Tag Archives: Skin Deep

IN LIEU OF DIET SNAPPLE

Updated 7/20/2015. See info on Truvia at end of OTHER ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS section.

 

 

(Source: www.snapple.com)
(Source: www.snapple.com)

 

This post was prompted by a colleague who arrived on a hot summer day carrying a bottle of Diet Snapple sweetened with aspartame. Since I knew he’d battled cancer twice and is health conscious, I was surprised and sent him some information on aspartame that evening.
The next day he wrote to ask if there are any safe sweeteners since he’s trying to keep his weight down and avoiding sugar.
This is for him.

 

(Source: thesweatshed.com)
(Source: thesweatshed.com)

 

ASPARTAME

This is what Dr Robert Mercola says about the dangers of aspartame:

How Aspartame Can Wreak Havoc with Your Health

“Aspartame is primarily made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness. That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol.You may have heard the claim that aspartame is harmless because methanol is also found in fruits and vegetables. However, in fruits and vegetables, the methanol is firmly bonded to pectin, allowing it to be safely passed through your digestive tract. Not so with the methanol created by aspartame; there it’s not bonded to anything that can help eliminate it from your body. That’s problem number one.
“Problem number two relates to the fact that humans are the only mammals who are NOT equipped with a protective biological mechanism that breaks down methanol into harmless formic acid. This is why animal testing of aspartame does not fully apply to humans. According to Dr. Woody Monte, a toxicology expert and professor emeritus at Arizona State University in food and chemistry:
‘There is a major biochemical problem here. Methyl alcohol is known now, and has been known since 1940, to be metabolized differently by humans from every other animal.’
“As explained by Dr. Monte, in humans, the methanol ends up acting as a Trojan horse, and here’s how. Both animals and humans have small structures called peroxisomes in each cell. There are a couple of hundred in every cell of your body, which are designed to detoxify a variety of chemicals. Peroxisome contains catalase, which help detoxify methanol. Other chemicals in the peroxisome convert the formaldehyde to formic acid, which is harmless, but, again, this last step occurs only in animals. Human peroxisomes cannot convert the toxic formaldehyde into harmless formic acid.
“So to recap: in humans, the methyl alcohol travels through your blood vessels into sensitive areas, such as your brain, that are loaded with ADH, which converts methanol to formaldehyde. And since there’s no catalase present, the formaldehyde is free to cause enormous damage in your tissues. Symptoms from methanol poisoning are many, and include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis.
“The most well known problems from methanol poisoning are vision problems including misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields, blurring of vision, obscuration of vision, retinal damage, and blindness. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication and may cause birth defects. Not surprisingly, the most comprehensive and longest human study looking at aspartame toxicity found a clear association between aspartame consumption and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and leukemia.”
– Mercola, 2015

 

 

(Source: eluxemagazine.com)
(Source: eluxemagazine.com)

 

 

In 1991, Doctor of Nutrition Janet Starr Hull was diagnosed with severe Grave’s Disease, a serious autoimmune disorder characterized by an overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Her doctors began treating her for this but she didn’t get well until she detoxed herself from aspartame, which was poisoning her – in her case, mimicking the symptoms of Graves Disease. She created an Aspartame Detox Program to heal herself and now teaches it to others.

 

(Source: medlicker.com)
(Source: medlicker.com)

 

551 people who reported toxicity effects from aspartame ingestion were surveyed in an epidemiological survey. The results were reported in the Journal of Applied Nutrition in 1988. Both acute and chronic toxicity effects from aspartame were covered.
This is a list of aspartame’s adverse health effects identified by the participants in this survey (FDA, 2003):

 

SYMPTOM                                                                                      # OF PEOPLE            %

EYE
– Decreased vision and/or other eye problems                   140                          25%
(blurring,  bright flashes, tunnel vision)
– Pain (or or both eyes)                                                                     51                            9%
– Decreased tears, trouble with contact lens,                         46                            8%
or both
– Blindness (one or both eyes)                                                      14                            3%

EAR
– Tinnitus (ringing, buzzing)                                                           13                          13%
– Severe intolerance for noise                                                       47                            9%
– Marked impairment of hearing                                                  25                            5%

NEUROLOGIC
– Headaches                                                                                        249                          45%
– Dizziness, unsteadiness, or both                                             217                          39%
– Confusion, memory loss, or both                                            157                          29%
– Severe drowsiness and sleepiness                                            93                          17%
– Paresthesias (pins and needles, tingling)                               82                          15%
or numbness of the limbs
– Convulsions (grand mal epileptic attacks)                             80                          15%
– Petit mal attacks and “absences”                                              18                             3%
– Severe slurring of speech                                                               64                           12%
– Severe tremors                                                                                   51                             9%
– Severe hyperactivity and restless legs                                     43                              8%
– Atypical facial pain                                                                           38                              7%

PSYCHOLOGICAL/PSYCHIATRIC
– Severe depression                                                                          139                            25%
– Extreme irritability                                                                         125                            23%
– Severe anxiety attacks                                                                 105                            19%
– Marked personality changes                                                        88                            16%
– Recent severe insomnia                                                                 76                            14%
– Severe aggravation of phobias                                                    41                              7%

CHEST
– Palpitations, tachycardia (rapid heart action),                     88                            16%
or both
– Shortness of breath                                                                          54                             10%
– Atypical chest pain                                                                            44                               8%
– Recent hypertension (high blood pressure)                           34                               6%

GASTROINTESTINAL
– Nausea                                                                                                   79                             14%
– Diarrhea                                                                                                 70                             13%
Associated gross blood in the stools                                      (12)
– Abdominal pain                                                                                  70                             13%
– Pain on swallowing                                                                           28                                5%

SKIN AND ALLERGIES
– Severe itching without a rash                                                       44                                8%
– Severe lip and mouth reactions                                                   29                                5%
– Urticaria (hives)                                                                                  25                                 5%
– Other eruptions                                                                                  48                                 9%
– Aggravation of respiratory allergies                                          10                                  2%

ENDOCRINE AND METABOLIC
– Problems with diabetes:  loss of control;                                 60                               11%
precipitation of clinical diabetes;
aggravation or simulation of diabetic
complications
– Menstrual changes                                                                            45                                  6%
Severe reduction or cessation of periods                                 (22)
– Paradoxic weight gain                                                                      34                                  5%
– Marked weight loss                                                                            26                                  6%
– Marked thinning or loss of the hair                                             32                                  6%
– Aggravated hypoglycemia (low blood sugar                           25                                  5%
attacks)

OTHER
– Frequency of voiding (day and night), burning                     69                                 13%
on urination (dysuria), or both
– Excessive thirst                                                                                    65                                 12%
– Severe joint pains                                                                               58                                 11%
– Bloating                                                                                                  57                                 10%
– Fluid retention and leg swelling                                                   20                                   4%
– Increased susceptibility to infection                                             7                                   1%

 

Aspartame may also trigger, mimic, cause , or worsen the following illnesses (FDA, 2003) (Hull, 2003):
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Arthritis (including Rheumatoid)
  • Birth defects
  • Brain tumors
  • Chemical Sensitivities
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • EMS (Eosinophilia–myalgia Syndrome)
  • Epilepsy
  • Epstein-Barr
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Grave’s Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lupus
  • Lyme Disease
  • Lymphoma
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings
  • non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-Polio Syndrome
“These are not allergies or sensitivities, but diseases and disease syndromes. Aspartame poisoning is commonly misdiagnosed because aspartame symptoms mock textbook ‘disease’ symptoms, such as Grave’s Disease.
“Aspartame dissolves into solution and can therefore travel throughout the body and deposit within any tissue. The body digests aspartame unlike saccharin, which does not break down within humans.
“The multitude of aspartame side effects are indicative to your genetic individuality and physical weaknesses. It is important to put two and two together, nonetheless, and identify which side effects aspartame is creating within you.” ( Hull, 2002)
(Source: crossfitiota.com)
(Source: crossfitiota.com)

 

“Frequently, aspartame toxicity is misdiagnosed as a specific disease. This has yet to be reported in the scientific literature, yet it has been reported countless times to independent organizations and scientists….  In other cases, it has been reported that chronic aspartame ingestion has triggered or worsened certain chronic illnesses.  Nearly 100% of the time, the patient and physician assume that these worsening conditions are simply a normal progression of the illness.  Sometimes that may be the case, but many times it is chronic aspartame poisoning.” (FDA, 2003)

 

 

(Source: peoplecleaner.com)
(Source: peoplecleaner.com)

 

“There  have  been well over  7,000  aspartame  toxicity  reactions  officially received  by  the  U.S. Food  and Drug  Administration  between  1982  (after aspartame was first approved) until 1995. From this figure, we can estimate the number of actual toxicity reactions observed. (FDA, 2003)

 

(Source: www.killercoke.org)
(Source: www.killercoke.org)
Dr Betty Martini, is a physician who learned about the toxicity of aspartame and founded Mission Possible World Health International, a volunteer organization working with doctors around the world committed to removing aspartame from all foods, drinks, and medicines.
Martini points out that 75% of all product complaints received by the FDA  are about aspartame, considerably more than for any other additive. Recently the EPA declared aspartame to be a potentially dangerous chemical.
Martini says NutraSweet (a brand of aspartame) is a “deadly neurotoxic drug masquerading as an additive. It interacts with all antidepressants, L-dopa, Coumadin, hormones, insulin, all cardiac medication, and many others. It also is a chemical hyper sensitization drug so that it interacts with vaccines, other toxins, other unsafe sweeteners like Splenda which has a chlorinated base like DDT and can cause auto immune disease. It has a synergistic and additive effect with MSG…. The FDA has known this for a quarter of a century and done nothing even though it’s against the law.” (Genet, 2011)

 

 Check this out!
ISource: www.healthyandnaturallife.com)
ISource: www.healthyandnaturallife.com)

 

 

 

 

 

DONALD RUMSFELD AND ASPARTAME

 

(Source: solsticewitch13.blogspot.com)
(Source: solsticewitch13.blogspot.com)

 

