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Give these ingredients the boot.

Americans assume personal care products on the market today have been tested or approved by the federal government. However, they are largely unregulated. In fact, it has been more than 80 years since Congress last updated the federal law designed to ensure that personal care products are safe. The Food and Drug Administration does not even require the basic safety testing of ingredients in personal care products before they are used.

Although other countries have taken action to protect their citizens from chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm, FDA lacks the basic tools needed to ensure the safety of cosmetics and other personal care products. {ewg.org} 

We’re here to help. These are the ingredients we aim to avoid.

Phthalates

Scientific studies link phthalate exposure to reproductive abnormalities in baby boys, reduced testosterone and sperm quality in men and early puberty in girls.  Animal experiments underscore their toxicity to the reproductive system.  Where might you encounter these pernicious chemicals?  In some cosmetics fragrance mixtures. Since the law doesn’t require full disclosure, you have no way to know when phthalates lurk in that bottle of lotion.  To be on the safe side, buy unscented personal care products. {Source: ewg.org} 

Formaldehyde

Some cosmetics chemicals are designed to react with water in the bottle to generate a little formaldehyde, a preservative, to keep the product from growing mold and bacteria.  But formaldehyde is a potent allergen  which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization consider carcinogenic. Formaldehyde releasers include DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15.  Where do you find them?  Shampoos, conditioners, bubble bath and other personal care products—even those intended for children.  A 2010 study found that nearly one fifth of cosmetic products contained a formaldehyde releaser. {Source: ewg.org}

Paraben

Parabens are used as preservatives in some cosmetic products, but so-called “long-chained” parabens can act as estrogens and disrupt hormone signaling. A recent study by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health linked one type of paraben to impaired fertility in women. Find it on the label as: propylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben.  {Source: ewg.org}

Triclosan

Triclosan is a bacteria-killing chemical used in Colgate Total toothpastes (to prevent gingivitis), liquid hand soaps, body washes, clothing, cutting boards and other household goods.  It has been shown to interfere with thyroid signaling and male and female sex hormone signaling. Triclocarban is the active ingredient in some antibacterial bar soaps. Researchers have linked it to reproductive abnormalities in laboratory animals. Last month, the federal Food and Drug Administration announced that these chemicals should not be considered safe or effective in antibacterial soaps and body washes and gave manufacturers time to substantiate their claims or phase them out of the market. {Source: ewg.org} 

Retinyl

Retinoic acid is used in anti-aging skin creams. Retinyl palmitate, a related chemical, is added to roughly one-quarter of the sunscreens in EWG’s Guide to Sunscreensdatabase. U.S. government scientists have found that these chemicals speed the development of cancerous lesions on sun-exposed skin.  The results suggest that people who go out in the sun while wearing retinyl palmitate creams and sunscreens may be at an increased risk for skin cancer. {Source: ewg.org}

Petrolatum

Retinoic acid is used in anti-aging skin creams. Retinyl palmitate, a related chemical, is added to roughly one-quarter of the sunscreens in EWG’s Guide to Sunscreensdatabase. U.S. government scientists have found that these chemicals speed the development of cancerous lesions on sun-exposed skin.  The results suggest that people who go out in the sun while wearing retinyl palmitate creams and sunscreens may be at an increased risk for skin cancer. Studies suggest that exposure to PAHs is associated with cancer. The European Union classifies petrolatum as a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics to only when the full refining history is known, and it can be proven non-carcinogenic. {forceofnatureclean.com}

Aluminum

Heavy metals – from mercury, aluminum, copper, nickel, lead and arsenic – are virtually everywhere, like in aluminum cans, foil, batteries, paint, and even in the food we eat. Over time, these metals can oxidize, causing damage to surrounding tissue and promote inflammation. {Source: goop.com} You’re probably aware that aluminum can be found in most commercial deodorant brands. Studies have connected these ingredients to breast cancer. Making the deodorant switch is extremely important and what we recommend first to those just starting out in clean beauty. 

Sulfates

Sulfate is the ingredient that causes shampoos to lather. They are cleansing and foaming agents that can be found in toothpaste, shampoo, and body washes, among other products. What to look for on the label: Sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth and oleth.

Fragrance

3,163 ingredients hide behind the word “fragrance”. Fragrance is a term that the cosmetics, cleaning and candle industries use on ingredient lists that discloses only that there are unnamed chemicals in the product. Most products on the shelves today contain fragrance, to name several: facial cleanser, after shave, astringents, hair color, cleaning products, and acne treatment. Fragrance contains hormone disruptors linked to reproductive system birth defects in baby boys. {Source: ewg.org}