The Dirty Dozen

I am constantly on the lookout for beauty products that don’t have any chemicals in them, let alone the really harmful ones.  While I was doing the research over the last year my personal list for chemicals to avoid became many pages long, to the point where I decided to attempt to avoid them period.  I acknowledge this is no easy, quick, or cheap feat.  Why do we really need chemicals in our beauty products anyway and doesn’t it seem counter productive?   Since you will find me on this soap box a lot I thought I would at least share the list of the ‘dirty dozen’ with you so that if you aren’t going to go totally granola as I’m attempting you can at least avoid the worst of them.

BHA and BHT: carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting (may cause cancer and interferes with hormone function)

P-Phenyl-Enediamine (coal tar dyes), colours identified as “CI” followed by a five diget number: carcinogenic and some may be contaminated with heavy metals that are neurotoxic

Cyclomethicone and Siloxanes: endocrine disrupting, may damage the liver, harmful to wildlife

DEA, MEA, and TEA: can react with other chemicals to form cancer causing nitrosamines, harmful to wildlife

Dibutyl Phthalate: endocrine disrupting, toxic to reproductive systems

DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methenamine, or Quarternium-15 (all formaldehyde releasing preservatives): formaldehyde is carcinogenic

Parabens (all): endocrine disrupting, linked to breast cancer

Parfum or Fragrance: carcinogenic, neurotoxic, allergy and asthma irritant, harmful to wildlife

PEG: usually contains 1,4-dioxane which may cause cancer

SLS and SLES (sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate): usually contains 1,4-dioxane which may cause cancer, damaging to the liver, harmful to wildlife

Triclosan: endocrine disrupting, contributes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, harmful to wildlife (this is in almost EVERYTHING that says ‘anti-bacterial’ on it)

Petrolatum (petroleum): carcinogenic

Most of these chemicals are also bioaccumulative which means as you use them the concentrations in your body continually build up; they also enter our water system contaminating our wildlife, like fish, which we then eat.  So, while the levels of these chemicals in one product may be deemed safe by the powers that be the cumulative effect certainly isn’t.

I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is yes; all those Bath & Body Works hand soaps and lotions that say ‘anti-bacterial all have triclosan in them.  I banished all things BBW from our home about a year ago.

You know what else all those products have in them, and lots of it…fragrance.  This one is hard to avoid but it is one of the worst.  Companies are not required to state what chemicals actually go in their ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ because these are considered trade secrets.  There are over 5000 chemicals that can be used in fragrance and one scent may have hundreds chemicals in it; less than 20% have ever been tested and most are known to be toxic.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) listed 20 common perfume ingredients on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list, such as benzene, benzyl alcohol, limonene, acetone, ethanol, and formaldehyde.  Even companies that market themselves as earth friendly and all natural like Burt’s Bees put fragrance in their products.  SHAME!!

Now, go have a peek in your bathroom cabinet; I guarantee you that every single product in there will have at least fragrance in it.  If you have a product that has a number of the above chemicals in it together I urge you to purge!  We need to stop poisoning ourselves and our planet.