(NaturalNews) It wasn't too long ago that Natural News featured an article highlighting Annie Leonard's video The Story of Cosmetics; in fact, Natural News even hosted the video itself. Readers and viewers who might not have been aware of the toxicity of cosmetics were in for a surprise. Unbelievably, the dangers of many of these chemicals have been well-documented. Yet, big business continues to use them in their products and the government continues to allow this practice. So what exactly are some of these toxins that consumers should be aware of? Here is a short list that is merely the tip of the iceberg:
Phthalates can be found in numerous health and beauty products, from nail polish to fragrances and lotions to shampoos. In the U.S. these chemicals are difficult to avoid when purchasing common over-the-counter products. Despite the fact that they are documented as known toxins, cosmetic and beauty manufacturers continue to use them. In fact, one major American manufacturer has stated that the FDA has determined that their use of phthalates is not a "health risk." However, phthalates have been linked to cancer, infertility, and birth defects. Whether the risk is considered minimal or not, these chemicals should not be in health and beauty products.
Lead, a toxin that most people are aware of, can be found in lipstick. If a woman is wearing lipstick, it's difficult to avoid ingesting some of it. Laws regarding lead-based paint and other potential lead hazards in one's home have made most people aware of the dangers of this toxic metal. Lead is not actually added to lipstick; rather, it is a contaminant. However, some manufacturers' lipsticks are more dangerous than others. Furthermore, lead might even be in other cosmetics. Lead, like phthalates, is linked to cancer and birth defects, and manufacturers must do a better job of keeping their lipsticks clean.
Parabens are preservatives used in health and beauty products. They work in cosmetics the way trans fats work in foods - they greatly extend the shelf life of the product, but at the expense of the human body using them! Parabens are thought to cause breast cancer and reproductive problems because they mimic hormones. Surely there are other ingredients manufacturers can use to extend the life of the products they sell without endangering their customers.
A person's skin acts as a shield, but it is not an impenetrable shell. Even though this large organ protects the rest of the body from germs and other contaminants, it cannot keep the dangerous chemicals out. If a product like lotion is rubbed on the skin and contains a toxin, the body absorbs the toxin along with the rest of the ingredients. These toxins are delivered directly into the body when they are used on the skin.
Yes, beauty can be deadly. Fortunately, there are several cosmetic and health care companies today that manufacture health and beauty products that are free of harmful chemicals, toxins, and preservatives. Many of these companies are also vegan. Mindful consumers can make healthy, safe choices when it comes to their beauty and health products.
Cindy Jones-Shoeman is the author of Last Sunset and a Feature Writer for Academic Writing at Suite101. Some of Cindy's interests include environmental issues, vegetarian and sustainable lifestyles, music, and reading.