The Disturbing Truth About What's Really in Your Cosmetics, Toiletries and Personal Care Products
By Christine Farlow, D.C.
"When scientists sampled Andrea Martin's blood and urine to see what toxins she'd picked up from the world around her, she got a surprise. 'I had 95 chemical contaminants in my little body. And it was very mind blowing,' said Martin. The test results indicate that we all pick up tiny amounts of an astounding number of chemicals that are known to be dangerous in larger doses. Martin and eight others were tested by Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York and an advocacy organization called the Environmental Working Group. On average, the nine participants had traces of 53 chemicals known to cause cancer in human or animal tests. In addition, they had an average of 62 chemicals toxic to the brain or nervous system, plus 55 associated with birth defects."
There are toxic chemicals in almost every shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, styling gel, hair dye and perm. There are chemicals in our soaps, lotions, deodorants, perfumes, shaving creams and aftershaves. We use toothpaste and mouthwashes filled with chemicals and dyes. We take our clothes to the “dry” cleaners where they are immersed in a poisonous chlorine-based solvent called percholoroethylene or “perc”, which is carcinogenic and linked to chronic kidney, liver and gastrointestinal problems and reproductive disorders.
Toxic chemicals in personal-care products don’t just stay on our skin and in our hair. They literally get stuck in our bodies- in our tissues, our fat cells, our organs and in our brains. Have you noticed the latest craze in pharmaceuticals? The patch. There’s an epidermal patch for everything, from quitting smoking to birth control. Patches work as a delivery system because 60 % to 80% of what comes in contact with your skin enters your bloodstream and will circulate throughout your body within one minute. The more dilute the chemical the more available it is. Three researchers with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality Engineering in Boston concluded that greater amounts of chemical toxins could be delivered through bathing, due to skin absorption, than if they had actually been taken by mouth. Many people don’t think about their skin being absorbent - if we did, we would never put anything on our skin that we didn’t consider safe enough to eat! The reality is, we are "ingesting" our shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, mouthwashes, deodorants and body lotions. If everything we put on our skin, on our hair and in our mouths is going into our bloodstream, wouldn’t it be a good idea to use products that aren't laden with toxic chemicals?
Believe it or not, finding personal care products that aren't toxic is even harder than finding uncontaminated food. "Over 800 neurotoxic chemical compounds are used in the cosmetic and perfume industries." ("Rub A Dub Dub ...Is Cancer in Your Tub?" 1999) The FDA doesn’t regulate cosmetics nearly as stringently as it regulates drugs. The agency spends only 1 percent of its overall budget on investigating cosmetics. Many shampoos, toothpastes and cosmetics with labels that read "herbal" and "natural" are also loaded with toxic chemicals.
What you need to know about "natural" personal care products
"There is no legal definition for 'natural', and a chemist's definition of organic simply requires that the molecule contain carbon. This means in simple terms that there are no legal guidelines and boundaries for manufacturers, controlling the substance of their 'all-natural' claims. Thus, it is all in the wordplay and so-called 'natural' cosmetics can still contain potentially harmful or irritant chemicals preservatives, cheap, chemically derived aesthetic and texture enhancing additives, chemically derived sudsing agents, artificial colorants and fragrances. The proof is in the labeling. Most people tend to think that a shampoo bottle, whether sold in a health food store or not, which costs four times as much as a regular shampoo, with pictures of flowers and the labels "all-natural" and "herbal extracts" in an attractive, earth-tonish, environmentally friendly bottle, is a safe and healthy choice for washing hair. Well, one need only read the ingredients of the "natural" shampoo and compare it to any conventional brand sold in every drugstore." (www.uncleharry's.com/infobase)
The Most UN Wanted List
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Mineral oil
- Polyethylene glycol
- Propylene glycol
- Sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate
- DEA -diethanolamine
- MEA - monoethanolamine } a class of chemicals known as alkanolamines
- TEA - triethanolamine
- FD&C dyes
- Artificial fragrances
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Parabens -butyl, ethyl, methyl and propyl
Mouthwashes with an alcohol content of 25% or higher have been implicated in mouth, tongue and throat cancers. Alcohol acts as a solvent in the mouth, making tissues more vulnerable to carcinogens. Men had a 60% higher risk and women a 90% higher risk of these cancers, compared to those not using the mouthwash. (National Cancer Institute 4/22/91) Cool Mint Listerine has an alcohol content of 21.6% and has a Warning Label.
Petroleum derivative; eye and skin irritant; may cause acne, birth defects; potential carcinogen Polyethylene Glycol Can break down into formaldehyde
A colorless liquid used in anti-freeze solutions, paint, floor wax, and brake fluid as well as cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoos, deodorants and baby wipes. Propylene glycol is a humectant - it keeps things from drying out. “Propylene Glycol: Implicated in contact dermatitis, kidney damage and liver abnormalities; can inhibit skin cell growth in human tests and can damage cell membranes, causing rashes, dry skin and surface damage.” Material Safety Data Sheets
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
This stuff is in 90% of all shampoos, soap, bubble bath and toothpastes on the mass-market and even in "natural" products, like Tom's of Maine.
