Are Your Beauty Products Green?

At Carolina Holistic Health, we are concerned with your health and the long term effects that certain chemicals, colorings, and preservatives pose. Did you know that only 11% of the 10,500 chemicals in your body care products have been tested for safety (FDA 2000, CIR 2003)? According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control in 2003, more than 116 different chemicals linked to cancer and impaired reproductive function were found in a variety of personal care products used by adults and children in the sample group.

Information on the possible detrimental effects of TEN offenders in most beauty products is widely available. Companies such as Suki, Avalon, Aubrey Organics, Devita,  Desert Essence Organics, Mineral Fusion and W3ll People are approved safe by EWG.org. EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Articles written on this subject can also be found in popular magazines such as Alternative Medicine, Better Homes and Gardens, O, Mother Earth News, Energy Times, and Shape. A wealth of information is available on the website for The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (http://www.safecosmetics.org). They are a coalition of public health, educational, religious, labor, women’s, environmental and consumer groups with the goal to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems, and replace them with safer alternatives.

Some ingredients to watch out for and why are:

1. Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate
Carcinogenic, skin irritant, contains aluminum salts, acne producing
2. Methyl, propyl, butyl, & ethyl parabens
Petro-chemicals, estrogenic, carcinogenic, allergen, possibly stored in fat cells
3. Petrolatum, mineral oil
Acne producing, interferes with skin's ability to eliminate toxins, slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging
4. Propylene glycol (PG) & paraffin
It penetrates the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. Commonly used to make extracts from herbs. PG is strong enough to remove barnacles from boats! The EPA considers PG so toxic that it requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles and to dispose of any PG solutions by burying them in the ground. Because PG penetrates the skin so quickly, the EPA warns against skin contact to prevent consequences such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. But there isn't even a warning label on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than in most industrial applications. From Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): Health Hazard Acute And Chronic INHALATION: May cause respiratory and throat Irritation, central nervous system depression, blood and kidney disorders. May cause Nystagmus, Lymphocytosis. SKIN: Irritation and dermatitis, absorption. EYES: Irritation and conjunctivitis. INGESTION: Pulmonary edema, brain damage, hypoglycaemia, intravascular hemolysis. Death may occur.
5. DEA (diethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine)
Carcinogens, can cause nitrosamine contamination, irritant, sensitizer
6. FD&C dyes made from coal tar
Carcinogenic, contains heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation
7. Artificial fragrances
Possibly carcinogenic, symptoms reported to the USA FDA include headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and skin irritation. Clinical observation proves fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability.
8. Imidazolidinyl urea & diazolidinyl urea
Nitrosating agent, irritant, releases formaldehyde (a known carcinogen, causes allergic, irritant and contact dermatitis, headaches and chronic fatigue. The vapor is extremely irritating to the eyes, nose and throat)
9. BHT & BHA
Carcinogenic, endocrine disruptor; skin sensitizer, can cause lipid & cholesterol levels to increase, encourages the breakdown of certain vitamins
10. Talc
Linked to ovarian cancer, respiratory toxin, may contain asbestos, do not use on infants

With so many choices on the market today, let us do the research on your behalf to provide you with the purest, therapeutic products available.

Cosmetics Ingredient Review (CIR) (2003). 2003 CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2000). Prohibited Ingredients and Related Safety Issues. Office of Cosmetics and Colors Fact Sheet. March 30, 2000. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-210.html.
http://www.oprah.com/xm/jchatzky/200703/jchatzky_200070316.jhtml
http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/index.cfm
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/2005-02-01/Natural-Body-Care.aspx
http://www.ewg.org/issues/cosmetics/20070208b/index.php
http://www.mbcc.org/content.php?id=130

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