Yes indeed, that Donald Rumsfeld – the one who, as George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, promoted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s also known for the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuses scandal and what were termed “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
So what’s his connection to aspartame?
In 1985, G.D. Searle, the pharmaceutic company holding the patent for aspartame, was purchased by Monsanto. Fifteen years earlier, in 1980, an FDA Board of Inquiry, made up of three independent scientists, confirmed a connection between aspartame and brain tumors. The FDA had previously banned aspartame based on this finding.
Rumsfeld was Searle’s President at the time of the company’s 1985 sale to Monsanto. He promised to “call in his markers” to get aspartame approved – and he did just that.
(Source: www.geoengineeringwatch.org)
(Source: www.geoengineeringwatch.org)
In 1985, Searle was absorbed by Monsanto (the giant chemical company that’s brought us genetically modified crops containing the pesticide Glyphosate  – among other dangerous chemical products like PCB’s, dioxin, and Agent Orange – and now bills itself as a “sustainable agriculture” company).
Rumsfeld served first as CEO and then as President of Searle from 1977 to 1985. During his tenure there, he reduced the number of Searle employees by 60%, thereby creating a large spike in the company’s bottom-line profits. This maneuver earned him two awards as Outstanding CEO in the Pharmaceutical Industry – from The Wall Street Transcript in 1980 and from Financial World Magazine in 1981. He also played an instrumental role in Monsanto’s acquisition of Searle, for which he was rewarded with a large bonus, reportedly $12 mllion.
See Donald Rumsfeld and the Strange History of Aspartame if you’re interested in learning how Rumsfeld called in his markers to get the FDA’s approval of aspartame. (Genet, 2011)

 

 

 Bayer’s Flinstone’s Children’s Vitamins

(Source: seattleorganicrestaurants.com)
(Source: seattleorganicrestaurants.com)

 

 

Aspartame is found in over 6,000 products under brand names such as Equal and NutraSweet. Products containing aspartame include carbonated soft drinks, powdered soft drinks, chewing gum, confections, gelatins, dessert mixes, puddings and fillings, frozen desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, vitamins, sugar-free cough drops, and some pharmaceuticals.
For a more complete list of products containing aspartame, see the Calorie Control Council’s Aspartame Information Center.
Currently, aspartame is consumed by over 200 million people around the world.   (Calorie Control Council, 2015)

 

 

 

OTHER ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

 

(Source: www.eckraus.com)
(Source: www.eckraus.com)
Say you decide to avoid products containing aspartame and think maybe other artificial sweeteners are the way to go – there are problems with this plan too.
Here’s Dr Mercola on artificial sweeteners:
“For the last 17 years, I’ve warned that artificial sweeteners can wreck your health. Aspartame is among the worst of the bunch, and in general, people who consume aspartame tend to be in poorer health. They also tend to develop more of a sweet tooth.
“I found the evidence against artificial sweeteners to be so compelling, and the hazards so disconcerting, I wrote an entire book on the subject called Sweet Deception, published in 2006. Now, years later, the research I presented in that book has been confirmed many times over, and the tide is finally beginning to turn against this toxic food additive.” (Mercola, 2014)
As Mercola, along with many other respected health authorities, make clear, consuming artificial sweeteners is actually associated with WEIGHT GAIN.
“The connection between sweet taste alone and increased hunger can be found in the medical literature going back at least two decades…. two studies, for example, dating back to the late 80s and early 90s, both showed this link between artificial sweeteners and increased hunger.” (Mercola, 2014)
One of the largest studies of its kind followed nearly 60,000 post-menopausal women for about 10 years. The study found that drinking only two diet drinks a day dramatically increased the participants’ risk of an early death from heart disease. The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington, DC in 2014.
“The fact that low- or no-calorie sweeteners do as much harm (or more!) than sugar, on the other hand, has seemed, and still seems, counterintuitive to many.” (Mercola, 2014)

 

(Source: naturallysavvy.com)
(Source: naturallysavvy.com)

 

 

 

 

 7/20/2015
This just came to my attention:

Truvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, and Contains Hardly Any Stevia

The take away seems to be: To preserve or restore your health, stay away from processed food products.
How about getting a non-GMO stevia plant or seeds to use a leaf or two for sweetening your tea – or make your own organic stevia extract?

 

Make-Your-Own-Stevia-Extract-H

 

 

 

 

YOU NEED TO STAY HYDRATED – SO WHAT’S GOOD TO DRINK?

I certainly don’t have complete answers to this excellent question. This is what I’ve been drinking lately:

 

KEFIR (organic and full fat if possible) mixed with filtered water

17077001328

Provides good probiotics because it’s fermented. I’ve even more than once accidentally left a cup of kefir out overnight and found it even tastier (more tang) than the day before. It’s a living food so continues fermenting, producing more probiotics, at room temp. Get the plain (unsweetened) kind. If you don’t like the tartness, add some pureed organic fruits. See KEFIR for more information. Kefir is a living culture so look for it in one of the refrigerated sections at grocery stores, perhaps near the yogurts.

 

 

KEVITA mixed with filtered water

KeVita-landscape

Kevita makes these sparkling probiotic drinks in a variety of flavors. All the ones I’ve tried are delicious, almost completely organic, sweetened only with a bit of organic stevia, and vegan. I’m particularly fond of the flavors with  coconut in them. See the Kevita site for more information, including stores that carry their drinks. Kevita is also alive so it’s sold from a refrigerated section at grocery stores carrying it.

 

 

HARMLESS HARVEST 100% RAW COCONUT WATER – usually mixed with filtered water

imgres-2

Coconut water is better at restoring electrolytes than Gatorade and doesn’t contain any of those nasty FDA approved (GRAS: “generally accepted as safe”) food colors or additives which turn out to be harmful. And raw coconut water tastes the very best. Raw coconut water needs to be kept cold so look for it in a refrigerated section at grocery stores carrying it.

 

 

ORGANIC ROOIBOS TEA – brewed at home

TWN008_Xl

Rooibos is caffeine free and naturally sweet tasting. Good with some organic unsweetened almond milk in it.

 

ORGANIC LICORICE TEA – brewed at home

270092-yogi-tea-organic-licorice

Also naturally sweet tasting.

 

 

PLAIN FILTERED WATER

water-filter-running

A few years ago, I had a 3M Aqua Pure water filter installed under my kitchen sink so there’s always tasty filtered water at hand for drinking at home or taking with me. The filtered water is dispensed via a tap with a lever next to the regular taps for the sink. Much easier than lugging bottles of water home from the store and safer for the planet too. These are the filter cartridges the 3M Aqua Pure water filter uses. I change the cartridge twice a year.

 

The above are what I’ve figured out for me. It would be great if you’d be willing to share info about your own favorite healthy drinks.

 

 

 

(Source: archive.indianexpress.com)
(Source: archive.indianexpress.com)
Something I’ve noticed since cleaning up my diet is that my craving for sweetened drinks in general has gone way down. Every once in a while I’ll stir a little organic honey into some hot tea and that’s become about it.

 

(Source: cautioncrossfit.com)
(Source: cautioncrossfit.com)

 

 

 

 

MORE ON DIET SNAPPLE

Back to where we started, with Diet Snapple:

 

SNAPPLE_DIET_PEACH_TEA_16

Snapple Diet Peach Tea

Smooth Snapple tea, perfect peach flavor. You won’t believe this peach of a tea could have this much taste and still be called diet.

NUTRITION FACTS FOR 16FL OZ :
CALORIES 10
TOTAL FAT 0 G 0%DV
SODIUM 15 MG 1%DV
TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES 1 G 0%DV
PROTEIN 0 G
INGREDIENTS:

FILTERED WATER, CITRIC ACID, TEA, ASPARTAME, POTASSIUM CITRATE, NATURAL FLAVORS, MALIC ACID

Not listed on the label (because our FDA doesn’t require such labeling) are pesticides since the tea leaves and fruits Snapple uses are made from genetically modified sources. You can be sure they’d put “Non-GMO” or ‘Organic” prominently on the label if they were using healthier ingredients.
And who knows what falls under the umbrella of “natural flavors”?
“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.” (FDA, 2015)
I learned years ago from my father, who was an enzyme chemist working in research and development in the processed food industry, that ground up cochineal insects are used to make foods red, orange, and pink.
They’re natural.

 

(Source: www.931freshradio.ca)
(Source: www.931freshradio.ca)

 

You’re eating cochineal (sometimes called carmine) when you consume commercial brands of raspberry yogurt, maraschino cherries, Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino, and hundreds of other food products. It’s also used in numerous cosmetics, including lipsticks.

 

 

 

 

CHOOSING HEALTHIER FOOD PRODUCTS WITH HELP FROM THE EWG

 

2014FoodScores_C01
You can check out the nutrition, ingredients, and processing ratings of over 80,000 processed food products on the Food Scores section of the Environmental Working Group’s site. This is their health rating for Snapple Diet Peach Tea. They give it a 5 on their 1-10 rating scale. (EWG, 2015-C)
Lower scores indicate better foods. Product scores take into consideration nutrition, ingredients, and processing concerns. Ingredients are assessed for presence of pesticides, food additives, contaminants, and antibiotics. Since it’s known that whole foods are healthiest, EWG’s ratings help you choose less processed options.
“Nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues – a surprising finding in the face of soaring consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals.” (EWG, 2015-A)
The EWG has a nifty free Food Scores app you can download to smart phones and iPads. (EWG, 2015-A)
They also have another useful free app for getting ratings of cosmetics and other personal care products:
SKIN DEEP
The EWG’s Skin Deep database rates over 69,000 cosmetics and other personal care products. You can use it to check out the ingredient safety score of known and suspected health and environmental hazards for each product. (EWG, 2015-B)

 

screen568x568

 

These  EWG mobile apps  contain barcode scanners so you can check the EWG’s score for products you’re thinking of buying. Very useful when you’re out shopping – or if you want to check products you’re already using at home.   (EWG, 2015-A & 2015-B)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Calorie Control Council. (2015). Aspartame Information Center.  See: http://www.aspartame.org/about/consumer-products/

Environmental Working Group. (2015-A). Food Scores. See: http://www.ewg.org/foodscores

Environmental Working Group. (2015-B). Skin Deep. See: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/app/

Environmental Working Group. (2015-C). Snapple Diet Peach Tea. See: http://www.ewg.org/foodscores/products/076183163573-SnappleDietPeachTea

FDA. (2003). Letter from Mark Gold to the FDA: Recall Aspartame as a Neurotoxic Drug: Reported Aspartame Toxicity Reactions. See: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/jan03/012203/02p-0317_emc-000199.txt

FDA. (2015). What is the meaning of ‘natural’ on the label of food? See: http://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/transparency/basics/ucm214868.htm

Genet, R. (2011). Donald Rumsfeld and the Strange History of Aspartame. Huffington Post. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robbie-gennet/donald-rumsfeld-and-the-s_b_805581.html

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Kefir. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

HealthFreedoms.org. (2015). Truvia’s Sweet Scam: Highly Processed, GMO, and Contains Hardly Any Stevia. See: http://www.healthfreedoms.org/truvias-sweet-scam-highly-processed-gmo-and-contains-hardly-any-stevia/

Hull, J.S. (2002). Aspartame Side Effects. See: http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.html

Kevita. (2015). See: http://kevita.com/

Mercola, R. (2014). Some info on aspartame from – The Aspartame End Game … And What’s Next. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/16/aspartame-diet-soda.aspx

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System

 

 

TOP triclosan toothpaste

 

Take a look at the ingredients in your toothpaste. Is triclosan on the list? If so, switching brands would be a good idea.

