If you think these products can't pose much of a problem, because they are used on your skin or hair, think again. Our skin readily absorbs at least 30% of what we put on it - that is why some common medicines are delivered through a skin patch or cream. Also, if we ingest something toxic through our food or drink, it gets sent (with everything else) to our liver to be detoxified, before being released into our bloodstream. Our liver saves us from a host of potential problems. Toxins entering through our skin, however, have no such obstacle to stop them.
found in nail polish remover, it is an irritant that when inhaled can damage the lungs, liver, kidneys, nerves and can increase the risk of birth defects.
ALUMINUM CHLOROHYDRATE & ALUMINUM ZIRCONIUM
found in most deodorants and anti-perspirants. It has been suggested (but not yet proven) that there is a connection between aluminum and Alzheimers disease and breast cancer.
BHA or BHT
are used mainly in moisturizers and make-up as anti-oxidants and preservatives. They are also a hidden ingredient in some fragrances. BHA is toxic to the immune sytem & the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies it as a possible human carcinogen. Studies suggest that BHT may be toxic to the skin, lungs, liver and immune system. Both chemicals can cause allergic reactions, are suspected of interfering with hormone function and promoting tumour growth. They also have the potential to bio-accumulate in aquatic species.
COAL TAR DYES
the main concern here, aside from causing sensitivity, is their potential as carcinogens, as they are proven to cause cancer when injected under the skin of mice. Look for p-phenylenediamine or colours identified as "C.I." followed by a 5 digit number. Also, some of these colours contain heavy metals and aluminum, of particular concern when used in cosmetics that may be ingested, like lipstick.
is a dry lubricant used in baby powders, feminine sprays and on condoms. It is a carcinogen when inhaled (which is especially hard for babies not to). Studies and lawsuits have also linked talcum powder and mesothelioma.
pronounced "thay-late". This is only one of the many phthalates, all of which are highly suspect. It is used as a solvent for dyes in nail products, a plasticizer to keep polishes from becoming brittle (also in vinyl flooring, toys, cars, shower curtains, medical equipment, etc.) and it is especially widespread in the fragrance oils used in almost every cosmetic or skincare product. Because of "trade secret" regulations, phthalates don't even have to be listed on fragranced products, which means, almost everything. Because of the gender bending potential of phthalates, this can be especially dangerous for women of childbearing age. So far, the list of the main dangers found are - damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain and nervous system, immune system and last, but not least, damage to the endocrine and reproductive system - especially the developing testes in male fetuses.
IMADAZOLIDINYL UREA & DIAZOLIDINYL UREA
another common preservative that causes dermatitis and releases formaldehyde.
PADIMATE O (OCTYL DIMETHYL PABA), OXYBENZONE & OCTYLMETHOXYCINNAMATE
are commonly found in sunscreens, but have been shown to disrupt endocrine balance. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are safer alternatives, working as actual sun blocks and not sunscreens, therefore more effective as well.
methyl, propyl, ethyl & butyl - these are very common preservatives found in most products. Formaldehyde releasing and may cause carcinogenic nitrosamines.
polyethylene glycol compounds are widely used in cream bases in cosmetics. PEG and it's chemical cousin, Propylene Glycol (a humectant found in deodorants, toothpaste, etc.) open the skin's pores, allowing harmful ingredients to penetrate more deeply. PG is known to cause contact dermatitis, kidney and liver damage, skin and eye irritation and gastro-intestinal disturbances. These compounds may also be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, both of which may cause cancer.
PETROLATUM or MINERAL OIL
a petroleum based jelly or oil often found in lip and skincare products - advertised as preventing chapping and sun damage. Ironically, it actually causes skin photosensitivity, promoting sun damage and interfering with the body's own moisturizing mechanism causing dryness that leads to the need to reapply.
mostly found in hair sprays - can introduce foreign particles into the lungs, causing problems in sensitive people.
found in nail polish - known to be a hormone disruptor and a potential carcinogen.
found in most anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and deodorants as a preservative and anti-bacterial. It is a hormone disruptor, doesn't break down in the environment and may contribute to the rising wave of bacterial resistance.