Unsafe cosmetics face few limits
Brazilian Blowout is a dramatic example of how little authority federal and state governments have over the estimated $30 billion annual cosmetics industry - even when there is compelling evidence that ingredients are dangerous.
No approval required
Under federal law, cosmetics companies don't have to disclose chemicals or gain approval for the 2,000 products that go on the market every year. And removing a cosmetic from sale takes a battle in federal court.
Have you heard, If it is safe enough to eat, it is safe enough to put on your skin?
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It consists of basically two layers, three types of glands and millions of cells, weighing in at approximately 5% of one's body weight.
The skin serves as the body's second bowel, third kidney and third lung. It is the largest eliminatory organ in the body. It is a two-way membrane. Toxins are eliminated through the skin by perspiration and absorbed through the skin into the body's circulatory system, through hair follicles, sebaceous glands and sweat glands. About 60% of what you apply to your skin enters into your circulatory system.
Have you ever asked yourself what commercial skin and hair products contain? Have you read the labels of the products you are using? Are you poisoning yourself daily by skin creams or lotions, hair sprays, nail polish, lipsticks, or fragrances you apply? For those who worry about the environment and cancer - look no further than your medicine cabinet!
Here are a few commercial product ingredients including possible toxic consequences:
- Aluminum is mostly absorbed through the skin, lungs, and intestinal tract. Too much aluminum may cause problems with metabolic processes, particularly those concerning calcium, phosphorus and iron. Aluminum may also contribute to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia, and other neurological disorders. It is carcinogenic, toxic and mutagenic; a coloring agent found in eye shadows, toothpastes, hair dyes, antiperspirants, deodorants, lipsticks and more.
- DEA is listed on label ingredients as: Cocamide MEA, DEA-Cetyl Phosphate, DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate , Lauramide DEA, monoethanolamine MEA, Myristamide DEA, Oleamide DEA, Stearamide MEA, TEA-Lauryl Sulfate and Triethanolaminem. DEA is readily absorbed through the skin, accumulating in organs such as brain, liver and kidneys, where it may produce toxic effects. DEA interacts with nitrite preservatives or contaminants in cosmetics or toiletries to form nitrosodiethanolamine (NDELA), another carcinogen which is also rapidly absorbed through the skin. The European Union and European industry have reduced or eliminated DEA and NDELA from their products.
Used as emulsifiers or foaming agents in shampoo, hair spray, body gels, hair dyes, facial cleansers, baby shampoos, bubble bath liquids, and soaps.
Food, Drug & Cosmetic (FD&C) Synthetic colors
- Developed from coal tar, aluminum salts and lead. Lead toxicity primarily targets the nervous system, kidneys, bones, heart, blood and poses greatest risk to infants, young children and pregnant women. Used as coloring agents in cosmetics such as: shampoos, conditioners, eye shadows, toothpastes, hair dyes, antiperspirants, deodorants, lipstick and more.
- An inexpensive preservative and disinfectant; a colorless gas obtained by the oxidation of methyl alcohol. Also found on labels as: Formalin, Methyl aldehyde, Methylene oxide, Morbicid acid , Methanal, Oxymethyleneopane-1, 3-diol. These ingredients release formaldehyde: Quaternium-15, 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1,3-diol, imidazolidinyl urea, and diazolidinyl urea.
Quoting the US Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety, "Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen and has been linked to nasal and lung cancer, and with possible links to brain cancer and leukemia. Short-term exposure to formaldehyde can be fatal. Long-term exposure to low levels of formaldehyde may cause respiratory difficulty, eczema, and sensitization."
Almost all commercial cosmetic products (skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants, fingernail polish, nail hardeners, makeup, bubble bath, bath oils, shampoos, creams, mouthwashes, deodorants, and soaps) found in stores contain some form of formaldehyde.
- Fragrance under the terms synthetic/natural and/or ingredient on the label can indicate the presence of an unknown amount of ingredients 1 - 4000+, mostly synthetic. Symptoms reported to FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Fragrance can affect the central nervous system causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope and other behavioral changes. Found in most cosmetic products, lotions, face creams, bath oils, salts, lipsticks, makeup, shampoo, etc.
- Derived from petrochemicals or sugar cane. Overuse or long term use may lead to trapped toxins and result in the damage to skin tissue. This may interfere with the skin regenerative capacity. The skin may become hyper - sensitive to damaging sun rays. Found in wrinkle creams, facial gel, toners, cleansers, facial and body exfoliants, acne treatments, and mud masks.
- Derived from sheep's wool. May have pesticide contamination due to frequent sheep dipping to control parasites and diseases.
- As directed by the FDA, "The use of mercury compounds as cosmetic ingredients is limited to eye area cosmetics at concentrations not exceeding 65 parts per million of mercury calculated as the metal (about 100 ppm or 0.01% phenylmercuric acetate or nitrate) and provided no other effective and safe preservative is available for use. Mercury compounds are readily absorbed through the skin on topical application and have the tendency to accumulate in the body. They may cause allergic reactions, skin irritation or neurotoxic manifestations." In other countries outside the USA mercury is found in skin whitening products, increasing the danger of mercury poisoning by skin absorption.
- A mixture of refined liquid hydrocarbons derived from petroleum, also listed as petrolatum, paraffin wax/oil, and liquid paraffin. Mineral Oil may interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism, toxin removal and plug the skin pores. Used in baby lotions and oils, cleansing creams, emollients, eye creams and moisturizers, makeup foundations and removers, hand lotions, lipsticks, mascaras, pressed powders, and ointments.
- A cosmetic form of mineral oil also used for industrial purposes such as: automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze, rubber cleaner, stain removers, fabric softener, wallpaper stripper and more. In the skin and hair, propylene glycol works as a humescent, retention of moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. Found in makeups, deodorants, shampoo, detanglers, styling mousse, cleansing creams, mascaras, soaps, skin creams, bubble bath, baby powders, hair conditioners, toner, after shave, and baby wipes. It is a known eye and skin irritant and dries body fluids in the skin. Some uses are banned in European Union.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Sodium Laureth Sulphate
- synthetic detergents, emulsifiers and foaming agents. Dries skin and hair and may cause eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, canker sores, and formation of nitrosamines, which are possible cancer-causing substances. Used in shampoos, lotions, creams, toothpastes, body gels, hair dyes, facial cleansers, baby shampoos, baby wipes, bubble baths.
Talc (magnesium silicate)
- may be contaminated with asbestos and crystalline silicate because even after purification some of these dangerous particles remain. Accidental inhalation of the powder may dry out the lining of the lungs and can obstruct small airways, resulting in respiratory distress or even death. Talc has been linked to lung and ovarian cancer. It is a primary ingredient in baby powders and bath powders, face powders, eye shadows, blushers, face creams, cake makeup foundations and liquid foundations.
These are only a few ingredients commonly used daily as grooming aids.
To quote the Food and Drug Administration, "With the exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may, on his own responsibility, use essentially any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without approval."
Using the Household Products Database:
Health and Safety Information on Household Products from the National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov
Here is a sample listing of general ingredients found in a well known skin cream:
Fragrance, perfume, Glycerin, Stearic acid, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Glyceryl stearate, Isopropyl palmitate, Trisodium EDTA, Sorbitan oleate, Water, Ceresin (Ozokerite), Candelilla wax, Petrolatum Carbomer 934, TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Cetyl alcohol, Imidazolidinyl urea, Laureth-23, Mineral oil.
Would you go to the store to buy the aforementioned ingredients. Are they what you would prepare for dinner?
Do they meet this criteria of, If it is safe enough to eat, it is safe enough to put on your skin?