International health experts released information about new studies that Cancer will overtake heart disease as the world's top killer by 2010. Why is this happening? Is it the air we're breathing? The food we're consuming? The products we're using?
According to Dr. Samuel Epstein, proffesor of environmental health and medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, using shampoo day in and day out may increase your risk of cancer. At least 90% (YES THAT'S RIGHT), of ALL massed-produced shampoos, body washes and soaps contain ingredients (listed on the labels as DEA, TEA, or MEA or any long word ending in thanolamine) that have tendency to react with other common ingredients to form the potent cancer causing nitrosamine NDELA. Even greater danger lurks in hair coloring formulas. Over the long term, phenylenediamine, often preceded my m-, o-, or p- on the label, has been found to cause cancer in both animals and humans. The chemical is protected under a 1938 law and the FDA is unable to ban its use. Most consumers believe that the FDA ensures the safety of the cosmetic and personal care products that we use everyday. But the sad truth is that the agency doesn't have the authority to require safety testing before the products hit the shelves. What's more, manufacturers are not required to report cosmetic related injuries or submit data on the ingredients in their products. The FDA's authority comes directly from US congress, a body that has never put much importance on cosmetics of their safety. Senator Edward Kennedy said that "the cosmetic industry has burrowed a page from the playbook of the tobacco industry by putting profits ahead of public health" , former representative Ron Wydon said that "Until further congressional action is taken [consumers] are worse off than guinea pigs. At least with guinea pigs, someone is watching."
PRODUCTS AND INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR!
Shampoos, Body Washes, Hand Soaps, Lotions, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Nail Polish, Hair Dyes, Deodorants, and anything else you are putting in OR on your body!
Triclosan, a kissing cousin to a common pesticide that is toxic to the blood, liver and kidneys is often used in anti-bacterial soaps, body washes and toothpastes. Like most pesticides, it accumulates in the body's fatty tissues. During a study by Stokholm University in Sweden, researcher found high levels of this commonly used bactericide in 3 out of 5 randomly selected samples of human breast milk.
Lanolin and fragrance often used in deoderants, causes breakout and irritation. Antipersperants contain aluminum compounds to stop sweat. Not only are these compounds irritating and capable of causing allergic reaction, aluminum exposure has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
Formaldehyde and Toluene when you paint your nails, you pick your poison. It can contain up to 50% toluene, a petroleum
derived chemical. Studies have shown that breathing in large amounts of toluene for short periods of time (even on a visit to the salon), can adversely affect the kidneys, liver, and heart. Along with toluene, formaldehyde, released by preservatives as they degrade, (a chemical banned for use in Japan and Sweden), can also be found in shampoos and hair growth products, can cause DNA damage and may combine with other chemiclas to produce mutagenic effects. Another hidden hazard is phthalates to help the polish form an even film as it dries, since this hormone disrupting plasticizer is water soluble, it leaks out of the polish every time your nails come in contact with water, making it a source of repeated exposure.
Nail Acrylics come with their own set of problems. The chemicals used in making and applying false nails has been linked to asthma, birth defects, nuerological damage, and cancer in aminals. Even brief exposure (like on a short visit to the salon) can cause throat and eye irritation, headache, and nausea.
Lanolin can be found in any bathroom product especially Moisturizers , is a common allergen that may be contaminated with pesticides.
Carcinogens topping the list of these cancer causing substances are coal tar colors, listed on labels as FD&C, D&C colors. Made from bituminious coal, these synthetic tints are a common ingredient in, dair dyes, dandruff shampoos, and cosmetics. Nearly all coal tar colors have been linked to cancer in animals and have never been tested for safety of humans. Lead also found in hair dyes, and easily absorbed through the skin, is also a carcinogen as well as a hormone disruptor.
Endocrine Disruptors these chemicals interfere with the normal functioning of hormones and may cause, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, reproductive and breast cancer, as well as thyroid, heart, lung, liver and kidney damage. Some of the most common types are:
Phthalates these chemicals (not generally listed under this name) accumlate in the bodys tissue and can remain there for years. In a 2002 study of 75 popular beauty products, found phthalatesin nearly three quarters of them, including, perfume, hair products, nail polish and hand lotions.
Surfactants a group of chemicals known as nonylphenols also can disrupt hormones, yet they are widely used in shampoos, hair dyes and shaving creams as wetting agents. According to a study by Friends of Earth (foe.org) nonylphenols interfere with normal reproductive function in wildlife and can confuse sexual develpoment.
Parabens pick up just about any cosmetic of personal care product and you will find one or more of these. Although the FDA consideres these safe, a new study finds that, these substances mimic estrogen and can adversely affect testosterone levels and reproductive functioning in men. Fortunatly, some forward thinking companies are replacing this with Vitamin C or grapefruit extract to preserve their products.
Here are some more common ingredients found in your average bathroom products and what they really are:
*Benzoic Acid- while found in some plants, it is primarily derived from animal vertebrates. It is used as a preservative in mouthwashes, deoderants, skin creams, and fragrances.
*Carmine, cochineal, or carminic acid- red pigment from the crushed female cochineal beetle. Reportedly 70,000 beetles must be killed to produce one pound of this red dye.
*Cetyl alcohol- This wax can be derived from sperm whale, dolphins, or plants. Look for the products that specify "vegetable" or "coconut" sources.
*Glycerin- a by product of soap manufacturing using animal fat. Look for products that specify "vegetable glycerin"
*Keratin- protein from the ground up horns, hooves, feathers, and hair of various animals (often found in hair care products to produce shine)
*Royal Jelly- secretion from the throats of worker bees that is fed to larvae in the colony.
*Silk Powder- obtained from the secretion of the silkworm and used in powdered cosmetics
*Stearic Acid- fat from cows, pigs, sheep, and pets euthanized in animal shelters.
*Urea- excerted from animal urine and other bodily fluids.
Although it may be difficult to read and understand the ingredients listed in your products, you should always check them and know what to avoid. And if you are looking to buy products that are Not tested on Animals, they will have the official leaping bunny logo OR say NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS,, otherwise they are not 100% cruelty free. If you are looking for 100% vegetarian ingredients (It will say so on the product)- if not, you must read the ingredient list- READ YOUR LABELS! PROTECT YOURSELF!
Source: "Green Living "- the Emagazine handbook for living lightly on earth by the editors of "E- the environmental magazine"
"Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?" ~Martin Luther King, Jr.