10 toxic chemicals in personal care products

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personal care products(NaturalHealth365) Opting for locally sourced, whole foods is a critical step in taking care of your personal health. But, being concerned about what food goes into your mouth is only half the battle. You may be surprised to learn the personal care items you and your family are using – every day – are putting your health in jeopardy because of the toxic chemicals inside.

From cleansers to cosmetics, the personal care products lurking in your home may contain known cancer-causing chemicals and other toxins. Make the switch (today), because the use of chemical-free shampoo and other natural personal care products will greatly reduce your exposure to harmful substances.

Are you using these cancer-causing (toxic) personal care ingredients?

1. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): These closely related chemicals pop up in everything from industrial soaps to toothpaste, and are contained in nearly all shampoos and foaming products. They are known to cause skin irritation, serious eye damage, diarrhea, breathing difficulty – even death – in laboratory animals.

The American College of Toxicology has found these chemicals can cause malformation in the eyes of children, while other research shows SLS in particular can damage the immune system, potentially leaving the body open to damage, disorders and disease, including cancer. Toxic residues can be left behind in the heart, brain and liver.

2. FD&C color pigments: They may seem like harmless colorants, but the many pigments finding their way into personal care products can damage the skin. In addition, it’s been shown that absorption of some of these colorants can deplete the body of oxygen, and in extreme cases, lead to death. The majority of these pigments are made from coal tar – a substance known to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

3. Isopropyl alcohol: How many times have you noticed this chemical listed on the ingredients of lotions, fragrances, cosmetics and similar products? You might think because of its widespread use that isopropyl alcohol is safe. But in reality, this petroleum-derived substance is the same chemical used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac. Both inhalation and ingestion are dangerous – leading to dizziness, depression, vomiting, nausea and coma.

4. Polyethylene glycol (PEG): These hard-working chemicals are used to dissolve oil and grease, as well as thicken products. They are even used as oven cleaners. Yet, PEGs also find their way into many of the personal care products you use every day. Potentially carcinogenic, PEGs are known to damage the immune system and exposure can lead to cancer.

5. Chlorine: Despite being used in swimming pools, laundry products, sewage systems and tap water – among other applications – chlorine is far from harmless. This chemical is widely known to cause delirium, diabetes, high blood pressure, circulatory collapse, and a host of other serious conditions. It is also a likely carcinogen. While you may not see chlorine on product labels, it’s important that you protect your skin from contact with it.

6. DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (momoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine): You will often find these acronyms listed in conjunction with other ingredients on product labels. These chemicals are carcinogens and known as hormone-disrupting chemicals. They, too, are frequently found in products that foam, such as bubble baths, body washes and shampoos.

Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois, has noted that repeated skin exposure can lead to a significant increase in the rates of liver and kidney cancers in particular.

7. Mineral oil and baby oil: What can be more harmless than something known as baby oil, marketed to protect an infant’s skin? Baby oil is still 100 percent mineral oil, a commonly used petroleum-based ingredient that is also used to make plastic wrap.

Like plastic wrap, it robs your skin’s natural ability to breathe and release toxins. It can also slow down cell development, leading to breakdown of cells and premature aging.

8. Fragrance: It’s difficult to find a personal care product that doesn’t contain some sort of fragrance, from baby lotion to deodorants. Unfortunately, a surprising number of the compounds used in fragrance are themselves carcinogenic or toxic.

In truth, most fragrances are synthetic chemicals. Clinical studies have shown that repeated exposure can affect the central nervous system, causing depression hyperactivity, irritability, and behavioral problems.

9. Propylene glycol (PG): Commonly found in products as a “wetting” agent or solvent, you may be surprised to learn that PG is also the active component in antifreeze. In fact, there is no difference in the industrial product and the personal care product ingredient.

While known to break down protein and cellular structure, it is still found in a multitude of skin and hair products, including cosmetics.

By the way, did you know that the EPA requires that workers wear protective gear when working around these chemicals – to guard against brain, liver and kidney damage? Yet, you won’t find any such warning on your stick of deodorant.

10. Imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin: These compounds are just a few of the many preservatives found in personal care products that are known to release formaldehyde – which has been shown to damage the respiratory system and cause heart palpitations, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Other complications brought on by exposure include rash, joint pain, depression, headaches, chest pains, and sleep loss, to name a few. Exposure has also been shown to weaken the immune system, known to increase the risk of cancer.

Unfortunately, these compounds are still found in nearly all brands of skin and hair care products. Don’t wait for government health agencies to protect your health. Educate yourself and invest in all-natural products. Your body will thank you.

Editor’s note: Are you looking for the best personal care products on the market?  Shop Just Natural– which offers the purest plant oils, butters, botanical extracts and essential oils from the best that nature has to offer.  Non-GMO and chemical free products.  And, yes, your purchases (at no extra cost to you) helps to support our operations.  Thank you.


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  • Edward Foley

    It seems that fragrance resonates not only on a personal level, but as a household experience. The new kid on the block is new PureFresh toilet seat by Kohler. It will have a seat with built-in technology, which can deodorized bathroom air though a carbon filter and integrated fan that will direct air over a scent pack.

    Procter and Gamble will now offer consumers to ways to scent their house and partner with these companies. They have also scented their Charmin toilet paper. There may be no way to escape these scented products when shopping for household products.

  • Roberto H

    The cosmetic and personal care industry doesn’t understand safety issues. They look at the physical properties as far as looking for impurities, stability boiling point, freezing point for items used in the personal care market.

    This does not mean that they look at biological effects. They have no way to do an overall evaluation on what level of exposure to the chemicals are safe. The other issue is the chance that the compounds used are potential unsafe when the exposure level is high.

    Since toiletries and now many household items being used are chemical concoctions, which we inhale, absorb and will find there way into our drinking water there is no level of safety that can be tested.

  • Jolie Baker

    Innovation in the personal care market means thickeners, stabilizers, preservatives, silicone, artificial colors, emusifiers, polyethylenes and fragrance. There are better solutions to keeping our house clean and our family healthy.

  • sunny733

    Thank you, if I can’t read them, I don’t buy them. I also make my personal products now, anyway.


  • MrsVL

    Thank you for all your great information! I read this regularly and try to be as informed as possible, but wish you could also tell us where to buy products without these toxic chemicals in them. I know you don’t like to ‘endorse’ products, but there is so many choices out there and it’s so time consuming, that it would be helpful to know where to get products that are good and safe for you. Thank you.

  • SMorganWriting

    If you’re concerned about chemicals try this super list of natural beauty products we shared facebook. com/permalink.php?story_fbid=743187225757576&id=686367121439587

  • Paige Tobin

    I think consumers can set the standard. We talk with our pocketbook and companies listen. More people than ever want green products. Companies now use words like botanical ingredients. There are companies, which are getting the message and offering more natural products along with organic formulations.

    Its up to the consumer to read the labels and do the research.