Monthly Archives: October 2013

A-Z Glossary of Harmful Chemicals and Additives to Avoid in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products continued…

Continued from September Posting – information written and compiled by Klaus Ferlow of Ferlow Botanicals writes about harmful chemical ingredients hidden in cosmetic and personal care products.

  • Fragrance/parfum (also called perfume), “hidden chemicals” linked to a large variety of health effects, including allergies, immune system toxicity, headaches, dizziness, and suspected carcinogenic activities
  • g-Terpinene: causes asthma and CNS disorders, found in cologne, perfume, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, air fresheners
  •  Hydroquinone: used in skin lightening creams, increases skin’s exposure to UVA/UNB, and linked to organ toxicity, developmental toxicity, immunotoxicity, and neurotoxicity.
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea: skin sensitizer, can instigate immune system response that include itching, burning, scaling, hives, blisters of skin, severe respiratory reaction, gastrointestinal or liver toxicity hazards suspected, used in a huge variety of cosmetics and personal care products
  • Lauramide DEA: potentially contaminated with impurities, linked to cancer and other significant health problems, used in many cosmetics, shampoo, hair color, spray and bleaching, liquid hand soap, bubble bath shaving cream, bath oil etc.
  • Lead (also called lead acetate):  often not listed on labels, a contaminant in many lipsticks even well known brand names  and hair dyes, , evidence of carcinogenic effect, may cause kidney and brain damage, damage to the blood cells causing anemia, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes and skin, causes pain, abdominal cramps, constipation, convulsion, nausea, vomiting, carcinogen, and hormone disrupter, , in 2005 Health Canada did act against this hair ingredient, found in men’s hair colouring, Grecian formula 16, by placing it on the “cosmetic hot list.”
  • Limonene: carcinogenic, prevent its contact with skin or eyes because it is an irritant and sensitizer, always wash thoroughly after using this material before eating, drinking, applying cosmetics, do not inhale limonene vapour. Found in perfume, cologne,  disinfectant spray, bar soap, shaving cream, deodorants, nail color ands remover, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid, air fresheners, after shave, bleach, paint and varnish remover.
  • Linalool: narcotic, respiratory disturbances, attracts bees, causes CNS disorder, toxic to animals, used in perfume, cologne, bar soap, shampoo, hand lotion, nail enamel remover, hairspray, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, Vaseline lotion, air fresheners, bleach powder, fabric softener, shaving cream, after shave, sold deodorant.
  • Mercury: best known name in vaccines is thimerosal, also called mercuric oxide, phenyl mercury acetate, phenyl mercuric benzoate, mercurochrome, found in eye drops can effect you when breathed in and by passing through your skin, irritate skin and eyes, may cause allergy, neurological impairment, negatively affects brain development, cough, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, shortness of breath, vomiting, fever or elevated body temperature. Used in mascara, eye liners, dental amalgam fillings, skin-lightening cream, nasal sprays, soaps, haemorrhoid treatments, antiseptics and as preservative in eye make up. Mercury fumes can collect inside a jar of skin cream or a tube of mascara, and a person could inhale them when the container is opened. The State of Minnesota and many European countries have banned it due it harsh toxicity.
  • Methylene chloride: Banned by the FDA in 1988! No enforcement possible due to trade secret laws protecting the chemical fragrance industry. On EPCERCLA hazard waste list, carcinogenic, absorbed in body fat, it metabolizes to carbon monoxide, reducing oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, headache, giddiness, stupor, irritability, fatigue, tingling in the limbs, causes CNS disorder, still used in shampoo, cologne, paint and varnish remover.
  • Mineral oil: also called petrolatum, cheap petroleum by-product , coats the skin like plastic, clogging up pores, interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne, eczema, resulting in premature aging, can be absorbed through skin contact. Manufacturers use white petrolatum because it is very cheap, used in moisturizer, baby oil, foundations, lipstick, gloss and hair products, concealer, sunscreen, tanning oil, facial cleaners etc.
  • Mono sodium glutamate (MSG): a neurotoxic (brain damage), endocrine disrupting substance found literally in thousands of products. For more details please read the book from John Erb “The Slow Poisoning of North America”, and also the websites: www.rense.com/general64/msg.htm,www.truthinlabeling.com and put into google “MSG Obese”.
  • Nitrosamines: is mutagen and a number are transplacental carcinogen. They are metabolized the same in humans and animal tissues, it seems highly likely that humans are susceptible to the carcinogenic properties of nitrosamines. Used in thousand of consumer products such as fried bacon, cured meats, bee, tobacco products, gastric juices, rubber products, metal industry, pesticide products and use, certain cosmetics and chemicals, may cause cancer. More detailed information can be obtained from the article “Nitrasomines and Cancer” from Richard A. Scanlan, Ph.D., Dean of Research Emeritus and Professor of Food Science of the Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon State University, Corvallis, www.lpi.oregonstate.edu/giving.html#planned
  • Oxbenzone: also called benzophenone-3, benzol-5, 5-methoxyphenol, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone, methanone, solaquin, active ingredient in chemical sunscreens, linked to alleries, hormone disruption, cell damage, low birth weight.
