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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics

Hazardous Chemicals in Cosmetics and Personal Care Productd

Some of the ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products are chemicals that may be hazardous to your health. Take a look at some of the ingredients to watch for and the health concerns raised by these chemicals.

Antibacterials (e.g., Triclosan) are found in many products, such as hand soaps, deodorants, toothpastes and body washes.

Health Hazards: Some antibacterial agents are absorbed through the skin. Triclosan has been shown to be secreted in breast milk. These chemicals may be toxic or carcinogenic. One study has found antibacterials may interfere with the functioning of testosterone in cells. Antibacterials can kill the 'good' protective bacteria as well as pathogens, actually increasing susceptibility to infection. The products may increase the rate of development of resistant strains of bacteria.
butyl acetate

Butyl acetate is found in nail strengtheners and nail polishes.

Health Hazards: Butyl acetate vapors may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Continued use of a product containing butyl acetate may cause skin to crack and become dry.butylated hydroxytoluene

Butylated hydroxytoluene is found in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products. It is an antioxidant which helps slow the rate at which a product changes color over time.

Health Hazards: Butylated hydroxytoluene may cause skin and eye irritation.coal tar

Coal tar is used to control itching and scaling, to soften skin, and as a colorant.

Diethanolamine is a contaminant associated with cocamide DEA and lauramide DEA, which are used as emulsifiers and foaming agents in products such as shampoos, shaving creams, moisturizers, and baby washes.

Health Hazards: DEA can be absorbed into the body through the skin. It can act as a carcinogen and can be converted to nitrosamine, which is also carcinogenic. DEA is a hormone disruptor and robs the body of choline needed for fetal brain development.1,4-dioxane

This is a contaminant that may be associated with sodium laureth sulfate, PEG, and most ethoxylated ingredients with names ending in -eth. These ingredients are found in many products, most notably shampoos and body washes.

1,4 dioxane is known to cause cancer in animals and has a high probability of carcinogenicity in humans.
Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant and preservative in a variety of products, such as nail polish, soap, deodorant, shaving cream, eyelash adhesive and shampoo. Even when it isn't listed as an ingredient, it can result from the breakdown of other ingredients, most notably diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea and quaternium compounds.

Health Hazards: The European Union has banned the use of formaldehyde in cosmetics and personal care products. It is associated with multiple health concerns, such as respiratory tract and eye irritation, cancer, immune system damage, genetic damage, and triggering asthma.

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