Could your shampoo be increasing your risk of
developing cancer? Or your moisturizer? Many personal care products you use
daily pose a danger to your health. Ingredients that are banned in Europe
for use in personal care products such as shampoos, deodorants, and body
lotions, are sold to unsuspecting Americans every day. Several of these
products are probably in your home right now.
Some contain a cocktail of harmful ingredients,
including DEA (diethanolamine), pthalates, formaldehyde, benzene,
para-dioxane, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate,
and petroleum, parabens. They have all been linked to many diseases,
Personal care products aren’t regulated by the FDA
for safety. According to the Environmental Working Group, only about 11
percent of the over 10,500 ingredients used in personal products have been
tested for safety.
The following are some of the most frequent
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is an
ingredient used in commercial shampoos, but it's also used in engine
degreasers. It can be stored throughout the body including in the eyes,
brain, heart, and liver, and can even change genetic information in cells.
It can react with other ingredients in shampoos and body cleansers to form
carcinogenic nitrates and dioxins. With just one shampooing, large numbers
of nitrates can be absorbed by the skin and enter the blood supply.
Propylene glycol. Propylene is a major
ingredient in industrial antifreeze as well as brake and hydraulic fluid. In
personal care products, it helps retain moisture. It’s used in toothpastes,
deodorants, lotions and shampoos, and it can cause kidney and liver damage.
Para-dioxane. Para-dioxane, also known as
1,4-dioxane, is a probable carcinogen that is found in some children’s
shampoos at levels above those deemed safe by the FDA. In 2007, the Campaign
for Safe Cosmetics commissioned a study of baby-care products that found
1,4-dioxane in 67 percent of products tested. The Environmental Working
Group estimates that more than 25 percent of all personal-care products
contain the chemical. Personal care products containing para-dioxane have
been banned in Europe.
Diethanolamine (DEA). Cocoamide (from coconuts)
DEA is found in hundreds of personal care products and is probably in
your soap and shampoo. It causes cancer in rats when applied to the skin as
well as damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs.
Rules of thumb for avoiding harmful products:
• Buy products that have been tested for
safety. Synthetic chemicals are sometimes used for effectiveness of product
and are not harmful.
• Don’t buy highly scented products. They contain
volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which easily enter the bloodstream,
killing brain cells and causing cancer. Avoid products listing “perfume,”
“fragrance,” or “scent,” as ingredients. Unless they are essential oils.
Instead, choose products labeled “safety conscious
and not tested on animals”.
To use safe and healthy products without controversial ingredients, try