We've talked about great personal care products that don't have nasty chemicals in them, but I don't think I've ever mentioned precisely what those chemicals are. It is important to know what to look for so that you can avoid them as best as possible.
There are obviously many more than just 12 chemicals that you should avoid, but this particular twelve is the worst. Coined the 'dirty dozen', they are the ones you want to do without at all costs. These ingredients have it all; carcinogens, heavy metals, neurotoxins, heck some of them even affect the male reproductive system. So boys, if the rest of it doesn't scare you -- think about that one for a moment.
1. BHA and BHT: A preservative found most commonly in moisturizers and makeup. Suspected to be an endocrine disruptor and may cause cancer
2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number Can cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals.
3. DEA related ingredients: If your product is creamy or foams - you might just find this in it. May cause cancer and doesn't do very nice things to wildlife. (Also keep your eyes peeled for MEA and TEA)
4. Dibutyl phthalate: This one will pop up in nail care products; it's toxic to your reproductive system and is suspected to disrupt endocrines. Again, not so good for wildlife.
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Yup, there are some preservatives that slowly release formaldehyde, which every grade school kid knows is a carcinogen. (But if you disguise it with fancy sounding names it obviously does something different... right?) Ingredients to look for; DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15 -- these won't just be found in one or two things, it crops up in a whole plethora of cosmetics.
6. Parabens: More and more people are becoming aware of this one. Their joy in life? Interfering with the male reproductive system. (Isn't amazing that any of us have kids at all?) It is also a suspected endocrine disruptor. It is found in many cosmetics, take a particular look at your shampoos!
7. Parfum: (a.k.a. fragrance) If it smells, and even sometimes if it doesn't -- you may find fragrance ingredients that can not only trigger allergies and asthma, but may also be linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Once again, your favorite wild animals aren't going to approve of many of these chemicals
8. PEG compounds: These lovely chemicals, found in creams, can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a potential carcinogen.
9. Petrolatum: It makes your hair shiny and your skin moist so not only will it be found in hair products but also lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. It can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
10. Siloxanes: If an ingredient ends in "-siloxane" or "-methicone", look out! You'll find them in cosmetics meant to soften, smooth and moisten. They are suspected endocrine disruptors and reproductive toxicants.
11. Sodium laureth sulfate: Used in cosmetics that foam, it can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a potential carcinogen.
12. Triclosan: If your product is labelled antibacterial, it might contain this chemical. It is a suspected endocrine disruptor and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
This list is from David Suzuki's website -- if you want to check out the original or perhaps find more information then that is the place to go. Click Here to View.
For anyone who is curious; the endocrine system is what regulates the hormones that in turn regulate your body's functions. (A slightly important part...)
Also, a carcinogen is something that can cause cancer.
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