Gary Young, founder of Young Living, calls sodium lauryl sulfate, “One of the most toxic ingredients you can put on your body”. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a petrochemical. It was originally used as a degreasing agent for cleaning car engines and garage floors. It is also an ingredient in agent orange. Manufacturers of shampoos and toothpastes love it because it is a cheap detergent that produces a lot of foam and bubbles which we all equate with cleansing. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the #1 cause of loss of eyesight in children and allergies in adults. It interferes with the oxygen uptake of the pineal and pituitary glands. It is a major contributor to asthma, emphysema, TB, candida and fungi overgrowth in the intestines. It inhibits enzyme secretion in the body. Put sodium lauryl sulfate on your skin and scalp and its residue ends up in your heart, liver, lung and brain. Sodium lauryl sulfate damages your immune system. Sodium lauryl sulfate is rapidly taken up and accumulated by eye tissues and Put sodium lauryl sulfate on your skin and scalp and its residue ends up in your heart, liver, lung and brain. Sodium lauryl sulfate damages your immune system. Sodium lauryl sulfate is rapidly taken up and accumulated by eye tissues. It may cause cataracts. Gary Young - “It is a deadly, deadly poison.”
Ironically, sodium lauryl sulfate is used in clinical studies to irritate skin tissue and it also corrodes hair follicles and impairs our ability to grow hair! How many years have you been rubbing shampoo with sodium lauryl sulfate onto your scalp? "Americans love foamy products, and sodium lauryl sulfate is what makes all that foam in most shampoos and toothpastes. But SLS causes drying of the skin, and it dries and abnormally degreases skin's protective lipid barrier. When you dry up that barrier you expose the skin and gum tissue to bacteria." ("What's the Brush?" Alternative Medicine, August 2002) One of the best ways to absorb supplements or medications is to put them under the tongue. If your mouth is the premier absorption site in your body, what do you think happens when you put toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate in your mouth?
“Chlorine is one of the most toxic and reactive elements known to man. During World War I, the Germans used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon of warfare. There are many studies showing that chlorine causes cancer, birth defects and miscarriages in pregnant women.” ( “Tap Water Poisons - Proving Toxicity After the Fact” 27 June, 2001. www.alternativemedicine.com/digest) A bath and shower filter is more important than a drinking water filter!
A person can absorb 600% more contaminants in a ten-minute shower than drinking chlorinated water all day.
The EPA now reports that people who drink and bathe in chlorinated water are 50% more likely of developing cancer. A professor of water chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh claims that exposure to vaporized chemicals in water supplied through showering, bathing and inhalation is 100 times greater than through drinking water. (The Nader Report - Troubled Waters on Tap. Center for Study of Responsive Law.) In a lifetime, 50 lbs. of toxic waste and pollutants may enter a body from drinking water and at least 450 lbs. may enter the body through skin absorption.
"Many people are unaware that a large number of our prescription anti-depressant drugs are laced with chlorine. Examples of chlorinated and fluorinated drugs include Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. Hydrochloride is another orally administered antidepressant." (Young Living article "Chlorine - The Deadly 'Protectant'") DEA Diethanolamine is found in over 600 home and personal care products, including shampoos, conditioners, bubble baths, lotions, cosmetics, soaps, laundry and dishwashing detergents. Proven to cause cancer when applied to the skin of rats. Dr. Samuel Epstein, author of The Safe Shopper’s Bible, and the world’s leading authority on toxicology, has issued a stern warning regarding the use of cocamide DEA or lauramide DEA. DEA has been linked with kidney, liver and other organ damage, according to several government -funded research studies.. This is because it cannot be easily excreted from the body, but instead builds up in the fatty tissues of the liver, brain, kidney and spleen with repeated oral and dermal exposure.
“The FDA accepts that the presence of DEA and TEA in cosmetics can pose a significant consumer health threat. In the 1970s it published a notice in the Federal Register in which it urged the industry to remove these products from cosmetics.” (Steinman and Epstein, 1995, Young Living Newsletter)
FD&C Dyes Many commercial products use FD&C dyes. Many of these are coal tar dyes, which may be carcinogenic. Some artificial colors have been linked to digestive and immune system problems. Artificial colors are thought to increase allergies and hypersensitivity in children.
Eighty to ninety percent of materials used in fragrance are synthesized, mostly from petroleum products. Materials used in fragrance (such as some phthalates) are suspected hormone disruptors.
Imidazolidinyl urea Strong irritant; causes contact dermatitis, may contain formaldehyde
Most of us know the synthetic preservatives - the Parabens and their children - Butyl, Ethyl, Methyl and Propyl. We use them every day! Parabens are hormone disruptors.
