WRITTEN BY ROCHELLE YOUNG, RD, LDN OF PRETTY HEALTHY
Approximately 1,400 chemicals in personal care and cosmetic products are currently banned in other countries like Europe. However here in the U.S, thirty chemicals are banned in products. How is this? Shouldn’t safety and well-being be a top priority in the US? Since the Food and Drug Association regulates personal care products, companies only have to meet minimal restrictions, and can conceal almost any chemical under the name “fragrance” on ingredient labels.
When you hear chemicals are in a product you use, you may say “oh I’ve been using it for years it’s fine” or “a little bit won’t hurt me”. We often feel most things will not affect us, we just hear about it happening to others. It’s not until it hits close to home, that we are motivated to make a change. Don’t wait until something happens, start today by assessing your personal care and cosmetic products. This will help you in the long run. Let’s highlight some of these chemicals that may be of harm towards your health.
Propylene glycol (also butylene and ethylene glycol), this is a chemical used in antifreeze that acts as a dissolvent. This same chemical is also found in facial washes, baby washes, and body lotions. The glycols break down protein layers of the skin, leading to premature sagging and wrinkling. These glycols also have been linked to kidney, brain and liver malfunction. (1)
SODIUM LAUREL SULFATES
Sodium laurel sulfates, we all hear how drying sulfates can be for our hair and skin. This chemical is a strong degreaser, so strong it’s used in engine degreasers. It’s going in almost 90% of your personal care products that foam, because it is the cheapest way to create foam. Our cells retain this chemical for extended periods of time. As a result it has been linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or “ADHD” in children and adults, and hormone disruption leading to thyroid disorders. (1)
Polyethylene Glycols or “PEGs” are chemicals used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, and hydrants. The higher the PEG number for example PEG 20 or PEG 120, the more chances it is contaminated with ethylene oxide. The International Agency on Cancer Research has classified ethylene oxide as a human carcinogen, linked to breast, liver and kidney cancer. (1)
Urea, also listed as DMDM, are preservatives that release formaldehyde.These are found in mascaras, moisturizers, lipsticks and more. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified formaldehydes as human carcinogens that have been linked to several different types of cancers. Also, as many may know, formaldehyde is used in the process of embalming bodies (yikes). (1)
Parabens are found in the majority of our cosmetic products and used as synthetic preservatives. Research conducted at Cornell University found that parabens can mimic estrogen in our cells, leading to hormones disruption. They also found high amounts of parabens in breast cancer tumors.
So, grab your products and read the labels! If you find any of these chemicals and more, toss them out! What better month than this October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to make a switch to safer products! There are a number of safe, chemical free cosmetic and personal care lines such as beautycounter and BLK + GRN. Chemicals are used because they are cheaper for mass production. Safe ingredients https://www.beautycounter.com/are much more costly, but you can’t put a price on your health!
Beautycounter has been approved by the environmental working group to have 100% safe products. To learn more, visit www.beautycounter.com/rochelleyoung and read their “Never List” of chemicals. You can also visit www.ewg.org to learn more on chemical regulations and safety.
- International agency on cancer research