 

Some products containing triclosan. (Source. www.achildgrows.com)
Some products containing triclosan. (Source. www.achildgrows.com)

 

Triclosan is the active ingredient in many widely used antibacterial products. You probably used some – or many – of them in your own home. These products claim to kill “99.9% of germs” as if that were a good thing … and triclosan is the killer.

 

(Source:  www.greenlivingonline.com)
(Source: www.greenlivingonline.com)

 

 

TRICLOSAN: A PROBLEMATIC CHEMICAL WITH ADVERSE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS  (Francis, 2014), (Kaplan, 2014), (Mercola, 2014)

Triclosan is a synthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent present in a wide variety of consumer products: toothpastes, liquid soaps, dish washing liquids, mouth washes, face washes, hand sanitizers, surgical cleaning scrubs, shaving gels, deodorants, detergents, textiles, socks, workout clothes, toys, plastic kitchenware, cutting boards, school supplies – and many more.
Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide in 1969 and is now widely used as an antimicrobial. Do you want to brush your teeth with pesticide? For that matter, do you think it’s wise to kill 99% of the useful bacterial in your mouth daily?

 

 

(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
The label on Colgate toothpastes lists the amount of triclosan in its products as only 0.30% – which may seem very small. But because triclosan is extremely powerful at killing bacteria and other microbes, this negligible amount makes the chemical a powerfully active ingredient.
Aside from killing 99% of our useful microbes along with the harmful ones, triclosan also reacts with water to form chloroform, a possible carcinogen, and with sunlight to form dioxins, known endocrine disruptors. (Angkadjaja, 2012)

 

 

(Source: www.cela.ca)
(Source: www.cela.ca)
Triclosan’s chemical structure is similar to thyroid hormones and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs – toxic chemicals now banned in the US but still found in the environment). This similarity allows it to attach to thyroid hormone receptors, altering hormone regulation and possibly interfering with fetal development. Scientists have noted an increased cancer risk from triclosan exposure. And bacteria exposed to triclosan are apt to become resistant to antibiotics.

 

 

(Source: thehealthykey.com)
(Source: thehealthykey.com)

 

The US Food and Drug Administration acknowledges that recent research raises “valid concerns” about the safety of triclosan, which is used so widely in products that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports it is found in the urine of 75% of the population.
Triclosan:
  • Is found in the blood, urine and breast milk of the average person.
  • Is a known hormone disrupter.
  • Is a culprit in creating superbugs, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
  • Weakens the heart muscle, impairing contractions and reducing heart function.
  • Weakens skeletal muscles, reducing grip strength
  • Washes into your sewage systems  and pollutes water bodies
On top of all this, ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP OFFERS NO PROVEN BENEFIT OVER REGULAR SOAP!

 

 

 

url

images

A joint project of Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides has created a FACT SHEET on the dangers of triclosan. It contains a summary of nearly 60 studies into the chemical’s impact on health. From the FACT SHEET:

A growing list of household and personal care products are advertised as “antibacterial” because they contain a chemical called triclosan. While the manufacturers of these products want you to think triclosan protects you from harmful bacteria, it turns out it may be doing more harm than good.

See  Triclosan: What the Research Shows  (Food & Water Watch and Beyond Pesticides, undated)

 

The proliferation of triclosan in everyday consumer products is enormous. It is now found in our drinking water, in our rivers, in our bodies. Several other countries, including the members of the European Union, have banned or restricted use of the chemical. Yet we in the US continue to consume and be exposed to an onslaught of triclosan. (Layton, 2010)

 

 

(Source: ww.beyondpesticides.org)
(Source: ww.beyondpesticides.org)
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s name for triclosan is 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol. Triclosan is similar in its uses and mechanism of action to triclocarbon, another dangerous antibacterial chemical used in personal care products. Brand names include Digiclean, Asepso, Prevens, Virx, Derma-Glove, FresHands and Renewal. (Wikipedia, 8/24/2014)

 

 

(Source:  www.medicalnewspk.com)
(Source: www.medicalnewspk.com)

 

 

 

 

HOW TRICLOSAN WORKS

The cells of all organisms, including bacteria, require a cell membrane to survive. The cell membrane is a critical barrier that selectively allows oxygen, nutrients, and wastes to permeate and leave the cell; it is the “edge of life, the boundary that separates the living cell from its nonliving surroundings”. Without a permeable cell membrane, a cell would simply die. For example, wastes would not be transported out of the cell, causing toxins to accumulate and poison the cell. Curiously, it is precisely this function of the cell membrane that Triclosan is engineered to immobilize….

Triclosan stops the fatty acid elongation process by inhibiting a bacterial enzyme. … By stealing active sites from the natural substrate, Triclosan systematically kills bacteria by stopping fatty acid chain growth. This, in turn, stops the growth of the cell membrane and effectively kills the cell. The process is efficient, insidious and almost perfect, and when given the opportunity, Triclosan is extremely successful.

–  S. Angkadjaja, 2012. What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial? Illumin: A review of engineering in everyday life

 

 

breastfeeding-3

 

 

 

 

Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste Cinnamon
Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste – Cinnamon

TRICLOSAN-FREE TOOTHPASTES

 Here are some of the triclosan-free toothpastes on the market:
  • Redmond Trading Company’s Earthpaste Amazingly Natural Toothpaste – Cinnamon
  •  Doterra Toothpaste
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Sensodyne
  • Jason’s Natural Toothpaste
  • Nature’s Gate
  • Desert Essence
  • Crest Toothpastes
  • Waleda

 

Some of these brands contain fluoride and other chemicals of concern. For example, here’s Environmental Working Group’s SKIN DEEP’s analysis of Sensodyne Original Flavor Toothpaste:
 At least it doesn’t contain triclosan.

 

 

active-ingredients-e1377624937238

Check the ingredients list on your own toothpaste. Triclosan is listed under Active Ingredients.
I personally also avoid toothpastes containing fluoride, which is a toxin – and the reason why fluoride-containing toothpastes come with a warning not to swallow  it – as on the label above.

 

 

 

 

MANY BACTERIA ARE GOOD FOR US

There is much evidence showing that bacteria are not all dangerous and should not be killed willy nilly. Many strains of  bacteria are in fact necessary for our health. The modern world has developed an unhealthy phobia against germs of all kinds.
Remember the Human Microbiome?  A large part of it resides in our gastro-intestinal tracts. So much so that the Gut Microbiome is often referred to as our second genome. Our guts are home to several pounds of microbes responsible for keeping our immune systems strong so we can have healthy bodies and minds.
In addition to the gut microbiome, the human body also is home to other important microbiomes: On our skin; in our mouths, urogenital tracts, nasal cavities.

 

 

Human Microbiomes
Human Microbiomes

 

In fact, bacteria and other micro-organisms living in and on the human body outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1! And this is a good thing. Without these microbes, our health – perhaps our very existence – would be in serious jeopardy.

 

 

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A nice little animated video from NPR called The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome  (5:28).
The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome - NPR
The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome – NPR

 

 

THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS

The Hygiene Hypothesis states that overly sanitizing our skins and environments is actually doing much harm and is responsible for the steep rise in auto-immune diseases, asthma, eczema and other health problems.
Michael Pollan states it well in his New York Times Magazine article“Some of My Best Friends Are Germs “ – which I highly recommend reading:

Human health should now “be thought of as a collective property of the human-associated microbiota”  ….

Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut. (Pollan, 2013)

(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)
The Hygiene Hypothesis: Our modern obsession with cleanliness is making us and our environment sick. (Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)

 

My recommendation is to be alarmed rather than reassured by products that promise to kill 99.9% of germs. Using these products will deprive you of many microbes necessary for your health – and the health of our planet too.

 

 

THE RIGHT WAY TO WASH YOUR HANDS

In 2005 an advisory panel told the Federal Drug Administration there was no evidence that antibacterial soaps work better than regular soap and water. (Layton, 2010)

 

hand-washing-technique

 

Remember washing your hands with regular soap and warm water before antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers hit the market? Turns out using regular soap and water is actually the best way to protect your health and prevent the spread of infections and communicable illnesses. In case you’ve forgotten how to do it:
  • Wet your hands with warm water.
  • Lather up with regular soap.
  • Rub soapy hands together for at least 15 seconds before rinsing.
  • Dry hands before turning off the faucet.
  • Use a paper towel to turn off the water to avoid germs on the faucet.

 

 

 

 

CHECK FOR TRICLOSAN IN OTHER PRODUCTS

You might also want to check for triclosan in the ingredients list of your other personal care and household cleaning products. It’s bad stuff.
Some of the many products containing triclosan:

 

(Source: drsohm.tumblr.com)
(Source: drsohm.tumblr.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source:  www.redicecreations.com)
(Source: www.redicecreations.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Source:  healthverdict.com)
(Source: healthverdict.com)

 

 

THE EWG’S SKIN DEEP WEBSITE AND MOBILE APP

The Environmental Working Group has collected safety data on over 69,000 products. You can either go to their SKIN DEEP website or use their mobile app.