Many deodorants and anti-perspirants contain aluminum compounds. Aluminum acts as a toxin in your body. “Dr. Daniel Perl, Director of Neuropathology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, suggests, ‘…avoid aerosol antiperspirants. Aluminum in aerosol form may be more readily absorbed into the brain through nasal passages.’” (The University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, April 1993 v.9n7 p.1) “Studies link aluminum to Alzheimer’s disease…The evidence is strong enough that the prudent person will eliminate all food and cosmetic sources of aluminum and will use aluminum cooking utensils only if they’re coated,” suggests Gary Price Todd, M.D., author Nutrition, Health and Disease.
Fluoride levels as low as one part per million - the amount added to city water supplies - cause a breakdown of collagen, which makes up about thirty percent of the body. This amount of fluoride, coupled with a poor diet, not only contributes to wrinkling, but to speeding up the entire aging process: weakening of bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Fluoride is a toxic waste product. After years of propaganda and lobbying by the smelting industries, the Public Health Service officially endorsed fluoridation of our nation's water supply in 1950. Since then, two-thirds of the nation's reservoirs have been fluoridated. "In 1977, congressional hearings revealed that the government had never cancer-tested fluoride. An investigation by the NCI was ordered and twelve years later, in 1989, upon completion of the study, it was determined that there was 'equivocal evidence' that fluoride caused bone cancer in male rats." "Zia's Essential Connection", Vol. 3, Issue 7, July 2003
"Studies have found an association between elevated fluoride and decreased IQs in children. Fluoride facilitates the uptake of aluminum into the brain producing amyloid deposits that are associated with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Just over two grams of fluoride (roughly a teaspoon) is enough to kill a 160-pound adult, while just 300 mg. is enough to kill a 20-pound child. For decades, we have been told a lie, a lie that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the weakening of the immune systems of tens of millions more. This lie is called fluoridation. A process we were led to believe was a safe and effective method of protecting teeth from decay is in fact a fraud. In recent years it's been shown that fluoridation is neither essential for good health nor protective of teeth. What it does is poison the body. We should all at this point be asking how and why public health policy and the American media continue to live with and perpetuate this scientific sham." Gary Null, Ph.D. ("Fluoridation: Cavity Preventer or Toxic Waste?" Young Living Newsletter)
As of April 7, 1997 the FDA required warning labels on all fluoride dental care products (toothpaste).
Talc is chemically similar to asbestos, a known cancer causing substance. Talc is found in body and baby powders, cosmetics, even condoms.
“A possible tie between talcum powder and ovarian cancer, long suspected because of talc’s chemical similarity to asbestos, was strongly supported last week when a study found a higher risk of cancer among women who dusted themselves with talc or used feminine deodorant sprays. The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that women who used talcum powder in the genital area had an increased ovarian cancer risk of 60% and women who used feminine deodorant sprays had a 90% increased risk.” (U.S. News and World Report, March 17, 1997 v.122n10p.77)
The paper industry uses chlorine to bleach paper and paper products. Dioxin is a chemical byproduct of the manufacturing of chlorine-bleached paper. Dioxin is believed to be the single most carcinogenic chemical known to science. The EPA has found dioxin to be 300,000 times more potent a carcinogen than DDT. Dioxins are “potent endocrine disruptors” and have been linked to a host of women’s health problems. Dioxin is in bleached coffee filters, disposable diapers, paper towels, sanitary napkins, tampons and bathroom tissue…I can’t imagine how much dioxin is absorbed by babies who are wrapped in disposable diapers 24 hours a day for 2 years...
Studies show that 40-70 percent of the dioxin in bleached coffee filters can leach into your coffee. Dioxin found in paper milk cartons also leaches into the milk you drink. Thanks to chlorine pollution, Americans ingest a daily amount of dioxin that is already 300 to 600 times greater than the EPA’s so-called “safe” dose.
Dr. Edward Fujimoto warned against freezing drinking water in plastic water bottles, as this releases dioxin from the plastic into the water. Hot coffee in styrofoam cups also causes the toxins in the styrofoam to leach into your coffee. Dr. Fujimoto also warned against putting food containing fats into a plastic container and then heating them in a microwave, as this will release dioxins into the food. Also, use paper towels instead of saran wrap to cover food when you are nuking it, as heating the saran wrap (a plastic) causes it to drip poisonous toxins into your food. An even better health tip - throw your microwave out.
"Scientists have found chemicals called phthalates, which are know to cause birth defects in animals, in many personal care items like makeup, hairspray, soap and also plastic food wrap." Phthalates are hormone disruptors.
About one billion pounds of 25 different phthalate compounds are produced each year, and they tend to accumulate in fat tissue and are easily absorbed through the skin. Major sources: plastic wrap, soft plastics, including soft plastic toys, plastic medical equipment and some personal care products.
Have you heard the expression "If you cannot eat it, don't put it on your skin?" Most of the cosmetic companies use questionable ingredients in products that promise to keep us young and beautiful. If you are using such products because you cannot afford organic, cruelty free skincare, please reconsider your choice. Use organic coconut oil or raw cacao butter instead. - Dominique
*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.