Welcome to a chemical free life.
Are There Potentially Harmful Chemicals In My Personal Care Products?
Here are some substances commonly found in personal care items that could be harmful. This list is not intended to scare you, but to educate you on a few ingredients to look out for. In fact, according to the CDC, "a measurable amount of a compound in a person's body does not mean it causes disease or other damage." I have not listed every chemical that I read about in my research, but mainly those that negatively affect our general health, our skin or have irritating effects for asthmatics.
- SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is found in toothpaste, shampoo, dish soap, liquid hand soap, bubble bath, and some nutritional supplements. It dries out the lining of mouth (making it susceptible to canker sores), dries skin and causes it to flake and become rough.
- Propylene Glycol is a humectant (which prevents drying out) used in deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and shaving gels. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, this irritant causes a significant number of reactions, including skin dehydration and thickening of the skin, even at low concentrations (below 2%).
- Aluminum Chlorohydrate is found in many anti-perspirants and prevents pores from perspiring. It is easily absorbed through the skin, particularly when the underarms have been recently shaved. In a 2004 clinical trial aluminum chlorohydrate was linked with higher risks of Alzheimer's.
- Phthalates (plastic softener, solvent) have been making news recently. A recent study by Swedish researchers published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that higher concentrations of phthalates were associated with symptoms of asthma, hay fever, and eczema. Phthalates are found in hair spray, deodorant, nail polish, hair gel, mousse, hand lotion, body lotion, and perfume, as well as children's toys and PVC plastic. Unfortunately, they're rarely listed on ingredient lists. In addition to asthma and eczema, phthalates have also been shown to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system.
- Mineral Oil makes skin feel soft and smooth and is found in liquid foundations, blush, skin creams and baby oil. Ironically, mineral oil, a derivative of petroleum, can also dehydrate skin by inhibiting oils you produce naturally.
- Fragrances (synthetic) are used in most personal care products unless labeled as truly fragrance free, or only using natural essential oils for fragrance. Synthetic fragrances are made up of hundreds of chemicals.
- Formaldehyde (preservative, fixative, disinfectant) is found in shampoo, nail care, cosmetics. Formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and weaken the immune system.
- Coal tar dye is most commonly used in D&C Blue #1, Green #3, Yellow#5, Yellow #6, Red #33, and phenylenediamine. It is found in shampoos, especially dandruff shampoos, bubble bath, toothpaste and hair dyes. Coal tar dye can cause severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, nervousness, and lack of concentration.
- Alcohol acts as a solvent and is found in mouthwash, astringents and facial cleansers, as well as some toothpaste. The National Cancer Institute (4/22/91) cites alcohols in this context as implicated in mouth, tongue and throat cancers (women have 90% higher risk; men have 60% higher risk than non-mouthwash users). Used on skin, alcohol strips away natural protecting oils, and when ingested, may cause body tissues to be more vulnerable to carcinogens. Damaged skin generally takes 24 hours to repair itself.
The excerpt above came from National Allergy: http://www.natlallergy.com/article.asp?ai=167#ixzz2CmlWDSLc