 

Information from EWG's SKIN DEEP project
Sample information from EWG’s SKIN DEEP project’s mobile app that lets you obtain hazard on over 69,000 personal care products by typing in the product’s name or scanning its barcode with a smart phone

 

Why the EWG established the SKIN DEEP project:

The American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though just about everyone is exposed to them. Through Skin Deep, we put the power of information in consumers’ hands. When you know what’s in the products you bring into your home and how those chemicals may affect your health and the environment, you can make informed purchasing decisions — and help transform the marketplace. At the same time, we advocate responsible corporate and governmental policies to protect the most vulnerable among us.

 

What SKIN DEEP says about triclosan and triclocarban on their website:

Triclosan & Triclocarban: Antimicrobial pesticides in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban), very toxic to the aquatic environment. Often found as contaminants in people due to widespread use of antimicrobial cleaning products. Triclosan disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones. American Medical Association and the American Academy of Microbiology say that soap and water serves just as well to prevent spread of infections and reduce bacteria on the skin. Overuse may promote the development of bacterial resistance.

 

 

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REFERENCES

Angkadjaja, S. (2012). What Makes Antibacterial Soap Antibacterial?  Illumin: A review of engineering in everyday life. See:  http://illumin.usc.edu/printer/68/what-makes-antibacterial-soap-antibacterial/

Food & Water Watch + Beyond Pesticides. (undated). Triclosan: What the Research Shows. See:  http://www.beyondpesticides.org/antibacterial/triclosan-research-3-09.pdf

Francis, I. (2014). Why you should be worried about the chemical ‘Triclosan’ that’s in your toothpaste.  See:   http://www.thealternative.in/lifestyle/worried-chemical-triclosan-thats-toothpaste/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). The Gut Microbiome – Our Second Genome. AllergiesAndYourCut.com. See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/the-gut-microbiome-our-second-genome/

Kaplan, D. (2014). FDA says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns. See:  http://www.healthfreedoms.org/fda-says-studies-on-triclosan-used-in-sanitizers-and-soaps-raise-concerns/

Layton, L. (2010). FDA says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns. The Washington Post. See:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/07/AR2010040704621.html

Mercola, R. (2014). Best-Selling Toothpaste Contains Endocrine-Disrupting Chemical. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/27/triclosan-toothpaste.aspx?e_cid=20140827Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20140827Z1&et_cid=DM54542&et_rid=636597549

NPR. (2013). The Invisible Universe Of The Human Microbiome. Video (5:28). See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTrENdWvvM

Pollan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013.  See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?_r=0

Wikipedia. (8/24/2014). Triclosan.  See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triclosan

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Environmental Working Group’s Top 10 Tips for Safer Cosmetics

 

 

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After receiving a handy wallet-sized card called QUICK TIPS FOR SAFER COSMETICS: A GUIDE TO NAVIGATING PERSONAL CARE PRODUCT LABELS, from the Environmental Working Group’s SKIN DEEP project, I decided to revisit the important topic of the unsafe ingredients in our personal care products:
  • Soaps
  • Skin moisturizers
  • Lip products
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Sunscreens
  • Hair care products
  • Toothpastes
  • Nail polishes

 

2011_SDGuide

You too can get a copy of this nifty card if you donate $5 to the Environmental Working Group.  EWG does excellent work trying to protect us from harmful ingredients. I hope you’ll help support them with a donation of $5 or more. Here’s a link to their site.
The EWG has done extensive research on over 69,000 personal care products to compile the safety information in their SKIN DEEP Cosmetics Database. Their research standards are well above the government’s standards. They examine product concerns such as:
  • Overall hazards
  • Cancer links
  • Developmental and reproductive toxicity
  • Allergies

 

 

 

FDA

 

As the EWB points out:
Our cosmetics and personal care products are under regulated and often include chemicals that have not been well tested.
The US government allows cosmetics’ manufacturers to include almost any ingredient in their products.
The US Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to require safety tests on these products or recall any product that proves to be harmful.

 

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OTHER EWG GUIDES

The EWG  also publishes other useful guides:
  • Healthier Cleaning Products
  • Good Food on a Tight Budget
  • A Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health
  • A Guide to Summer Sun
  • A Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

 

 

EWG's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
EWG’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

 

 

 

 

THE EWG’S SKIN DEEP MOBILE APP

 

Information from EWG's SKIN DEEP project
Sample information from EWG’s SKIN DEEP project’s mobile app that lets you obtain hazard on over 69,000 personal care products by scanning their barcodes

 

 

 

ALL THE INFORMATION BELOW IS FROM EWG’S SKIN DEEP DATABASE – AS POSTED ON THEIR WEBSITE

 

The American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though just about everyone is exposed to them. Through Skin Deep, we put the power of information in consumers’ hands. When you know what’s in the products you bring into your home and how those chemicals may affect your health and the environment, you can make informed purchasing decisions — and help transform the marketplace. At the same time, we advocate responsible corporate and governmental policies to protect the most vulnerable among us.

 

 

EWG created our Skin Deep database as a way to combat the serious deficiencies in cosmetics regulation.

Still navigating store aisles can be difficult. Environmental Working Group researchers have evaluated hundreds of safety studies and thousands of ingredient labels to bring you our top recommendations for what not to buy.

 

SHOPPING TIPS

 

By Product Type:

Soap Avoid: triclosan and triclocarban.
Skin moisturizer and lip products Avoid: Retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid and retinol in daytime products
Hand sanitizers Pick: ethanol or ethyl alcohol in at least 60% alcohol
Sunscreen Just say no:

  • SPF above 50
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • Aerosol spray and powder sunscreen
  • Oxybenzone
  • Added insect repellent

Say yes to:

  • Hats and shade in mid-day sun
  • Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide as active ingredients, otherwise Avobenzone (at 3%)
  • SPF 15 to 50, depending on your own skin coloration, time outside, shade and cloud cover.
  • Use a lot and reapply frequently
Hair Care Avoid or limit:

  • Dark permanent hair dyes
  • Chemical hair straighteners
Toothpaste Avoid: triclosan
Nails Avoid:

  • Formaldehyde or formalin in polish, hardeners or other nail products.
  • Toluene and Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in polish.
  • Pregnant? Skip polish

 

 

Tips for babies and young children

Children are not little adults. Pound for pound, kids are exposed to more contaminants in air, water, food, and personal care products than adults. Immature organ systems are often less capable of fending off chemical assaults. Subtle damage to developing bodies may lead to disease later in life.

Parents can make healthy choices by using fewer personal care products for their children, ignoring ad hype and following these tips:

Baby wipes Avoid:

  • Bronopol
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Fragrance
Diaper cream Avoid:

  • BHA
  • Boric acid
  • Fragrance
Toothpaste Use a small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste until kids can reliably rinse and spit (none for kids under 2). Use child-strength toothpaste for children 6 and younger. Use only a pea sized amount and supervise child’s brushing and rinsing (to minimize swallowing)
Sunscreen Infants under 6 months don’t belong in the sun and they shouldn’t wear sunscreen. For older babies and children, use protective clothing and sunscreen that provides good UVA and UVB protection. Use enough and reapply often.
Baby powder Skip it! Just like auto exhaust or secondhand smoke, tiny airborne particles can damage baby’s delicate, developing lungs

 

 

Tips for teens and tweens

Teens use cosmetics. Sometimes lots of them. From hair gels and straighteners to eye make-up, body wash and lotions. And then some! Knowing which ones are healthy — and which ones aren’t — is important. Why? EWG found that adolescent girls’ bodies are contaminated with chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and body care products. In fact, we detected 16 potentially toxic chemicals — phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks — in blood and urine samples from 20 teen girls. Studies link these chemicals to potential health effects including cancer and hormone disruption.

To make matters worse, teens may be particularly sensitive to exposures to hormone-disrupting chemicals, given the complex role they play during puberty – precisely when girls typically experiment with an increasing number and variety of body care products. When we surveyed them, our teen study participants reported using an average of 17 personal care products each day, 40 percent more than an adult woman.

Teens can easily make safer choices by reducing the number of body care products they use, viewing marketing claims with skepticism, always checking the ingredients for toxics (a good lifelong habit!), and following EWG guidelines to select safer products:

Acne products Avoid:

  • Triclosan
  • Parabens
  • PEG/cetearetj/polyethylene
Perfume, cologne, and body spray Avoid:

  • Diethyl phthalate
  • “Fragrance” (listed as an ingredient)
Make-up Avoid:

  • Loose powders
  • Vitamin A (listed as: retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate) in skin and lip products

Choose:

  • Safer make-up using Skin Deep
Sun protection Be sun smart! Sunburns in children and teens increase your risk of the most deadly form of skin cancer–melanoma.Avoid tanning beds. Tanning booths expose the skin to 15 times more UV sun. The use of tanning beds before age 30 can cause a 75 percent increase in melanoma.

 

 

Tips for women

The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 different ingredients daily. Many cosmetic chemicals are designed to penetrate into the skin’s inner layers, and they do. Consequently, some common cosmetic ingredients turn up in people’s bodies. Among them: industrial plasticizers called phthalates; parabens, which are preservatives; and persistent fragrance components like musk xylene.

Are levels found in our bodies causing biological damage? Only more research can say. Several studies have linked feminization of American baby boys to a common fragrance chemical called diethyl phthalate.

Anti-aging products Avoid: Alpha and beta hydroxy acids (lactic acid and glycolic acid)
FDA-sponsored studies find UV-caused skin damage doubles for users of products with alpha hydroxy acid. Regular sunscreen application is the best way to avoid sun-damaged skin.
Hair dye Minimize use of dark, permanent hair dyes. Many contain coal tar ingredients, including aminophenol, diaminobenzene, and phenylenediamine, linked to cancer.
Skin lighteners Avoid skin lighteners with hydroquinone. FDA warns that this skin-bleaching chemical can cause a skin disease called ochronosis, with “disfiguring and irreversible” blue-black lesions on exposed skin.Illegally imported skin lighteners can contain mercury, which can poison adults and children and is especially toxic during pregnancy. Be wary of imported skin lighteners, don’t buy products without ingredients clearly labeled, and always avoid products with “mercury,” “calomel”, “mercurio” or “mercurio chloride”.
Chemical hair straighteners Many hair straightening treatments use harsh or toxic ingredients, and make misleading safety claims. We recommend you avoid chemical hair straighteners.If you choose to use, avoid keratin treatments.