  • Parabens: trade names are benzyl, butyl, ethyl, isopropyl, methyl, propyl (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates) acting as preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products preventing bacteria, fungus and microbes, neuro- and immuinotoxins, skin irritants. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that parabensdisplayed estrogenic activity in several tests and can have endocrine-disrupting action. Dr. Philippa Darbre at the University of Reading, UK detected in a study in 2004 parabens in 18 0f 20 samples of tissues from breast tumour biopsies.  The women used underarm deodorant spray. More scientist issue warnings about parabens. Because of the possible link to breast cancer and reproductive effects in boys, parabens are also an issue in sunscreens, since many are applied by massaging them into the skin. An article about the “Truth about Parabens” will follow shortly!
  • Para-phenylenediamene (also tetrathydro-6-nitroquinoxaline, PPD, p-diaminobenzene, p-phenylenediamine, p-aminolaniline, 1,4-benzenediamine, ): these are commonly found in hair colouring products (including products “Just for Men) and other hair products. Immune system and organ toxicant, allergen, linked to dermatitis, causes cancer in lab animals. Health Canada issues a warning August 2003 that PPD should not be used in “black henna” tattoo ink and paste since it is unsafe and should not be sold and used in cosmetics, creates allergy, red skin rashes, contact dermatitis, itching, blisters, open sores, scarring and other potentially harmful effects.
  • PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid): can create nausea, skin rashes, vomiting and may cause liver damage, mainly used in commercial sunscreens.
  • Phenylphenol: known carcinogen, can effect you when breathed in and may enter the body through the skin, possible eye damage, irritating eyes, respiratory system and skin, very toxic to aquatic organisms,  abdominal cramps and pain, cough, laboured breathing, dangerous for the environment, possible carcinogen, banned in Europe
  • Phenoxyethanol: skin irritant, causes allergic reactions, used as preservative in vaccines.
  • Phosphoric acid: a clear, odourless, colorless liquid that is irritating to the skin and eyes, moderately toxic if ingested, it is used in the production of soaps, detergents, fertilizer and animals food.
  • Phthalates:  rarely listed on labels but hidden in fragrance, linked to liver, kidney, and lung damage, found in many plastics as well as cosmetics and personal care products. An endocrine-disrupting chemical, some of them are also xenoestrogens, but many work in a different way as “anti-androgens” that interfere with male hormones. Exposure to phthalates during pregnancy is linked to development defects in male children, but they may also play a role in breast cancer. Some have been shown to increase proliferation of breast cancer cells in lab experiments and to reduce the effectiveness of the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen.
  • Petroleum distillates: extremely hazardous for humans, may cause cancer, lung damage if swallowed, many chemicals are petroleum based, for example 95% of all synthetic fragrances creating serious health problems.
  • Placental extract, also known as placenta, placenta protein, hydrolyzed placental protein, used in skin and hair care products, linked to endocrine issues
  • Polysorbate-n(20-85): emulsifier in cosmetic creams, lotions, cream deodorant, baby oil, sun lotion, can cause sensitivity and skin irritation
  • Polyquaternium: use in a variety of cosmetics such as hair care, moisturizing lotions, creates allergic contact dermatitis
  • Potassium dichromate: a carcinogen, handle with extreme caution, can affect when breathed in, may cause skin allergy and affect the kidneys, heritable genetic damage, toxic for the reproductive system, pain, blurred vision, sore throat, wheezing, severe deep burns, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, shock or collapse, very toxic, banned in EU cosmetics
  • Propylene glycol also known as PEG, also avoid  PG, and PPG, PEG possibly contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene glycol, both known carcinogens, one of the most chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products, creams, lotions, shampoo, conditioners, moisturizers, cleansers, hair products, perfume, shaving cream, toothpaste, body spray, bath oil, bubble bath, mascara, antiperspirant, deodorant, lip gloss etc. and also used in antifreeze and de-icing, solutions for cars, boats, aircraft, solvents for paints, plastics, laundry detergent. Is a skin sensitizer, causes irritation of nasal and respiratory passages and if ingested can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, itching, burning, scaling, hives, blistering of the skin, alters skin structure, allows other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin, increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream, contact dermatitis. Research has shown to be mutagenic and can cause cardiac arrest, degreases the skin. Japanese studies have shown that it can damage cell DNA (genetic code), toxic.
  • Selenium Sulfide: used for dandruff and scalp dermatitis, may cause skin irritation, dry skin, hair loss, can irritate eyes on contact with possible eye damage, high exposure may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, garlic odour of breath, metallic taste, and coated tongue, known to cause cancer, may damage the liver and kidneys, prolonged exposure may cause pallor, nervousness and mood changes. Banned in EU cosmetics!
  • Siloxanes: used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smoothand moisten, suspected endocrine disruptor and reproduction toxicant, harmful to fish and wildlife. It is a silocone-based compound and makes hair products dry more quickly and deodorant cream slide on more easily, also used extensively in moisturizers and facial treatments, can also be found in medical implants, water repelling windshield coating, building sealant and lubricant.
