7 Ingredients to Ban From Your Bathroom

7 Ingredients to Ban From Your Bathroom

The following ingredients usually appear in the products we use daily
— shampoo, sunscreen and the like — and general scientific consensus
concludes that they’re best avoided:

Parabens are a synthetic preservative and
antimicrobial agent commonly found in personal-care products with high
water content: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, cleansers and body wash.
They also turn up in solid products like deodorant. They appear as
methyl-, ethyl-, butyl- or propylparaben. Studies have found that
parabens mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt normal hormone function,
and they have been found in breast-tumor biopsies.

Growing awareness about parabens has inspired a number of
manufacturers to banish them in favor of safer preservatives, while some
have simply accepted a shorter shelf life as the price of doing healthy
business. You can often find personal-care products labeled “paraben
free,” which will save you a little squinting in the product aisle.
Signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics have committed to avoiding
their use; you can find the list of these companies at http://www.safecosmetics.org.

Phthalates are plasticizers that stabilize scent in
perfume and color in cosmetics; they also keep nail polish from
chipping. You won’t find them listed on most labels, though they can be
present in almost every conceivable personal-care item hidden in the
ingredient “fragrance.” (Company formulas are legally protected as
proprietary information.) Multiple studies have linked phthalates to
depression of normal thyroid function and birth defects, mostly
affecting the genital development of young boys and sperm counts in
adult men.

Related: “Fragrances” to Avoid in All Products

Two kinds of phthalates commonly found in cosmetics were banned in
the EU with its recent cosmetic safety directive, forcing international
companies to reformulate their products for the European market. A
number of nail polish manufacturers have removed the “toxic trio” —
dibutyl phthalate, toluene (a solvent and neurotoxin) and formaldehyde —
from their nail polish formulas. Still, it’s smart to view nail polish
and products with caution, especially if you’re pregnant. Water-based
polishes are the most benign option.

Nanoparticles consist of ultra-tiny particles of common
ingredients and are used in everything from sports clothing to car
tires. They’re often found in sunscreen, to make it transparent instead
of white, and in anti-aging products to help them penetrate deeper skin
layers; they can be listed on labels as “microfine particles.” These
“penetration enhancers” are worrisome in the company of phthalates and
parabens. And, because they’re a new and quite powerful technology,
environmental-health experts are also concerned about their impact on
the environment once they’re washed into rivers and lakes. While the
particles alone have not been implicated in health issues, many experts
recommend waiting to use them until more studies have been completed.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is a synthetic
detergent and foaming agent connected to skin and eye irritation. It’s
also linked to the byproduct 1-4 dioxane, a suspected carcinogenic
contaminant produced by the ethoxylation process, used to make some
ingredients less harsh. (Sodium lauryl sulfate is converted to sodium
laureth sulfate, for example.) Ethoxylation is one reason why so many
“gentler” products — those with a natural slant or made especially for
kids — have turned up surprisingly high levels of toxins.

According to researchers at the Organic Consumers Association, who
conducted tests for 1-4 dioxane on hundreds of products from 16 major
brands in 2008, only 23 products were found to be free of 1-4 dioxane
contamination. Many companies have quit using ethoxylated ingredients
like sodium lauryl sulfate to avoid 1-4 dioxane contamination as well as
allergic reactions, and the standard for the Whole Foods Premium Body
Care Seal doesn’t allow it. Look for “-eth” at the end of other
ingredient names to detect this process.

Synthetic fragrances can contain as many as 200
ingredients that manufacturers are not required to disclose. A common
allergen, “fragrance” on an ingredient label is a reliable indicator
that the product contains phthalates, unless it’s clearly indicated that
the fragrance contains no synthetics. Higher-potency fragrances are the
likeliest suspects for high concentrations of phthalates. Sophie
Uliano, natural-beauty expert and author of Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple
Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life (HarperCollins, 2008), points out that
“fragrance-free” or “unscented” products aren’t always a dependable
alternative, since manufacturers sometimes use masking fragrances in
place of identifiable scents. Look for products that explicitly say “no
synthetic fragrances” or “natural essential oil fragrance only,” or try
to buy from companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are
emulsifiers and foaming agents typically found in shampoo and body wash.
They can produce allergic reaction as well as, ironically enough, hair
and skin dryness. They belong to the category of “nitrosamines” that
Uliano cautions against, which studies have shown can be carcinogenic.

Diazolidinyl and Imidazolidinyl Urea are frequently
used synthetic preservatives that can cause contact dermatitis and are
suspected formaldehyde releasers. They appear in sunscreen, lotion,
shampoo — the same places you’ll find parabens.