 

 

 

Tips for men

The average man uses 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients. Some ingredients are hormonally active; some of these are specifically linked to male reproductive system disorders. For instance, phthalates have been associated with altered hormone levels in men and boys and sperm damage.

After shave Avoid:

  • “Fragrance”
  • Oxybenzone
  • PEG/ceteareth/polyethylene
  • Parabens
Shaving cream Avoid:

  • DMDM hydantoin
  • “Fragrance”
  • PEG/ceteareth/polyethylene
  • Triclosan
Sunscreen Wear sunscreen. Surveys show just 34 percent of men wear sun protection, compared to 78 percent of women. Chose a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and reapply often. SeeEWG’s annual sunscreen report for good choices.

 

 

 

Shopping tips by ingredient

BHA: The National Toxicology Program classifies butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” It can cause skin depigmentation. In animal studies, BHA produces liver damage and causes stomach cancers such as papillomas and carcinomas and interferes with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels. The European Union considers it unsafe in fragrance. It is found in food, food packaging, and personal care products sold in the U.S.

Boric acid and Sodium borate: These chemicals disrupt hormones and harm the male reproductive system. Men working in boric acid-producing factories have a greater risk of decreased sperm count and libido. In animals, high doses cause testicular damage to mice, rats, and dogs. Both the European Union and Canada restrict these ingredients in body care products made for children under three years of age and require that products containing these ingredients be labeled as not appropriate for broken or damaged skin. No similar safety standards are in place in the United States. The cosmetic industry’s own safety panel states that these chemicals are unsafe for infant or damaged skin, because they can absorb readily into the body. Despite this guidance, boric acid is found in some diaper creams.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients (including Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine): Coal tar, a byproduct of coal processing, is a known human carcinogen, according to the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Hair stylists and other professionals are exposed to these chemicals in hair dye almost daily. Europe has banned many of these ingredients in hair dyes. While FDA sanctions coal tar in specialty products such as dandruff and psoriasis shampoos, the long-term safety of these products has not been demonstrated.

Formaldehyde: A potent preservative considered a known human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Cancer. Formaldehyde, also an asthmagen, neurotoxicant and developmental toxicant, was once mixed into to many personal care products as antiseptic. This use has declined. But some hair straighteners are based on formaldehyde’s hair-stiffening action and release substantial amounts of the chemical.

Formaldehyde releasers – Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15: Cosmetics preservatives that slow form formaldehyde to kill bacteria growing in products. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen. The preservatives and the formaldehyde they generate can trigger allergic skin reactions. Formaldehyde releasers are widely used in US products. Not surprisingly, more Americans develop contact allergies to these ingredients than Europeans.

Fragrance: It may help sell products from face cream to laundry detergent, but do you know what’s in it? Fragrances are in everything from shampoo to deodorant to lotion. Federal law doesn’t require companies to list on product labels any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture. Recent research from EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label. Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. Our advice? Buy fragrance free wherever possible.

Hydroquinone: A skin bleaching chemical that can cause a skin disease called ochronosis, with blue-black lesions that in the worst cases become permanent black caviar-size bumps. In animal studies, hydroquinone has caused tumor development.

Lead: A neurotoxin in popular hair dye Grecian Formula 16 and other black hair dyes for men. Lead from hair dyes travels from hair to doorknobs, cabinets and other household items, where children can ingest it.

Methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone and benzisothiazolinone: Preservatives, commonly used together in personal care products, among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact allergy. Lab studies on mammalian brain cells suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic.

Nanoparticles: Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles appear to be among the safer and more effective active ingredients in U.S.-marketed sunscreen creams because they do not penetrate the skin. But avoid sprays and powders containing these nanoparticles, which could penetrate your lungs and enter your bloodstream. Many other nanoparticles have received very little testing, yet they readily penetrate the skin and contaminate the body. Cosmetics manufacturers are not required to disclose the presence of nanoparticles in products.

Oxybenzone: Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber, found in the bodies of nearly all Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In human epidemiological studies, oxybenzone has been linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies. A study of 404 New York City women in the third trimester of pregnancy associated higher maternal concentration of oxybenzone with a decreased birth weight among newborn baby girls but with greater birth weight in newborn boys. Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites may disrupt the hormone system.

Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens): Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives used widely in cosmetics. The CDC has detected parabens in virtually all Americans bodies. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.

PEGs/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds: A family of conditioning and cleaning agents that go by many names. These synthetic chemicals are frequently contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which the U.S. government considers a probably human carcinogen and which readily penetrates the skin. Cosmetics makers could easily remove 1,4-dioxane from ingredients, but tests documenting its common presence in products show that they often don’t.

Petroleum distillates: Petroleum-extracted cosmetics ingredients, commonly found in mascara. They may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities. They are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks.

Phthalates: A growing number of studies indicate that chemical family damages the male reproductive system. Pregnant women should avoid nail polish containing dibutyl phathalate. Everyone should avoid products with “fragrance” indicating a chemical mixture that may contain phthalates.

Resorcinol: Common ingredient in hair color and bleaching products; skin irritant, toxic to the immune system and frequent cause of hair dye allergy. In animal studies, resorcinol can disrupt normal thyroid function. The federal government regulates exposures to resorcinol in the workplace, but its use is not restricted in personal care products.

Toluene: Volatile petrochemical solvent and paint thinner and potent neurotoxicant that acts as an irritant, impairs breathing and causes nausea A pregnant woman’s exposure to toluene vapors during pregnancy may impair fetal development. In human epidemiological and animal studies, toluene has been associated with toxicity to the immune system. Some evidence suggests a link to malignant lymphoma.

Triclosan & Triclocarban: Antimicrobial pesticides in liquid soap (triclosan) or soap bars (triclocarban), very toxic to the aquatic environment. Often found as contaminants in people due to widespread use of antimicrobial cleaning products. Triclosan disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones. American Medical Association and the American Academy of Microbiology say that soap and water serves just as well to prevent spread of infections and reduce bacteria on the skin. Overuse may promote the development of bacterial resistance.

Vitamin A compounds (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinol): Vitamin A is an essential nutrient but not necessarily safe for use on skin. Studies show that when applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds can increase skin sensitivity. Furthermore sunlight breaks down vitamin A to produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and hasten skin lesions and tumors in lab animals. These ingredients are widely used in sunscreens, skin lotions, lip products and makeup. EWG urges consumers to avoid leave on skin and lip products with vitamin A.

Animal-based ingredients: Many consumers are asking manufacturers tough questions about ethical sourcing of their ingredients. Vegetarians, vegans, and people concerned about animal welfare frequently seek to avoid ingredients derived from animals. However a number of animal-based substances are found in cosmetics, and might not be clearly labeled as such. If you are concerned about avoiding animal products the best bet is to choose brands claiming to be vegetarian or vegan or labeled with the PETA and Leaping Bunny logos.

Copyright 2007-2014, Environmental Working Group.

 

 

 

SKIN DEEP - from the Environmental Working Group
SKIN DEEP – from the Environmental Working Group

 

 

REFERENCES

Environmental Working Group (2014). EWG’s Top Ten Tips for Safer Cosmetics. See:  http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/top-tips-for-safer-products/

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

Hormone Disrupters in Our Cosmetics & Personal Hygiene Products

 

 

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Parabens are frequently used as preservatives to prevent microbial growth and increase the shelf life of an estimated 13,200 cosmetic and skin care products. (Scheve, 2014)
Most of us apply parabens to our skins and perhaps even consume them daily. They’re ingredients in:  (Scheve, 2014) (personal observation)

 

  • Cosmetics – such as moisturizers, lipsticks, lip balms, foundations, concealers, eye make ups, make up removers, self-tanners, hair dyes
  • Hygiene products – such as shampoos, conditioners, de-frizzers, volumizers, hair dyes, soaps, toothpastes, topical ointments, deodorants and anti-perspirants, shaving gels, sunscreens, anti-wrinkle creams, bandages and eye drops, personal lubricants, estrogen creams
  • Food products – such as salad dressing, mayonnaise, mustard, processed vegetables, frozen dairy products, soft drinks, baked goods and jellies
  • Pharmaceuticals – such as ointments and other products
  • Household and industrial products – such as textiles and glues

 

 

woman-apply-deodorant_v200apply Body lotion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shampoo11

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neon-shaving-gel-10121Child-Brushing-Teeth

 

 

 

 

HOW CHEMICAL ENDOCRINE DISRUPTERS ARE HARMFUL

The 8 glands in our endocrine systems produce and release hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, development, tissue function, sleep, reproduction, sexual function and mood. Almost every cell in the body is affected by the endocrine system. A report issued in March 2013 jointly by the United Nations and the World Health Organization states that “Endocrine Disrupters (EDC’s) are a global threat to fertility and the environment.”
And a recent report from the Environmental Working Group says:

There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies–increasing production of certain hormones, decreasing production of others, imitating hormones, turning one hormone into another, interfering with hormone signaling, telling cells to die prematurely, competing with essential nutrients, binding to essential hormones, and accumulating in organs that produce hormones.

(Anderson, 2014)

 

8 Glands in the Endocrine System
8 Glands in the Endocrine System

 

 

 

 

CHEMICAL NAMES OF PARABENS
These are various names of the parabens we’re absorbing or ingesting from products – if they’re ingredients in your products, you’ll usually find them listed toward the bottom of the list:  (Lal, 2012)
  • Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Butylparaben
  • Butyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Ethylparaben
  • Ethyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Methyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Parahydroxybenzoate
  • Parahydroxybenzoic acid
  • Propylparaben
  • Propyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid

 

Japanese Honeysuckle Extract
Japanese Honeysuckle
Japanese Honeysuckle
Several authors have noted that a growing number of beauty product companies are trying to make their products safer and have substituted Japanese honeysuckle extract for chemical parabens. This has led to some controversy since the preservative made from Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera Japonica)  is actually a form of paraben and behaves in a very similar way to synthetic parabens. Honeysuckle extract is marketed as Plantservative. (Marta, 2012)
There’s hope: Some cosmetics companies are replacing parabens with grapefruit seed extract and Vitamin E; and essential oils like cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and tea tree are being distilled and turned into natural preservatives. (Lal, 2012)

 

 

 

Figure 6 endocrines

 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that parabens have hormone-disrupting qualities that mimic estrogen, interfering with the body’s endocrine system. The EPA has linked methylparabens in particular to metabolic, developmental, hormonal and neurological disorders, as well as to various cancers – especially breast cancer. (Mercola, 2012) (Johnson, 2011) For more information on a parabens-breast cancer link, see the Environmental Working Group’s  EWG’s Skin Deep Database, and the articles by Mercola and Johnson.

