Tag Archives: EWG

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.

 

Environmental Working Group’s Top 10 Tips for Safer Cosmetics

 

 

images

 

 

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.

 

images-1

 

 

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.