The number of personal-care ingredients with unknown or suspected
health effects is quite long; you can find a comprehensive list at

*****SUMMARY*****

The
following ingredients usually appear in the products we use daily —
shampoo, sunscreen and the like — and general scientific consensus
concludes that they’re best avoided:

Parabens are a synthetic preservative and
antimicrobial agent commonly found in personal-care products with high
water content: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, cleansers and body wash.
They also turn up in solid products like deodorant. They appear as
methyl-, ethyl-, butyl- or propylparaben. Studies have found that
parabens mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt normal hormone function,
and they have been found in breast-tumor biopsies.

Growing awareness about parabens has inspired a number of
manufacturers to banish them in favor of safer preservatives, while some
have simply accepted a shorter shelf life as the price of doing healthy
business. You can often find personal-care products labeled “paraben
free,” which will save you a little squinting in the product aisle.
Signers of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics have committed to avoiding
their use; you can find the list of these companies at http://www.safecosmetics.org.

Phthalates are plasticizers that stabilize scent in
perfume and color in cosmetics; they also keep nail polish from
chipping. You won’t find them listed on most labels, though they can be
present in almost every conceivable personal-care item hidden in the
ingredient “fragrance.” (Company formulas are legally protected as
proprietary information.) Multiple studies have linked phthalates to
depression of normal thyroid function and birth defects, mostly
affecting the genital development of young boys and sperm counts in
adult men.

Two kinds of phthalates commonly found in cosmetics were banned in
the EU with its recent cosmetic safety directive, forcing international
companies to reformulate their products for the European market. A
number of nail polish manufacturers have removed the “toxic trio” —
dibutyl phthalate, toluene (a solvent and neurotoxin) and formaldehyde —
from their nail polish formulas. Still, it’s smart to view nail polish
and products with caution, especially if you’re pregnant. Water-based
polishes are the most benign option.

Nanoparticles consist of ultra-tiny particles of
common ingredients and are used in everything from sports clothing to
car tires. They’re often found in sunscreen, to make it transparent
instead of white, and in anti-aging products to help them penetrate
deeper skin layers; they can be listed on labels as “microfine
particles.” These “penetration enhancers” are worrisome in the company
of phthalates and parabens. And, because they’re a new and quite
powerful technology, environmental-health experts are also concerned
about their impact on the environment once they’re washed into rivers
and lakes. While the particles alone have not been implicated in health
issues, many experts recommend waiting to use them until more studies
have been completed.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is a synthetic
detergent and foaming agent connected to skin and eye irritation. It’s
also linked to the byproduct 1-4 dioxane, a suspected carcinogenic
contaminant produced by the ethoxylation process, used to make some
ingredients less harsh. (Sodium lauryl sulfate is converted to sodium
laureth sulfate, for example.) Ethoxylation is one reason why so many
“gentler” products — those with a natural slant or made especially for
kids — have turned up surprisingly high levels of toxins.

According to researchers at the Organic Consumers Association, who
conducted tests for 1-4 dioxane on hundreds of products from 16 major
brands in 2008, only 23 products were found to be free of 1-4 dioxane
contamination. Many companies have quit using ethoxylated ingredients
like sodium lauryl sulfate to avoid 1-4 dioxane contamination as well as
allergic reactions, and the standard for the Whole Foods Premium Body
Care Seal doesn’t allow it. Look for “-eth” at the end of other
ingredient names to detect this process.

Synthetic fragrances can contain as many as 200
ingredients that manufacturers are not required to disclose. A common
allergen, “fragrance” on an ingredient label is a reliable indicator
that the product contains phthalates, unless it’s clearly indicated that
the fragrance contains no synthetics. Higher-potency fragrances are the
likeliest suspects for high concentrations of phthalates. Sophie
Uliano, natural-beauty expert and author of Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple
Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life (HarperCollins, 2008), points out that
“fragrance-free” or “unscented” products aren’t always a dependable
alternative, since manufacturers sometimes use masking fragrances in
place of identifiable scents. Look for products that explicitly say “no
synthetic fragrances” or “natural essential oil fragrance only,” or try
to buy from companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are
emulsifiers and foaming agents typically found in shampoo and body wash.
They can produce allergic reaction as well as, ironically enough, hair
and skin dryness. They belong to the category of “nitrosamines” that
Uliano cautions against, which studies have shown can be carcinogenic.

Diazolidinyl and Imidazolidinyl Urea are frequently
used synthetic preservatives that can cause contact dermatitis and are
suspected formaldehyde releasers. They appear in sunscreen, lotion,
shampoo — the same places you’ll find parabens.

The number of personal-care ingredients with unknown or suspected
health effects is quite long; you can find a comprehensive list at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-ingredients-to-ban-from-your-bathroom.html#ixzz19zp4zorI

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