 

parabens_pic

 

There is evidence that the estrogen-mimicry effect of parabens  decreases testosterone levels, sperm counts and daily production of sperm in rats. Testosterone was found to decrease in a dose-dependent manner related to paraben concentration. It is thought that parabens are also responsible for the increasingly early onset of puberty in children, damage to the DNA in sperm, and damage to mitochondrial function, causing male infertility. (Osman, 2012)

 


parabens

 

 

 

 

THE UNREGULATED COSMETICS INDUSTRY

From Safe Cosmetics (Breast Cancer Action, 2014):

Because testing is voluntary and controlled by the cosmetic manufacturers, many ingredients in cosmetic products are not tested for safety. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep states that 89 percent of ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel, the FDA, or any other publicly accountable institution (FDA 2000, CIR 2002). The absence of governmental oversight for this $35 billion industry means that companies routinely market products with ingredients that are poorly studied, not studied at all, or worse, known to pose potentially serious health risks. It’s time to protect consumers….

Many cosmetic companies argue that the level of a harmful chemical in any one product is not enough to harm you…. However, science is finding the timing of exposure is critical, and that even a very small dose of some chemicals can have serious consequences in children and young women who are still developing.

Moreover, we are rarely exposed to a chemical just one time. We may use the same product every day, several days a week, for months or years. In addition, we use dozens of personal care products daily, not just one. So while exposure from one product on one day may be small, we in fact use numerous products a day for extended periods of time. As a result, scientists are finding accumulations of chemicals such as parabens and phthalates in our bodies.

The unregulated cosmetics industry has publicly assessed only 11% of the 10,500 ingredients in personal care products. (The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, 2011)
See the  Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website for ways to take action.

 

 

 

 

parabenFI

 

 

 

SKIN DEEP: A USEFUL COSMETIC SAFETY DATABASE

SkinDeep_Logo

 

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics partners with the Environmental Working Group to produce a cosmetic safety database. You can visit EWG’s Skin Deep Database to check the ingredients in the products you use or to find safer products for you and your family.
This searchable database checks the ingredients in more than 74,000 shampoos, makeups, deodorants, sunscreens and other personal care products with 50 toxicity and regulatory databases.
There’s even an iPhone and Android mobile app for their database so you can check out products while you’re shopping. The app has some nice features:
  • It lets you scan products’ barcodes to see EWG’s score for them.
  • With its History feature, you can find the scores of products you’ve previously scanned.
  • You can save your Favorites so you can easily check their scores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TBYP-image

 

THINK BEFORE YOU PINK

Breast Cancer Action coined the term pinkwasher in 2003 to refer to cosmetic and body care companies that promote pink ribbon products while also selling products that contribute to the disease.  BCA first challenged Avon and then went on to focus on other companies that raise money in the name of breast cancer but manufacture body care products containing known carcinogens or reproductive toxins – such as parabens and phthlates. (Breast Cancer Action, 2014) (Think Before You Pink)

 

 

 

parabens-550x550

 

 

 

 


 WHAT I FOUND READING LABELS AT A DUANE READE

41SCvIAUYrL._SY450_

Amazon.com – product information:

Ingredients
Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone, Carbomer, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Citrate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Ethylparaben.

Directions
Smooth on hands and body every day.

 

 

00070501052853

Amazon.com – product information:

Ingredients
Water, Glycerin, Capric/Caprylic Stearic Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Octyldodecanol, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Laurate, Hydrogenated Lanolin, Silica, BHT, PEG/PPG 20/6 Dimethicone, Stearyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C12 22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben

Directions
Apply to skin as needed.

 

 

 

13830673

Amazon.com – product information:

Indications
CoverGirl & Olay combine a foundation and serum to cover fine lines and wrinkles and help improve skintone over time.

Ingredients
Cyclopentasiloxane, Water/Eau, Glycerin, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Acetyl Glucosamine, Diethylhexyl Carbonate, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Talc, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Panthenol, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Methicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, PEG-10 Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance/Parfum, PEG-100 Stearate, May Contain/Peut Contenir: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

Directions
Dot foundation on forehead, cheeks and chin. Blend using fingertips or a makeup sponge. Use with any CoverGirl Pressed Powder to help your look last.

 

 

loreal-hair-colors-photo-9

Amazon.com – product information:

Safety Information
Haircolor products can cause an allergic reaction which, in certain rare cases, can be severe. Therefore, before you use this product it is necessary to follow these precautions: Do not use if you have already had a reaction to a haircolor product; you have a sensitive, itchy or damaged scalp. If you have a tattoo, the risks of allergic reaction may be increased. Perform a skin allergy test 48 hours before each use of this product (see insert). Remember to buy your product 2 days ahead of time. Avoid contact with eyes and skin. If product gets into eyes, rinse immediately. Wear gloves provided in kit. Thoroughly rinse hair after application. Do not use over compound henna or progressive color. This product contains ingredients which may cause skin irritation on certain individuals and a preliminary test according to accompanying directions should first be made. This product must not be used for dyeing the eyelashes or eyebrows; to do so may cause blindness.

Ingredients
COLOR GEL:  Aqua/Water, Trideceth-2 Carboxamide MEA, Propylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, PEG-2 Oleamine, Polyglyceryl-4 Oleyl Ether, Oleyl Alcohol, Alcohol Denat., Ammonium Hydroxide, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleyl Ether, Oleic Acid, Sodium Diethylaminopropyl Cocoaspartamide, Pentasodium Pentetate, Ammonium Acetate, Parfum/Fragrance, Sodium Metabisulfite, P-Aminophenol, 2-Methyl-5-Hydroxyethylaminophenol, Erythorbic Acid, Phenyl Methyl Pyrazolone, M-Aminophenol, Resorcinol, P-Phenylenediamine, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, 6-Hydroxyindole, Eugenol, Linalool, Citronellol. Color Optimizing Creme: Aqua/Water, Hydrogen Peroxide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Trideceth-2 Carboxamide MEA, Ceteareth-30, Glycerin, Pentasodium Pentetate, Sodium Stannate, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate. Care Supreme Conditioner: Aqua/Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Candelilla Cera/Candelilla Wax, Amodimethicone, Cetyl Esters, Isopropyl Alcohol, Parfum/Fragrance, Methylparaben, Trideceth-12, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Benzyl Alcohol, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Amyl Cinnamal, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Oleth-10, Citronellol, Disodium Cocoamphodipropionate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Lecithin, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Phosphoric Acid, Tocopherol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl-2-Octynoate, Ethylparaben.

 




Safety Warning Warning: keep out of reach of children. For external use only. Avoid contact with eyes. Discontinue use if irritation develops. This product does not contain a sunscreen and does not protect against sunburn. Repeated exposure of unprotected skin while tanning may increase the risk of skin aging, skin cancer and other harmful effects to the skin, even if you do not burn. Ingredients Water, glycerin, alcohol denat., mineral oil, C13-16 isoparaffin, isopropyl palmitate, cetearyl alcohol, dihydroxyacetone, glyceryl stearate SE, glyceryl glucoside, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, dimethicone, sodium acrylate/acryloyldimethyltaurate/ dimethylacrylamide crosspolymer, isohexadecane, sodium cetearyl sulfate, xanthan gum, sodium metabisulfite, polysorate 60, sorbitan isotearate, fragrance, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben. Directions Apply liberally, evenly smoothing onto your skin. Avoid contact with clothes until after the lotion is fully absorbed. Wash your hands after application. To optimize results, exfoliate before first use.

 

Amazon.com – product information:

Safety Warning
Warning: keep out of reach of children. For external use only. Avoid contact with eyes. Discontinue use if irritation develops. This product does not contain a sunscreen and does not protect against sunburn. Repeated exposure of unprotected skin while tanning may increase the risk of skin aging, skin cancer and other harmful effects to the skin, even if you do not burn.

Ingredients
Water, glycerin, alcohol denat., mineral oil, C13-16 isoparaffin, isopropyl palmitate, cetearyl alcohol, dihydroxyacetone, glyceryl stearate SE, glyceryl glucoside, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, dimethicone, sodium acrylate/acryloyldimethyltaurate/ dimethylacrylamide crosspolymer, isohexadecane, sodium cetearyl sulfate, xanthan gum, sodium metabisulfite, polysorate 60, sorbitan isotearate, fragrance, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben.

Directions
Apply liberally, evenly smoothing onto your skin. Avoid contact with clothes until after the lotion is fully absorbed. Wash your hands after application. To optimize results, exfoliate before first use.

 

 

 

 

 

PARABEN-FREE PRODUCTS I LIKE AND USE

Lotions, shampoos and other skin products made for babies are less likely to contain carcinogens like parabens. Also, Australia and New Zealand’s EPA-equivalents are very strict so products made in those countries are less likely to contain parabens or other chemicals harmful to your health.

 

 

 

The Entire Line of Jurlique Products

3a59feb7-eb3b-4aca-8fcf-6fd3bde96537

From Amazon.com – product information:

Ingredients
Aqua (Water); Carthamus tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil; Glycerin; Glyceryl Stearate Citrate; Jojoba Esters; Calendula officinalis Flower Extract; Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract; Prunella vulgaris (Self Heal) Flower Extract; Spilanthes acmella Flower Extract; Lithospermum erythrorhizon (Groomwell) Root Extract; Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride; Zanthoxylum alatum (Sichuan Peppercorn) Extract; Aloe barbadensis Leaf Extract; Fragrance (Parfum)*; Tocopherol (Vitamin E); Xanthan Gum; Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate; Lactic Acid; Oleyl Alcohol; Alcohol; Geraniol*; Linalool*; Limonene*. * From Natural Essential Oil (Chamomile – Chamomilla recutita (Matricaria); Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia).

