Have I got your attention? Never really thought about how your cosmetics or personal care products affect your health and your fertility. Well it is time to think about it.
We use many different personal care products daily, from shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, toothpaste, body lotion, deodorant, make up, hair products, perfume and so on. Most of these you use before you even step out your front door to start your day.
So why are they a problem? Well to put it simply these products are chemical concoctions which are not required to undergo testing before they are put on the shelves for you to buy. The Environmental Working Group suggests people apply an average of 126 unique ingredients on their skin daily and these chemicals, which are absorbed by our bodies, rinsed down the drain and flushed down the drain in human excretions, are causing big problems not only to human health, but they also impact wildlife, rivers and streams.
So just how do they effect fertility? When these chemicals are applied to the skin, the body absorbs them and stores them in fatty tissues and organs such as the liver, kidney, brain and reproductive organs. According to the Environmental Working Group, in August 2005, scientists published a study finding a relationship between plasticizers called phthalates and feminization of U.S. male babies, naming fragrance as a possible culprit. And when estrogenic industrial chemicals called parabens were found in human breast tumor tissue earlier this year, researchers questioned if deodorant was the source. And then, when studies show, again and again, that hormone systems in wildlife are thrown in disarray by common water pollutants, once again the list of culprits include personal care products, rinsing down drains and into rivers. We cannot ignore this research. If the hormone systems in wildlife have been thrown off, can you image the effect on our hormones when we apply these chemicals to our bodies on a daily basis?
The connections are there, so it is time to sit up and take notice. So just what should you be looking to avoid when you look at an ingredient list on a cosmetic product? Here are some of the chemicals you want to avoid:
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) – human carcinogen, causes brain and liver tumors in animals at low doses, endocrine disruptor, causes contact dermatitis and skin depigmentation, persistent environmental toxin.
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) – endocrine disruptor, skin and lung toxicant at low doses, causes death, liver and stomach cancers, thrombosis, fibrosis and liver and brain damage in animals, strong, skin and eye irritant.
Dibutyl phthalate – neurotoxin, linked to impaired fertility and urinary abnormalities, linked to breast and ovarian cancer, contaminates wildlife.
EDTA – neurotoxin linked to brain damage in animals, caused liver changed and endocrine damage in animals, caused fetal death and birth abnormalities in animals, made from formaldehyde and the kicker, approved for use in cosmetics and baby food.
Oxybenzone – endocrine disruptor, produces free radicals that can increase skin aging, environmental toxicant.
Parabens – all of them including butyl, ethyl, isobutyl, methyl, propyl, are skin and eye irritants, endocrine disruptors linked to breast and ovarian cancer, environmental contaminant.
Padimate O (Octyl Dimethyl PABA/PABA Ester) – has estrogenic activity, releases free radicals which damage DNA when exposed to sunlight, causes allergic reactions.
PEG (with any number after it) – often contaminated with 1,4-Dioxine, which may cause cancer, suspected endocrine disruptor, linked to cancer in animals, skin and eye irritant.
Phthlates (commonly hiding under the word “fragrance”) – reproductive toxins
Triclosan – endocrine disruptor, affects thyroid hormone, caused fetal death in animals, strong skin irritant, environmental toxicant.
These are just a few of the chemicals from The Green Beauty Guides 100 Toxic Chemicals You Don’t Want in Your Beauty Products. Yes, that is correct 100 toxic chemicals.
So just how do you avoid them? You read labels, if you can’t pronounce it, if you don’t know what it is, if it looks like only a scientist would know what it is or if you wouldn’t eat it, it is better left on the shelf.
There are products out there without these chemicals; you just need to look for them. And many times you can turn to your kitchen for alternatives. Coconut oil, almond oil and even olive oil, all make great moisturizers for face and body. You can make you own body scrubs, soothing eye masks, and so on. You can find easy recipes by doing an online search.
For more information on cosmetics and to see the test results of more than 65 000 products check out the Cosmetics Database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
The Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org
The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel
Kim Corrigan-Oliver is a first time mom and published author. She is a certified holistic nutritionist specializing in nutrition for mom, baby and toddler. She loves good food and to cook. And, she loves to share her passion for all of the above with those interested in learning more about feeding their babies and raising healthy happy children. For more information please check out her website at Your Green Baby.
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