Originally published February 3 2009
Recognize Toxic Chemicals in Body Care Products
by Jo Hartley
(NaturalNews) A common belief among consumers is that products labeled "natural" must be safe and beneficial to consume or use. Often the ingredient lists on these "natural" products contain chemicals that are unrecognizable and unfamiliar to most people. The bad news is that the products that are labeled as "natural" by manufacturers are usually far from natural and safe. The good news is that it is possible to be an informed consumer with the information necessary to avoid these products. Learning about these toxic chemicals is the first step toward avoiding them and this is quite simple to do, using the Internet as a tool.
Almost every synthetic chemical that exists has a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that contains the facts about the chemical as well as any potential dangers associated with human health. The MSDS lists a summary of the facts for each chemical and summarizes other facts such as hazard identification, first aid instructions, exposure limits, and other names that are associated with the specific chemical. It can be very surprising to read MSDS information for "natural" chemicals and find information warning of dangers associated with these chemicals.
One can't help but wonder how and why these chemicals can be labeled as natural under these conditions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) has stipulated that a MSDS must be created for any chemicals that are considered hazardous according to criteria described in the Hazard Communication Standard. All hazardous chemicals must be indexed and an MSDS must be published for each of them.
An enlightening exercise for any consumer who is concerned about toxic chemicals is to perform a Google search for specific ingredients contained in his/her personal care products. Entering the specific chemical name along with "MSDS" in the search field will return MSDS results for the specific chemicals searched for. Another resource for researching specific ingredients is www.hazard.com/msds.
Within this website are three search options:
1.Search by manufacturer
2.Search by name of chemical
3.Search the Chemical Toxicity Database
Chemicals to Avoid in Personal Care Products:
Cocoamide DEA, diethanolamine, TEA, triethanolamine, MEA -- Used as a shampoo thickener and foam stabilizer. According to the MSDS for Cocoamide DEA, this chemical is harmful if swallowed or inhaled and contact with skin, eyes, and clothing should be avoided.
Propylene glycol, propylene oxide, polyethylene glycol -- Listed on the FDA government website as a known carcinogen. This is a common ingredient in many moisturizers and lotions. It has also been connected with kidney and liver damage in scientific testing. Propylene glycol has also now been connected with common skin rashes and skin damage.
Sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate -- A common ingredient in shampoos and liquid soaps. SLS may be the most dangerous ingredient used in personal care products. SLS is the active ingredient in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and industrial strength soaps. This is a very corrosive chemical used to clean industrial and greasy surfaces.
Sodium Fluoride -- The fluoride that is added to drinking water is hydrofluoric acid. This is a compound of fluorine, which is actually a chemical byproduct of aluminum, steel, cement, phosphate, and other assorted ingredients. Fluoride in this form has no nutritional value and is one of the most caustic industrial chemicals. Fluoride is also an active ingredient in rat and cockroach poisons.
Mineral Oil, Petrolatum and Coal Tar -- Used in many moisturizing products. Mineral oil is a petroleum by-product that interferes with skin's ability to eliminate toxins. Because of this it promotes acne and other skin disorders. Mineral oil has also been associated with premature aging. Any product that contains mineral oil may be contaminated with cancer causing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons.
Consumers who are armed with accurate information about toxic ingredients contained in common personal care products will be able to make informed decisions that will protect their health.
About the authorJo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
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