 

Baby Moisturizer by EcoSTORE USA

 

ecos

 

Base Ingredients

Aqua · Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride · Simmondsia Chinensis Oil · Cetearyl Olivate · Sorbitan Olivate · Butyrospermum Parkii · Cetearyl Alcohol · Olea Europaea Oil · Caprylyl Glycol · Phenoxyethanol · Panthenol · Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate · Xanthan Gum · Parfum · Citric Acid

Contains No Nasty Ingredients

Synthetic dyes · Methylparaben Propylparaben Butylparaben · Mineral Oil · Synthetic Perfumes · Dimethicone

Fragrance Ingredients

Lavender & Geranium

Lavandula Angustifolia · Eucalyptus Globulus · Pelargonium Graveolens

 

 

 

MD Moms – Products Developed by Pediatrician Moms

154

MD-Moms.com – product information

baby silk daily UV shield
SPF 30 moisturizing lotion

Every day is SUNday when it comes to UV rays! A daily dose of our lightweight, fragrance free, paraben free SPF 30 formula keeps skin nourished and soothed while providing broad spectrum protection from UV rays and environmental damage. Water resistant (80 min) and non-irritating to the eyes. Broad spectrum pure physical/mineral non-chemical sunscreen active ingredients.

2012 Cribsie Awards - Finalist
  • Contains NO fragrance, parabens, phthalates, lanolin, mineral oil, petroleum or waxes
  • Pure physical non-chemical sunscreen actives Titanium Dioxide & Zinc Oxide, optimal for sensitive and young skin, even under 6 months of age
  • Broad spectrum protection: protects against UVA and UVB rays
  • Fragrance-free for ultra sensitive skin
  • Protects from environmental damage while nourishing, with antioxidant vitamins E & B5, grapeseed oil and avocado oil
  • Clinically tested, certified hypoallergenic and dermatologist approved
  • Gentle, water-resistant (80 minutes) and non-irritating to the eyes
  • TSA-approved for carry-on luggage
  • Made in the USA.  No animal testing.

 

 

 

 doTERRA ONGuard Natural Whitening Toothpaste
(I like all the doTerra’s products I’ve tried)

 

 

doterra-toothpaste-e1397229326489

 

doTERRA.com – product information:

Ingredients

Glycerin, Water, Hydrated Silica, Hydroxyapatite, Xylitol, Calcium Carbonate, Cellulose
Gum, Mentha piperita (Peppermint) Essential Oil, Citrus sinensis (Wild Orange) Essential
Oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Clovebud) Essential Oil, Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Cinnamon
Bark) Essential Oil, Eucalyptus radiata (Eucalyptus) Essential Oil, Rosemarinus officinalis
(Rosemary) Essential Oil), Stevia rebaudiana (Stevia ) Extract, Gaultheria procumbens
(Wintergreen) Essential Oil, Commiphora myrrha (Myrrh) Essential Oil, Sodium Lauroyl
Sarcosinate, Carrageenan, Titanium Dioxide

 

 

 

Tom’s of Maine

idtoms_wickedboxbrush_lg

TomsofMaine.com – product information:

What’s Not in Our Products

brand_boxes_window

 

TOM-61325-1

 

I also sometimes use Burt’s Bees paraben-free products.
For more information visit www.thinkbeforeyoupink.org and Johnson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nail polish blog

 

FAQ: WHAT SHOULD I BUY?

Reprinted from the Safe Cosmetics Action Network (Safe Cosmetics Action Network, 2011)

Q. What are some of the most harmful ingredients in products? 

A. Mercury (often listed as thimerosal on ingredient labels), found in some eye drops, ointment and deodorants; lead acetate, found in some hair dyes and cleanser; formaldehyde and toluene, found in nail products; petrochemicals, found in some hair relaxers, shampoos, mascara, perfume, foundation, lipstick and lip balm; coal tar, found in dandruff shampoos, anti-itch creams and hair dyes; placenta, found in some hair relaxers, moisturizers and toners; and phthalates, found in some nail polish, fragrances and hair spray. 

All of these ingredients can be found in our brochure, Unmasked: 10 Ugly Truths Behind the Myth of Cosmetic Safety.

Q. So I should buy products labeled “all-natural”? 

A. Looking for the words “natural” or “safe” won’t guarantee that the product you buy really is safe. That’s why we’re asking all manufacturers to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and pledge not to use chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health harms and replace them with safer alternatives. 

Q: I don’t see Arbonne, Avon, Mary Kay, Melaleuca or other similar companies listed on your website, even though they claim to be “safe,” “natural” or donate money to breast cancer research. What’s the deal? 

A: Arbonne, Avon, Mary Kay and Melaleuca are aware of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics but have refused to sign it. If they are truly supporting women’s health and making “safe” products, it shouldn’t be too hard for them to sign the Compact. Hundreds of companies have signed the Compact, a commitment to manufacture personal care products free of known and suspected toxic chemicals. 

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics does not endorse or hand-pick “safe” companies to refer customers to. The growing list of safer companies on our Web site is comprised solely of companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. If you don’t see a company on the list, we encourage you to send a letter letting them know about the Compact and urging them to sign it. 

For a sample letter to get you started, please check out the Materialssection of the website. 

Q: How do I know if a particular product is safe? 

A: To find safety information on specific products, check out EWG’s Skin Deep, the online database of nearly 25,000 personal care products. You can search the database for specific brands or ingredients, or for product types, like nail polish, to see how brands within that product class compare. Skin Deep will also tell you if a company has signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. We recommend supporting Compact signers over non-signers when possible because Compact-signing companies have made a meaningful commitment to create safer products. 

Q. What are phthalates? Where are they found? 

A. Phthalates (pronounced THA-lates) are plasticizing chemicals that are probable human reproductive or developmental toxins and endocrine disruptors. Phthalates cause reproductive birth defects in laboratory animals, particularly males. 

Two phthalates often used in cosmetics (dibutyl and diethylhexyl) have been banned in the European Union. Unfortunately, phthalates are still found in some nail polishes and hair sprays, and are commonly hidden on ingredient labels under the term “fragrance.” We recommend that consumers steer clear of products with fragrance, especially pregnant women, babies and pubescent young adults. 

For more information, please read our reports, “A Little Prettier” (2008) and “Not Too Pretty” (2002). 

Q. I’ve been reading a lot about parabens and companies going “paraben-free.” What does that mean? 

A. Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as anti-microbial preservatives in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics products, including underarm deodorants. Parabens are absorbed through intact skin and through the gastrointestinal tract and blood. U.K. researchers found measurable concentrations of six different parabens in 20 human breast tumors. The study highlights the need for more research on the potential link between products containing parabens and increased breast cancer risk. 

Many companies, including Compact signers, have begun phasing out parabens from their lines by marking their products as “paraben-free.” Parabens are commonly listed on product ingredient labels as methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben.

Q. What about nail polish? 

A. So many people have asked us about nail polish that we created a separate pagefor information about it. According to EWG’s Skin Deep database of cosmetic product safety, nail polish is among the highest-concern product categories in terms of serious health effects. This has to do in large part to the chemicals formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate(DBP), all three of which make it into the top ingredients of concern in personal care products, and all three of which could be found in many brands of nail polish until very recently. 

Many smaller nail polish manufacturers removed these chemicals from their products long ago. And while European laws forced many international companies to stop using DBP in 2005, some holdouts were still using the chemical in their U.S. lines. In 2006, Del Laboratories, Inc., which makes the Sally Hansen brand, told the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics that it would remove all DBP, toluene and formaldehyde from their U.S. products. At that time, leading salon brand (and target of Campaign actions and ads) OPI agreed to remove DBP, but refused to eliminate formaldehyde and toluene from all of their nail polishes and treatments. 

In March 2007, OPI reported that it was reformulating all of its products to be toluene-free.

The U.S. National Toxicology Program says formaldehyde is “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen. Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restricts toluene in drinking water because it can cause nervous system disorders and damage the liver and kidneys. DBP is prohibited for use in cosmetics in the European Union because it is a possible human reproductive or developmental toxin. The data from several peer-reviewed scientific studies indicated that DBP is a probable endocrine disruptor, which means that it disrupts the natural balance of hormones in the body.

Q. Who’s making safe nail polish? 

A. Several companies who have signed the Compact make nail polishes, treatments and removers without harmful chemicals, including Anise Nail Care, Honeybee Gardens and NAIL-AID Treatments. So you don’t have to give up your mani-pedi visits, just BYOP (Bring Your Own Polish) the next time you go! And it won’t hurt to let your salon know about the health effects associated with polishes and treatments and how they can swap toxic products with safer alternatives to protect their own health, too. For more information about health risks to salon workers, read Glossed Over: Health Hazards Associated with Toxic Exposure in Nail Salons from Women’s Voices for the Earth. 

Q: Where can I find information on sunscreens? 

A: Environmental Working Group’s 2011 investigationof more than 600 sunscreen products found that 4 out of 5 contain chemicals that may pose health hazards or don’t adequately protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Some sunscreen makers are using nanotechnology in their products, and not always telling consumers about these risky nano-sized ingredients. Friends of the Earth published a report in 2007 focusing on nanotechnology and sunscreen, which is available on their website.

Q: Can I really get exposed to as much formaldehyde eating Brussels sprouts or apples as I can from a Brazilian Blowout treatment?

A:  In a word, no. This is a myth perpetuated by defenders of Brazilian Blowout and other keratin hair-straightening products. Apples and some other fruits and vegetables do contain naturally occurring formaldehyde, typically around 10 mg/kg (or parts per million), or 0.001 percent. But the levels of formaldehyde found in Brazilian Blowout by Oregon OSHA in 2010 were close to 10 percent, 10,000 times higher than the levels of formaldehyde found in apples.

 

 

 

parabenfreecosmetics

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOME LABELS INDICATING A PRODUCT IS PARABEN FREE

 

paraben free

 

 

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Check the products you use to see if they have earned any of these labels.

 

 

 

 

 

4c19029b18d0

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER BAD STUFF IN OUR COSMETICS

For the sake of simplicity, I decided to focus on parabens in this post but there are many other problematic chemicals included in the products we use on and put into our bodies.
The ingredients below are often found in skin moisturizers and other personal care products:
Reprinted from Do Your Skincare Products Contain These Chemicals? (Belanger, 2008)

Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum — Petroleum products that coat the skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins, which in turn accumulate and can lead to dermatologic issues. Slows cellular development, which can cause you to show earlier signs of aging. Suspected cause of cancer. Disruptive of hormonal activity. By the way, when there’s an oil spill in the ocean, don’t they rush to clean it up — fast? Why put that stuff on your skin?

