Friday, November 2, 2007


Many chemicals used in cosmetics and cleaning products are "oestrogen mimics" and can increase suceptibility to cancer. Women and young girls use an average of 12 personal care products a day. What does this mean? It means that young woman around the globe are putting themselves at risk everytime they use a product that isn't natural.

Many of the so-called "soaps" you see at the supermarket are in fact detergents and not soap. One reason to buy handmade natural soaps is to avoid being exposed to harmful chemicals that exists in store bought detergents. Detergents are made from petroleum products and many contain parabens as a preservative; both are linked to cancer.

Nearly 90% of ingredients used in cosmetics/personal care products have not been safety tested and those ingredients that have shown to be estrogenic, like parabens, are not being pulled off the shelves. One way to protect yourself is to limit the chemicals you expose your body to.

Here are list of those most commonly used and some of the most dangerous chemicals lurking in our daily products:

Parabens: founds mainly in deoderants and moisturizers. Studies show parabens to be estrogen mimics and are absorbed through the skin.

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA): Often used as an emulsifier or foaming agent. Toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.

Phthalates: Used in hairspray, perfume, nail polish. Causes endocrine damage, particularly bad for children. They've been banned from children's toys but not from cosmetics and skin care products.

Triclosan: Found in deoderants, toothpaste, liquid soaps and mouthwashes. Sometimes isn't listed on ingredient list due to the "trade secret" protection. Dioxins linked to cancer are formed when it is manufactured or incinerated. Has been found in breastmilk.

Alkyl phenol ethoxylates: Used in shampoos, hair colours, shaving gels. This chemical is a hormone dysruptor, extremely toxic to fish and builds up in the body over time and doesn't break down quickly.

Toluene and Xylene: Woman exposed to this chemical may suffer miscarriage. Found in nail polish. Attacks the central nervous system, eyes, blood, liver, kidneys.

Formaldehyde: Commonly used in deoderants and nail polish. A human carcinogen. Can trigger asthma. Can damage DNA.

Petroleum Distillates: Possible human carcinogen. Found in mineral oil and petroleum jelly products. Prohibited for use in cosmetics in the Europen Union but not in the US. Can be found in mascara, perfume, foundation, lipstick and lipbalm.

Source: Kindred Magazine

To check on the safety report of thousands of cosmetics and other body products check out: COSMETIC SAFETY DATABASE


playing with soap said...

It's unbelievable and unfortunate how much toxins we are exposed to in a daily basis.

Carrie Garvin said...

Thank you for passing this info on. It really is scaring when the facts are in front of you.

Anne-Marie said...

---Nearly 90% of ingredients used in cosmetics/personal care products have not been safety tested---

I'd be surprised if this statistic was really true. Think about what you put in your lotions - every single ingredient, including the parabens, have been tested for safety. I can't think of anything I make using Bramble Berry products that doesn't come with an MSDS sheet and testing data.

That said, it IS important to read labels and make sure what you're putting in your body is healthy and good as it can be. And then follow that up with a balanced diet, exercise and stress reduction practices and you'll be well on your way to living til you're 120!

Michelle said...

I've followed much of the research on the ingredients used in many products (body, household) for several years (17 to be exact). Much of what we use is never tested for safety and those that have been tested (synthetic ingredients) is not shown to be safe. On top of that, scientists have now revealed that it isn't the individual ingredient we should fear as much as the cocktail affect of the ingredients that are absorbed into our bodies.

I realize that most people don't want to believe that the products they use on their bodies or in their homes daily can be contributing factors to their allergies, asthma, hormonal disorders, cancers, etc...but the proof is there and it cannot be denied.

The environmental working group is not the first nor will they be the last to expose what synthetic ingredients do to our bodies.

The FDA is understaffed and overworked, they don't have the time or the resources to complete studies on half of what we use or consume so its up to organizations like the environmental working group to do the research for us.

As far as parabens having been proven to be safe for use in body products. I don't think finding parabens in the cells of breast cancer tissue is safe at. It may not be proven that the parabens caused the cancer but it is quite disturbing to know that the parabens were present. It doesn't hurt to eliminate the use of products that contain parabens but it could hurt to continue using them.

I think another important piece of information is that the Cosmetic products and ingredients do not require premarket approval by the FDA. The companies marketing the products are the ones responsible for substantiating the safety of their products and ingredients. And can we really trust them? How can we when half of the ingredients used in a particular product are kept private due to the "trade secret" rule.

Michelle said...

I just found this and wanted to share. I'd be interested to read more of your thoughts on this AM. Its a good discussion.

Only 11 percent of the 10,500 chemical ingredients
used in personal-care products in the U.S. -- a category that
includes deodorant, toothpaste, and makeup -- have been tested for
safety, and those tests were not overseen by the feds but rather by
an industry scientific review board

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) is introducing a bill that increases FDA regulation of personal care products and cosmetics, including baby products. This legislation would enable FDA to ensure that all ingredients contained in personal care products, including cosmetics, are safe for use by children and adults. Chemicals that cause cancer in people or animals would be banned from use in personal care products. Today, the FDA doesn't require studies or testing to determine a product's safety before a cosmetic product is put on the shelves of a pharmacy or grocery store.

"The government's falling down on the job when children are being exposed to untested products and chemicals that are supposed to clean and protect them. Parents deserve a government they can trust to screen these products thoroughly and ensure their safety. You don't leave our kids' safety to the marketing gurus and cosmetics executives and hope for the best, " said Kerry.

Anne-Marie said...

Thanks for the additional info. I guess Bramble Berry's been really lucky. All the products we stock (and to be fair, we carry only the very basics compared to what's out there to formulate with) come with reams of testing data and MSDS sheets and certification.

It's definitely something to look into further (the 89% of ingredients not being tested for safety).

Thanks for doing the legwork on this.

Michelle said...

Thanks AM,
Its great to know brambleberry follows up with their products :)

playing with soap said...

When I tell people that handmade soaps have a shelf life, it becomes such a turn off. Many expect long term shelf life for many products, including food. It appears to me that they are willing to exchange long term shelf life with their own lives.


Michelle said...

I have the same experience with people Steph and isn't is sad. I even talked to a group of ladies about this stuff and all I kept hearing was "don't tell me this stuff your scaring me and I don't want to know."

Nappily Evah Aftah said...

Yep. Folks don't understand that we pay, for foods/products to have a long shelf life — with our health.

Michelle said...

Good point! You said it perfectly!