  • Silicone-derived emollients (cyclomethicone, dimethicone, dimethicone copolyol, used in products that make hair and skin tumors in lab tests, said to accumulate in liver and lymph  nodes.
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), other names are sodium dodecyl sulphate, sodium PEG lauryl sulphate, monododecyl ester, sodium PEG lauryl ether sulphate, makes products foamy, a sknown skin irritant that is easily absorbed, another chemical that you will find in as many cosmetics and personal care products as propylene glycol. The key ingredient to this foaming facial washer is a detergent that started as an industrial degreaseant and garage floor cleaner. When applied to the human skin it has the effect of stripping off the oil layer and is irritating and eroding the skin, leaving it rough and pitted. Is used as a lathering agent, corrodes hair follicle and impedes hair growth, penetrates your eyes, brain, liver and remains there for a long time. Degenerates cell membranes and can change the genetic information (mutagenic) in cells and damage the immune system. May cause blindness and lead to cataracts, retards the healing process. Enhances the allergic response to other toxins and allergens and can react with other toxic ingredients to form cancer-causing nitrosamines. The U.S. government has warned manufacturers of unacceptable levels of dioxin formation in some products containing this ingredient.
  • Sodium laureth sulphate (SLES): chemical name sodium lauryl “ether” sulphate. An ether chain is added to SLS, used as premium agent in cleansers, conditioners and shampoo. It is very inexpensive, but thickens when salt is added in the formula and produces high level of foam. Also used as wetting agent in the textile industry. Irritates skin and scalp and creates itching, may cause hair loss.
  • Sodium PCA (na-pca): PCA = pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, natural version is derived from fruits, grasses and vegetables, occurs naturally in skin, is binding moisture to cells, however the synthetic version causes throat irritation and lung constriction, irritation to eyes, neurological effects such as dizziness, classified in the EU harmful by inhalation.
  • Sodium Cyanide: a highly toxic compound, also known as sodium slat of hydrodyamic and cyanogran. Immediate medical attention is required in the event of cyanide poisoning, as it is quickly fatal. Used in extracting gold, silver, copper, poison to control indoor pests, irritates and severely damages tissues of eyes, skin, respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract, inhalation causes headaches, dizziness, convulsion, vomiting, unconsciousness, redness of eyes and skin, severe deep burns and nausea.
  • Sodium oleth sulphate: used in shampoo, liquid hand soap, makeup-remover, conditioner, body wash, cleansers, bubble bath, antibacterial skin cleanser, may contain levels of ethytlene oxide and or dioxane, both potent toxins.
  • Styrene monomer: causes sensitization by skin contact, throat irritation and lung constriction, irritation of the eyes, dizziness.
  • Talc: als called French talc, cosmetic talc, used as cosmetic talcum powder to absorb moisture in blush, make-up, deodorant, baby powder, an astringent powder used to preventing rashes on the area covered by a diaper (diaper rash) , food additive or in pharmaceutical products. Several studies have established preliminary links between talc and pulmonary issues, lung, skin and ovarian cancer and is a probable respiratory toxin, tumours in animals.
  • Toluene: other names are toluene-2,5-diamine, toluene-2,5-diamine sulphate, methylbenzene, too, benzene, methl, also avoid butylated hydroxytoluene, possible  hormone disruptor nd known immune system toxicant, hidden sometines in fragrance, used as a solvent and chemical intermediate, when inhaled causes sore throat, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, unconsciousness, abdominal pain, skin allergy, irritating nose, mouth, repeated exposure may cause liver, kidney and brain damage, death may occur, possible risk of harm to unborn child, harmful, highly flammable, toxic.
  • Triethanolamine (TEA):synthetic emulsifier, highly toxic, over 40% of cosmetics containing it, have been found to be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are potent carcinogens, harmful if swallowed, irritant corrosive and serious damage eyes, avoid skin and eye contact, used also a pH adjuster, avoid breathing vapours if generated.
  • Triclosan: also called microban, is basically used as an antimicrobial to prevent growth of harmful bacteria, also called an anti-bacterial, virus and fungi in a huge variety of household good, personal care products (antibacterial soaps, liquid hand soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, processed food, clothing, dish soap, detergent, floor wash, counter and disinfecting spray, glass cleaner, mouthwash, laundry soap, lotion, moisturizers, children’s toys, cleaning supplies. Suspected carcinogen and endocrine disruptor. Other antimicrobials include antibiotics, anti-virals, anti-fungals, disinfectants and antiseptics. Studies in Sweden, Institute of Odontology, Huddingen, USA, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg and Canada,  University of Victoria, B.C. have shown that triclosan may promote the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, creates allergy and asthma in children, can interfere with the thyroid hormones and is a health hazard to humans in general and wildlife. The American Medical Association suggest that consumers should check product ingredient lists for triclosan, tricocarban, quaternary ammonium compounds and it is sometimes listed as Microban.