Parabens — Widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry (including moisturizers). An estimated 13,200 cosmetic and skin care products contain parabens. Studies implicate their connection with cancer. They have hormone-disrupting qualities — mimicking estrogen — and interfere with the body’s endocrine system.

Phenol carbolic acid– Found in many lotions and skin creams. Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma and even death from respiratory failure.

Propylene glycol — Used as a moisturizer in cosmetics and as a carrier in fragrance oils. Shown to cause dermatitis, kidney or liver abnormalities, and may inhibit skin cell growth or cause skin irritation.

Acrylamide– Found in many hand and face creams. Linked to mammary tumors in lab research.

Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)– Found in car washes, engine degreasers, garage floor cleaners… and in over 90% of personal care products! SLS breaks down the skin’s moisture barrier, easily penetrates the skin, and allows other chemicals to easily penetrate. Combined with other chemicals, SLS becomes a “nitrosamine”, a potent class of carcinogen. It can also cause hair loss. SLES is sometimes disguised with the labeling “comes from coconut” or “coconut-derived”.

Toluene — Poison! Danger! Harmful or fatal if swallowed! Harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) contains toluene. Other names may include benzoic and benzyl.

Dioxane– Found in compounds known as PEG, Polysorbates, Laureth, ethoxylated alcohols. Common in a wide range of personal care products. The compounds are usually contaminated with high concentrations of highly volatile 1,4-dioxane, easily absorbed through the skin. Dioxane’s carcinogenicity was first reported in 1965 and later confirmed in studies including one from the National Cancer Institute in 1978. Nasal passages and liver are the most vulnerable. Dioxane is easily removed during the manufacturing process by “vacuum stripping”. Warning: It is a synthetic derivative of coconut. Watch for hidden language on labels, such as “comes from coconut”.

Phthalates
Like parabens, phthalates are also known to be hormone-mimicking chemicals which disrupt normal hormonal processes. And, also like parabens, they are frequently included in our cosmetic and body care products. Phthalates have been found to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive problems in laboratory animals exposed to them during pregnancy and after birth.  The US Environmental Protection Agency lists phthalates as “Chemicals of Concern”.  (Think Before You Pink)
Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid used principally as plasticizers to increase flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity in a large variety of products – including personal-care products, nail polish, fragrances, enteric coatings on pharmaceutical tablets and nutritional supplements, detergents and surfactants, packaging materials, PVC shower curtains, pharmaceuticals, food products, children’s toys, paints, printing inks, lubricants, emulsifying agents, adhesives and glues, vinyl flooring, electronics, building materials, medical devices, food additives, textiles, and inert ingredients in pesticides. (Wikipedia, 2014)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found most of the people they tested in the US had metabolites of multiple phthalates in their urine. Recent human bio-monitoring data found the “tolerable intake” of phthalates for children to be far exceeded, in some instances up to 20-fold. (Wikipedia, 2014)
Phthlates have been found to interfere with the production of male reproductive hormones in laboratory animals. These effects include lower testosterone level, decreased sperm count and lower sperm quality. Exposure to phthalates during gestation can also cause malformations of the male reproductive tract and testicular cancer. (Natural Resources Defense Council, undated)
Because phthalates are not chemically bound to products, they easily off-gas – especially with heat. Exposure to phthalates is by ingestion, inhalation, and applying products which contain them to the skin. (Natural Resources Defense Council, undated)
Wikipedia has a table listing 25 of the most common phthalates along with the abbreviations you might see on product ingredients lists.
Phthalates are banned in cosmetics sold in the EU but not in the US. In this country, they are allowed in color cosmetics, scented lotions, body washes, hair care products, nail polishes and treatments. They may appear on the labels of these products as phthalate, DEP, DBP or simply as ‘fragrance’. (Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, 2011)
Or they may not appear on the ingredients list at all. (Berl, 2012)

 

 

 

 

endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-in-food

 

 

 

 

 

CHEMICALS ALLOWED IN THE US – BANNED ELSEWHERE

The Environmental Working Group says our personal care products expose women to an average of 168 ingredients per day while men encounter about 85 a day.
This list compares US policy versus other countries for some of the more problematic ingredients (Brown, 2014) and (Plasticisers.orgn, 2013):

 

PARABENS

* Legal in the US.

* Denmark first banned them in 2010 in products made for young   children.

* The rest of the EU announced in 2012 that it was following suit.

 

PHTHALATES

* The US banned several types of phthlates in children’s toys in 2008 but continues  allowing them in cosmetics.

High phthalates will continue to be used in Europe. After February 2015, some others will be allowed in the EU only if they’ve been granted for a specific use while low phthalates will be phased out.

 

FORMALDEHYDE  – used as a preservative in cosmetics

* Legal in the US.

* Canada bans its use in personal care products.

 

PETROLEUM DISTALLATES – used as inexpensive emolients; can cause contact dermatitis or be contaminated with carcinogenic imporities

* In the US they’re ingredients in eye shadow, lotions, creams, hairspray, foundation makeup and wart remover.

* Banned in the EU.

 

HYDROQUINONE – an effective skin lightener; linked to lung irritation and tumors in mice

* Legal in the US.

* Banned by Canada and some Asian and African countries.

 

OCTINOXATE – a popular ingredient that works as a chemical sunscreen; an endocrine disruptor that can upset thyroid hormones and interfere with brain signals

* Legal in the US.

* Perhaps banned in Japan – I couldn’t track this down.

 

METHYL CELLOSOLVE – a solvent used in anti-aging creams, moisturizers and serums; a neurotoxin and irritant that may cause DNA mutations. Often lumped into ‘fragrance’ when included on labels

* Reviled by the CDC but nevertheless legal in the US.

* Banned in Canada.

* Restricted in the EU.

 

BUTYLATED HYDROXYANISOLE (BHA) – extends shelf life in lipsticks, moisturizers, shaving creams, fragrances and other personal care products; interferes with hormone function, is a possible human carcinogen, and adversely affects the environment by bio-accumulating in aquatic species

* California requires a warning label on products containing it; legal elsewhere in the US.

* The EU prohibits it in fragrances.

 

QUATERNIUM-15 – a formaldehyde donor preservative used in body washes, cosmetic powders, shampoos, conditioners and eye shadows; an eye irritant, allergen and probable carcinogen

* Legal in the US, Canada, China, Australia and Indonesia.

 

NANOPARTICLES – particles so small they can get into the cells themselves and disrupt them; can lodge in airways when inhaled from cosmetic powders and aerosols or absorbed through the skin when in topical preparations.

* The US doesn’t require products containing nanoparticles to be labeled.

* Canada, the UK, and the US Organic Standards Board have or are going to ban nanoparticles in certified organics.

 

 

makeup-safety-cosmetic-toxin-index-750x847

 

 

REFERENCES

Anderson, A. (2014). ‘Hormone Disruptors’ — Not Just for Menopausal Mommas. Bye Bye Parabens.  See:  http://byebyeparabens.com/blogs/news/12286069-hormone-disruptors-not-just-for-menopausal-mommas

Belanger, B. (2008). Do Your Skincare Products Contain These Chemicals?  Your Certified Organic Products. See:  http://yourcertifiedorganicproducts.com/blog/?tag=parabens

Berl, R.P. (2012). How Safe Are Your Cosmetics? US News and World Report.  See:  http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/07/31/how-safe-are-your-cosmetics

Breast Cancer Action. (2014). Safe Cosmetics. See:   http://www.bcaction.org/our-take-on-breast-cancer/environment/safe-cosmetics/

Brown, M. (2014). 12 Cosmetic Ingredients Legal in US; Banned Everywhere Else. Beaute de Maman. See:  http://www.beautedemaman.com/cosmetic-ingredients-legal-in-us-banned-everywhere-else/

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. (2011). What’s In Your Products?  See:  http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?list=type&type=33

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. (2011). Phthalates.  See:  http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=290

Environmental Working Group. (2014). EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. See:  http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Gorman, A. & O’Connor, P. (2007).  Glossed Over: Health Hazards Associated with
Toxic Exposure in Nail Salons. Women’s Voices for the Earth. See: http://www.womensvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Glossed_Over.pdf

Hardin, J.R. (2014). How to Make Yourself Less Attractive to Mosquitoes. AllergiesAndYourGut.com.  See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/06/13/make-less-attractive-mosquitoes/

Johnson, C. (2011). Are Parabens Really Harmful? Are There Alternatives? HappyMothering.com. See:   http://www.happy-mothering.com/06/beauty/skincare-cosmetics/are-parabens-really-harmful-are-there-alternatives/

Lal, S. (2012). A Paraben Free & Cruelty Free Cosmetics Guide.  See:  http://www.sparklewithsurabhi.com/2012/01/paraben-free-cosmetics-list-stop.html

Marta. (2012). Honeysuckle preservatives and parabens. TruthInAging.com. See:  http://www.truthinaging.com/review/honeysuckle-preservatives-and-parabens

Mercola, R. (2012). 40 Women With Breast Cancer Had This “Cosmetic Ingredient” in Their Tissues. The Mercola Newsletter, Mercola.com. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/02/toxic-parabens-on-breast-cancer-patients.aspx

Natural Resources Defense Council. (undated). Phthalates. See: http://www.nrdc.org/living/chemicalindex/phthalates.asp?gclid=CLXLy5T5i78CFdBi7Aodlw0AcA

Osman, R. (A/K/A Rokderm) (2012). Parabens in cosmetics. Is there reason for concern?  See:  http://rokderm.com/2012/07/21/parabens-in-cosmetics-is-there-reason-for-concern/

Plasticisers.org. (2013). FICTION: All phthalates are already being banned. Common Misconceptions. See:  http://www.plasticisers.org/misconceptions/factsandfigures/2/18/All-phthalates-are-already-being-banned/

Safe Cosmetics Action Network.  (2011). Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.  See:  http://safecosmetics.org/

Scheve, T. (2014). What are parabens? HowStuffWorks.com. See: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-and-lifestyle/parabens.htm

Thinkbeforeyoupink. Think Before You Pink – A Project of Breast Cancer Action. See: http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/

 Wikipedia. (June 1 2014). Phthalate. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phthalate

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.