We recently attended the Green Spa Network annual congress which included a presentation by Beth Greer, author of The Super Natural Home. I highly recommend this book! Beth shared her story about being diagnosed with a huge tumor over 10 years ago. She was puzzled by this development as she felt she had been taking really good care of herself. She did make some adjustments with diet, eating only organic foods. She then began taking a closer look at products she was putting on her body on a daily basis. Through research she found harmful chemicals were everywhere including within bed linens, carpet, wall paint, and cleaning products. She eliminated items that were not healthy for her, her family and home and in less than a year the tumor was gone.
It’s hard to believe so many unhealthy ingredients are in an array of products we use, consume or come in to contact with every day. Many conventional brand toothpastes, shampoos, soaps, shaving creams, lotions and cosmetics contain one or more toxic chemicals harmful to our health and the environment. The personal care products industry is the most unregulated of all. Unfortunately so many potentially harmful products, including Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo, remain available for consumers. Luckily we have The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics whose mission is ” to protect the health of consumers and workers by securing the corporate, regulatory and legislative reforms necessary to eliminate dangerous chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products.” The continued efforts of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics have finally had an impact on Johnson and Johnson. Read the full report here.
Here is a list, aka The Dirty Dozen, that includes some of the most common harmful ingredients in personal care products. To learn more watch this short video The Story of Cosmetics.
Parabens (ethyl-, methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl-, and butyl) A preservative found in lotions, creams, foundations, and more. Primary concern: Endocrine disruption
Propylene Glycol Humectant or solvent found in extracts, body wash, moisturizers, and more. Primary concern: Enhances penetration, promotes skin irritation
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is a widely used surfactant found in bubble bath, soap, shampoo, and more. Primary concern: Enhances penetration, may also be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane*
Phthalates (DBP, DMP, DEP) is a plasticizing agent, and fragrance ingredient found in nail polish, bath salts, lotions, and more. Primary concern: Endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity
Nanoparticles are UV blockers used for penetration of active ingredients found in sunscreen, foundation, and more. Primary concern: Untested for safety. Increase in absorption and free radicals
DEA/TEA/MEA (di- , tri-, and monoethanolamine) is a pH adjuster, surfactant. Found in lotions, soaps, body washes, and more. Primary concern: Trigger dermatitis, nitrosamines
Coal Tar Derivatives (D&C dyes and toluene) are dyes, toluene is a solvent found in lotions, body washes, soaps, hair dyes and nail polish. Primary concern: Potentially cancer causing. Coal tar ingredients are also frequently tested on animals due to their carcinogenic and toxic nature
Formaldehyde/Formaldehyde Donors (diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, Quaternium-15, and Bronopol) is a preservative found in moisturizers, cleansers, scrubs, and more. Primary concern: Contact dermatitis, formaldehyde is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA
Hydroquinone Skin lightening chemical found in skin lightening products. Primary concern: Research links it to cancer
BHA (butylated hydroxyl anisole) is a fragrance ingredient, antioxidant found in moisturizers, make-up, skin lightening products, and more. Linked to cancer, toxicity, and bio-accumulation
Octoxynols Surfactant found in scrubs, cleansers, creams, and more. Primary concern: Linked to cancer, developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, and possible 1,4-dioxane* contamination
Ethyl Acetate Fragrance ingredient and solvent found in cleansers, tooth whitening products, scrubs, and more. Primary concern: Skin, eyes, and lung irritation, developmental/reproductive toxicity