containing them in your average shop. It does take a concerted effort to find products that meet the mark regarding being non-toxic, let alone organic and ‘safe’. But they are out there! Amazon is a great place to look for alternatives.