Self-Care Saturday – Avoid These Personal Care Product Ingredients 1/14/12

Learn what ingredients to avoid in personal care products.

  • Parabens: Suspected of carcinogenic activity and of having adverse effects on reproductive systems in both men and women. Parabens mimic estrogen and while there isn’t a definitive answer as to whether or not they will cause either cancer or reproduction issues, I choose to err on the side of caution since there are alternatives available.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Used to cause irritation so testing facilities can determine other products’ ability to clear up irritation … really?! As a potent irritant it breaks down the skin barrier allowing it and other chemicals to enter the bloodstream. SLS has the potential to cause carcinogenic nitrates and dioxins to form in bottles of shampoo and cleansers by reacting with other ingredients.
  • DEA (diethanolamine) / TEA (triethanolamine): Used to create a smooth consistency, both are classified as highly hazardous by the Environmental Working Group. When combined with other ingredients common to lotions and shampoos they produce nitrosodiethanolamine, a known carcinogen linked to digestive tract and bladder cancers.
  • Petroleum Jelly or Mineral Oil: Often used in lipstick, lotion, oil and lubricants and can contain carcinogenic contaminants. Their application can prevent the normal release of toxins which occurs through your skin.
  • Fragrance / Parfum are among the top five allergens in the world and contain neurotoxins … how sweet does that smell?
  • Phthalates can cause disruption of the endocrine system. There has been much written about them since they were found in children’s toys and cosmetics (check out your nail polish) and have such an impact on the reproductive system. In 2008 Congress banned six phthalates.

It’s especially important to look for products that are free of these ingredients when buying for your children as their systems are much more susceptible.

I’ve found some great products in the Whole Foods 365 brand line, and a local Kansas City company,  Nutressant, makes fantastic lotions and fluoride-free toothpaste.

For more information visit http://www.ewg.org

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