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Top Five Chemicals to Avoid
August 23, 2007
There are thousands of dangerous chemicals in cosmetics today. I've chosen these top five based on their risk, and their widespread useage. Use this list as a guide to help you decipher if what you're buying is truly natural.
1. “Fragrance” can be one or more of 200 chemicals. Companies don't have to disclose the actual components of each fragrance, under the guise that their fragrances are trade secrets. Fragrance has been known to cause many side effects, including headaches and allergic reactions. Why put an unknown synthetic chemical on your skin when you don’t have to? The Environmental Working Group has an extensive database of cosmetic chemicals and their corresponding danger rankings. "Fragrance" recieves one of the highest rankings possible in their score system. For more on fragrance, read my article.
2. Methylparaben, or anything ending in “paraben.” These preservatives act like estrogen in the body, throwing off hormonal balance. Parabens have been shown to accumulate in cancerous breast tumors. For more, read this article.
3. Tetrasodium EDTA is a preservative that’s made from the known carcinogen, formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. (see how) It is also a penetration enhancer, meaning it breaks down the skin's protective barrier, going right into your bloodstream. Many companies trying to be "natural" will use Tetrasodium EDTA instead of parabens to preserve their products. In my opinion, Tetrasodium EDTA is just as bad.
4. Diazolidinyl Urea readily breaks down in the product or on the skin and releases formaldehyde. It's an endocrine disruptor, a possible neurotoxin, a known immune system toxicant, and has a possible link to cancer. Even supposedly natural companies such as Shikai and Blue Lizard use the ingredient.
5. Propelyne Glycol, among other things, is a penetration enhancer, meaning it’s a carrier for other chemicals, bringing them into your skin and your bloodstream. It's a known skin irritant, it has been shown to cause cancer in lab tests, a possible endocrine disruptor, and a possible neurotoxin. You can find it in over 3000 products, including lotions, deodorants, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner and body washes.