Test your Home Chemical IQ
Ready for a Chemical IQ test? Take a look at the products you have in the bathroom, kitchen and especially in your makeup case or toiletry bag. Give yourself a point for products that contain the following:
- DEA, TEA, MEA
- Synthetic Colors
- Artificial Fragrance
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Do you have more than 10 points? Well, you’re not alone. We live in a toxic world with cheap, synthetic, nasty chemicals poisoning us daily.
Women use an average of 12 personal care products daily, and men are catching up with seven. These chemicals are found in toothpaste, shampoos, body wash, toners, makeup, deodorant and lip gloss to name a few. It’s time to start reading labels and paying closer attention to what we’re using on our skin. After all, it is our largest organ.
What we put on our skin is just as important –if not more important – than what we eat. Ever wonder how the birth control patch or nicorette patch works? It’s transdermal, applied to the skin and absorbed directly into the blood stream – the same way chemically laden cosmetics are applied, working their way directly into your blood stream and wreaking havoc in your body. It’s called “transdermic penetration”, the term used to describe what happens to products that we put on our skin.
Aluminium is a toxic metal that may be implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (Krop, 2002).
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate is used mainly in shampoos and has the ability to bind to dirt like a magnet, which is then rinsed from the hair scalp.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone causes cosmetic allergies.It’s found in many water-based personal care products and cosmetics (Reinhard et al, 2001). According to the EWG website, this chemical is frequently used in shampoos, conditioners, hair color, bleaching body wash, cleansers and facial cleansers. Methylchloroisothiazolinone is also used in glue production, detergents, paints, fuels and other industrial processes.
According to Vance (1999), BHT is a synthetic antioxidant used to prevent oxidation of oils in cosmetics. It’s derived from petroleum, toxic by ingestion and may cause allergic contact dermatitis. Animal tests have linked BHT to cancer and brain and nervous system effects, even at low doses.
Parabens are used as preservatives in cosmetics. A 2004 study found parabens in the tumors of 19 out of 20 women with breast cancer. In the Journal of Applied Toxicology (2004, 24,50) researchers studies breast tumors from 20 patients and detected the presence of minute amounts of parabens.
Found in most things that foam. Can cause skin rashes, lung and skin irritations.
TEA (triethanolamine) is often used in cleansers and in cosmetics to adjust pH. It may cause allergic reactions, dry skin and eye irritations.
Chemicals used in products usually labelled as FD&C or D&C, then followed by a number (e.g., FD&C 4).
Made from petroleum products and can strip and irritate the skin, cause headaches and lead to asthmatic complications.
Found in nail polish, perfumes, hair spray and lotions. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive birth defects, low sperm count and hormonal imbalance. Some researchers theorize that underarm cosmetics might be a cause of breast cancer because these cosmetics contain a variety of chemicals that are applied frequently to an area directly adjacent to the breast.
Here are a few suggestions on making your home “chemical-free”:
- Become a more educated consumer
- Make your own products
- Use unscented products
- Shop in natural food stores and holistic pharmacies
- How do you protect yourself from these nasty chemicals? Be your own advocate. Read the labels of everything you put on your skin and buy natural and organic skincare products – and say “Goodbye, parabens”, “Hello, phthalate-free”!
Baur, A.K. et al., “The lung tumor promoter, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), causes chronic inflammation in promotion-sensitive BALB/cByJ mice but not in promotion-resistant CXB4 mice,” Toxicology 169, no. 1 (December 2001): 1-15. Deacon, G. (2008): There’s Lead in your Lipstick: Toronto: Penguin Canada Released: Dec 28th, 2010 ... Cosmetics Info 2011).Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. Retrieved from cosmeticsinfo.org | davidsuzuki.org Fewings, J. and Menné, T. (1999), An update of the risk assessment for methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) with focus on rinse-off products. Contact Dermatitis, 41:1–13. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0536.1999.tb06200.x Helmut Fiege, Heinz-Werner Voges, Toshikazu Hamamoto, Sumio Umemura, Tadao Iwata, Hisaya Miki, Yasuhiro Fujita, Hans-Josef Buysch, Dorothea Garbe, Wilfried Paulus "Phenol Derivatives" Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2002. doi:10.1002/14356007.a19_313Article Online Posting Date: June 15, 2000.
Household Products Database – Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (2007)Retreived f from http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=chem&id=5&query=Ammonium+Lauryl+Sulfate. Retrieved 2007-01-25.
Krop. J., (2002). Healing the Planet One Patient at a time. Canada: KOS Publishing. Murray, Michael, N.D. & , Pizzorno, Joseph N.D., (1997). Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. New York: Random House. U.S. National Library of Medicine, in Haz-Map: Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents, 2010, http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov Reinhard et al.: "Preservation of products with MCI/MI in Switzerland". Contact Dermatitis.2001 Nov;45(5):257-64. PMID 11722483
Vance, J. (1999). Beauty to Die for: The Cosmetic Consequence New York: Promotion Publishing. Zoller L, Bergman R, Weltfriend S. (2006). "Preservatives sensitivity in Israel: a 10 year overview (1995-2004)". Contact Dermatitis 55 (4): 227–9. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0536.2006.00902.x. PMID16958921.