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12 Common Toiletries and their chemicals of concern

Toxic Toiletries ~ How many of these 12 do you use?

How Many Of These 12 Do You Use?

We all want to look great and smell good, but at what cost to our health? Not enough research is being done into the chemicals of concern in the cosmetics and toiletries we use every day. But it is starting.

Johnson & Johnson pledged in August 2012 to eliminate formaldehyde, parabens, triclosan and phthalates from all baby products. For adult products, it has removed triclosan and phthalates, but will keep using three parabens, and use formaldehyde in exceptional cases where other preservatives won´t work, according to the company’s new policy.

Both the Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are on the case too in America. In 2013 the World Health Organisation said that hormone disrupters like parabens, BPA and phthalates had to go. And in July 2013 Triclosan was shown to cause muscle damage that could affect the heart.

Although the doses in each product may be minimal, the EU MPs have already voted to kick out 1000 or more chemicals of concern and replace them with safer alternatives. The REACH project set up to achieve this may take 15 years to complete. Watch out for chemicals of concern and spread the word. So let´s see what some common products may contain:

Red = In high doses deemed carcinogenic, neurotoxic and causes mutation of DNA

Green = Possibly carcinogenic, or often contaminated with carcinogens, or can form carcinogenic by products when mixed with other ingredients.

Blue = Skin irritant (note some red and green ones are also irritants)

1: Toothpaste
Saccharin, fluoride, artificial colours and flavours, propylene glycol (cosmetic form of mineral oil used in industrial anti-freeze), PEG ingredients, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES), triclosan (absorption through the skin can lead to liver damage).

Remember the quickest way into the bloodstream is through the lining of the mouth!

2: Deodorants & Antiperspriants
Formaldehyde (has caused lung cancer in rats and can damage DNA. It is banned in Japan and Sweden), aluminium (links to cancer and Alzheimer´s disease), propylene glycol, fragrance. alcohol, triclosan, parabens.

3: Shampoo & Conditioner
Formaldehyde (quaternium). PEG. fragrance (95% of the chemicals in perfume are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum - 26 of which are on an EU hit list), artificial colours, lanolin oil, propylene glycol. BHT. alcohol. isopropanol, paraffin (mineral oil). TEA, MEA, SLS, SLES (these can all lead to potentially carcinogenic cocktails of nitrites and dioxins forming by reading with other ingredients), cocamidopropyl betaine.

4: Shaving Products
Propylene glycol. PEG ingredients. DEA, paraffin, "eth" ingredients,TEA, MEA, SLS. SLES, Benzophenone 3, parabens, glycerin.

5: Lipstick
Mineral oil. petrolatum. fragrance, lanolin. Butylated hydroxya nisole(BHA). titanium dioxide, padimate-O, polyethylene, polyvinyl pyrro Ii done (PVP) (reports suggest that PVP may cause tumours and that inhaling its particles may be harmful), oxybenzone.

6: Shower Gel / Liquid Soaps
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate(SLS), Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate(SLES), proplylene glycol. PEG ingredients. quaternium. alcohol, artificial colours, fragrance, DEA, TEA. MEA, triclosan, parabens, glycerin.

Considering Going Toxin Free? Start with our Products of Choice. Click here

7: Foundation
Talc, titanium dioxide, quaternium (formaldehyde). artificial colours, PEG ingredients, propylene glycol (cosmetic form of mineral oil), silica (may be contaminated with cystalline quartz which is carcinogenic). fragrance, diazolidinyl urea, silica ,parabens, glycerin. Foundation is the most dangerous thing in your make-up bag.

8: Hair Spray
Fragrance, alcohol, methylene chloride, toluene, ether.

9: Hair Dyes
Phenylenediamine (ppd can cause blindness on eye contact), coal tars, hydroxyanisole (affects the female reproductive system). paraffinum Iiquidum (mineral oil), fragrance, quaternium, PEG ingredients. "eth" ingredients, glycerin. Various medical reports have linked prolonged use of some dark hair dyes to bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin´s lymphoma, ovarian cancer and leukaemia.

10: Mouthwash
Alcohol (mouthwashes with an alcohol content of more than 2S% have been linked to mouth, tongue, oesophageal and throat cancers), fluoride, PEG ingredients, artificial colours.

11: Nail Varnish
Formaldehyde. toluene (methyl benzene. phenyl methane a neurotoxin which can damage the liver, disrupt the endocrine system and cause asthma. Breathing high levels during pregnancy can result in children with birth defects). isopropanol acetone, acetonitrile (forms cyanide when swallowed), ethyl & methyl methacrylate.

12: Talc & Baby Powder
Talc (linked to the increase in ovarian cancer. It blocks the pores when used in make-up and is may be dangerous when inhaled), fragrance. propylene glycol.


Phthalates do not appear on ingredients lists, but are hormone disrupters and can be leached from plastic bottles especially if heated (for example in a hot window). Animal studies have shown they can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system.

For information about toxin-free products follow this link.

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