Tuesday, February 16, 2010


On a daily basis we drench ourselves in thousands of toxic chemicals and carcinogens that are not only harmful to ourselves but also to our wildlife and our very planet. Take a moment and step back to look at your collection of beauty products. Chances are you wash your hair in SLS, moisturize with some parabens, apply talc to pretty up your eyes, slather your underarms with propylene glycol and aluminum. And this is just to name a few of the largely untested and huge list of chemical and petroleum-derived, genetically modified, animal-tested or animal-based ingredients found in health-care products.

Need a reason to double check your beauty products?

Over a third of the 14, 000 products that the EWG catalogued and cross-referenced against toxicity databases have at least one ingredient that's linked to cancer!

On top of that, there are roughly 10, 500 chemical ingredients in personal care products.

Have faith that companies wouldn't poison us through care products? Think again. Canada nor the U.S. require much testing for their products--only about 11% have been tested for safety!

Oh, and those that have been tested, are done through the actual companies themselves, not by Health Canada. And in the States they're tested through the Cosmetic Industry Review Board.

You may say, who cares? That "cancer causes everything, so why bother?" Well, Ok, I understand that but what a terrible outlook on life. That's like saying "oh I'm being chased by a blood-thristy cougar and safety is a few feet away, but why bother running to it?". Avoiding cancer-causing ingredients isn't as hard as people make it out to be. Indeed, the majority of products out there have some sort of chemical, possibly cancerous, ingredient, but that doesn't mean solutions don't exist and they are becoming increasingly more popular.

For those of you who think you're in the clear because you buy "Natural" or "Organic" products, you might want to re-read your labels. Lots of companies up their Water (or "aqua") content to make it seem like they have a higher percentage of Organic ingredients. And even if the majority of the ingredients are Organic, you should still keep an eye out for chemicals, especially "parabens". These little toxic buggers are lurking everywhere! Go ahead, check everything from your hair conditioner to your makeup. Chances are you'll find some form of paraben listed. So, read your labels, check for chemicals, and when in doubt you can always look up an ingredient on the good ol' internet. To save you some trouble, here's a list of Ingredients to Steer clear from....

Diethanolamine (DEA): A suspected Carcinogen that is commonly found in shampoos, body wash, and makeup. Cocamide DEA, MEA, and TEA may be contaminated with DEA as well.

Formaldehyde: Commonly found in ingredients such as imidazolidinyl urea, DMD hydantoin, and quaternium-15. Is air-polluting, and a lung irritating volatile organic compound (VOC). It is also a probable human carcinogen.

Parabens: Including methyl, ethyl, etc. has estrogenic properties that mimic female hormones. They are linked to cancer. Although the studies have not been conclusive, a study found parabens in 18 to 20 human breast tumors. So you be the judge. My judgement; steer clear!

Petrolatum: Comes from non-renewable crude oil. And if you don't care about the environmental aspect, is it really something you want absorbed into your body? It is not breathable. Mineral oil is also petroleum-based.

Phenylenediamine (PPD)/ P-diamino benzene: Hair-dye users be ware! PPD is found in every permanent hair-dye out there. It has been linked to bladder cancer. A study also showed that deep-colored dyes (like dark brown or black) may increase the risk of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and multiple melanomas when used frequently. The International Journal of Cancer found that women who dye their hair (regardless of the color) more than once a month (with permanent shades) are more than twice as likely to develop bladder cancer. Been dyeing more than 15 years? Your chances increase to three times as likely. And Hairdressers are five times more likely.

Phthalates (aka "Fragrance"): Yup, you read right. All those times you read "Fragrance" on your labels, you're more than likely facing one of the many hormone-disrupting Phthalates. They are essentially plastic softeners. They have been shown to cause birth-defects in rats and other animals in various studies, and DNA damage in the sperm of adult men. Dibutylphthalate, DEHP, DEP are just a few, if you're suspicious best to look it up to keep this nasty ingredient off your body. Keep your eyes peeled! They are found in 52 of the 72 name-brand beauty products that were lab-tested by a coalition of environmental and public health groups.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS): If you have dandruff, chances are it is caused by this chemical found in just about every shampoo out there (yes, ironically including anti-dandruff shampoos!). It is a known skin-irritant. Although it has been found to not cause cancer after much debate, many people are still not convinced.

Talc: Lurking in everything from eye shadow and blush, to baby powder and deodorant. It is commonly contaminated with asbestos which turns it into a recognizes carcinogen. The U.S. Department of Health's NIH (National Institute of Health) voted to have all talc categorized as a probable carcinogen, but sadly it was voted down by another government body. It was also responsible (along with nasty Butane and Propane--both also commonly found in deodorant!) for huge environmental impacts, including the illegal mining in a wildlife sanctuary and tiger reserve where trees were chopped, holes blasted into the earth, water tables drained, and threatening the habitat of severely endangered creatures.

Toluene: This powerful neuro-toxin is found in most Nail Polishes. Long-term exposure affects the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. It can also contribute to air-pollution, so an over-all baddy here!

Triclosan: If you're among the anti-bacterial obsession then you are exposing yourself to nasty Triclosan. This chemical is so bad it has been banned by U.K. supermarkets. 75% of it makes it down our drains and past our sewage treatment plants, building up in our rivers. When it is exposed to sunlight in water it turns into dioxins (a carcinogenic hormone disruptor). Approximately 200 tons of it makes it onto farmer's fields, which means, you guessed it, to your dinner table. It is all over the place and even been found in breast milk. Stop supporting this anti-bacterial craze that does nothing but lower our defences against germs, and could breed drug-resistant bug strains.

Aluminum (and/or Zirconian): Chances are you've already heard to stay away from Aluminum (commonly found in anti-perspirant) but in case you need further persuasion... It clogs pores! It is also linked to Alzheimer's, and although Health Canada claims there is nothing to worry about, it is found in higher concentrations in the brain tissue of Alzheimer's patients.

Coal-tar based Colors (ie. Yellow No.6): Causes possible liver toxicity and cancer hazards.

Propylene Glycol: Found in over half of deoderants out there, including "Natural" and "Organic" ones. It is essentially anti-freeze and is toxic to aquatic life.

Fluoride: Sadly this is found not only in most toothpastes and at your dentist, but it is also in most of our drinking water (tell your MP you don't want it!). Studies show that it accumulates in bones and is linked to increased bone cancer rates in young boys, as well as hip fractures.

So you may be feeling at a loss here after going through your collection of beauty products and discovering many of these nasty ingredients on the labels. But you didn't think I'd just leave you stranded did you? This is only part one of the Beauty Products blog. I will make a list of solutions and products that are available so that you are no longer "dying to be beautiful". And you can always scrounge the labels at your local health care supermarket ^_^. Again, when in doubt about an ingredient that doesn't sound quite right, look it up. Best to be safe than sorry!

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1 comment:

  1. Using organic cotton prevents insecticides and pesticides from being sprayed in the air which saves our atmosphere.
    Organic Cotton Clothes


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