Samuel SEpstein, MD (with Randall Fitzgerald) , Professor of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the School of Public Health, University at Chicago, is an internationally recognized authority on the causes and prevention of cancer, the toxic carcinogen effects of pollution in the air, water, soil, and the workplace, and ingredients and contaminants in consumer products in food, household products, and cosmetics, personal care products and toiletries. In his book “Healthy Beauty” – Your Guide to Ingredients to avoid  and products you can trust you find under “Appendix One” a list of 113 Toxic Ingredients Tear-Out Sheet  that lists additional hazardous, dangerous toxic chemicals.

This article is based on the research from books, the internet, studies, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), www.cdc.gov/Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), www.epa.gov/-47k-

Environmental Working Group (EWG), www.ewg.orgNational Toxicology Program, Dept. of Health and Human Serviceswww.ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ ,Health Care Without Harm, Natural Skincare Authority.

For more information on additional hazardous, dangerous chemicals is cosmetics and personal care products, please check the following websites:

Products sold without harmful ingredients:

Klaus’s Bio: Honorary Master Herbalist, Dominion Herbal College, Professional Herbal Advocate, Canadian Herbalist’s Assn. of BC, author, innovator, lecturer, researcher, founder and co-owner FERLOW BOTANICALS, Div. of Ferlow Brothers Ltd, Vancouver, B.C., manufacturer of herbal medicinal and personal care products without harmful ingredients to holistic health practitioners in traditional medicine since 1993. 

This information is offered for its educational value only and should not be used to diagnose, treatment, or prevention of disease, contact your health care practitioner.