Cosmetics – careful



Consider the eye-opening details from a UK advocacy group known as Chemical Safe Skincare. The CSS web site states that, “the average woman uses 12 toiletries every day and applies more than 175 chemical compounds to her body in the process.”

Of course, not all 175 of those compounds are necessarily bad for you. But if just one or two chemicals are toxic and you apply them every day, then you might be setting yourself up for a wide range of health problems.

And, men, don’t think this is a women’s issue. Whether you know it or not, you use plenty of cosmetics too.
When you think of cosmetics, you may think of facial makeup, lipstick, mascara, nail polish – that sort of thing. But the broad definition of cosmetics includes deodorants, hair coloring, shaving cream, and bath products, including shampoos.

Even products for infants are part of the cosmetic mix. In fact, just last month, a group called Campaign for Safe Cosmetics issued a press release to warn consumers that several popular children’s bath products contain a cancer-causing petrochemical with the cumbersome name of 1,4-Dioxane. This chemical is considered a probable human carcinogen and a proven animal carcinogen. Johnson’s Baby Wash, Sesame Street Bubble Bath, and Hello Kitty Bubble Bath are all reported to contain 1,4-Dioxane.

Meanwhile, the folks at Chemical Safe Skincare have put two widely used cosmetic chemicals high on the “Must Avoid” list: parabens and phthalates. Studies have linked both chemicals to disruption of normal hormone function and increased breast cancer risk. Parabens are antimicrobial preservatives used in deodorants, creams, body sprays, and many other cosmetics. Phthalates are found in deodorant, perfume, nail polish, and hair spray. Their use has also been linked to lung, liver, and kidney damage. Of course, you can always check cosmetic labels to see if they contain 1,4-Dioxane, parabens, phthalates, and other worrisome chemicals (including formaldehyde and sodium laureth sulfate). But keep in mind that neither the FDA nor any other agency requires cosmetic companies to fully list the contents of products.

Needless to say, many groups, such as Chemical Safe Skincare (, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (, and others are currently waging campaigns that call for the ban of certain ingredients and a requirement that all cosmetic products carry ingredients labels.

In the meantime, there are two things you can do: 1) Share this e-Alert with friends and family to let them know that toxic chemicals might be hiding in many of the personal care products we use every day, and 2) Choose safe cosmetics.

Here are three sources that offer cosmetic products free of harmful chemicals:

  • Raintree Nutrition (
  • Lluvia Skin Renewal System (
  • Elave (

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