Do you know that some of the products that you use every day are potentially full of toxins that can affect your health? Many cosmetics, perfumes, personal care and feminine hygiene products contain chemicals that could lead to health problems such as early onset menopause, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Here are some statistics that may surprise you:
• The average woman uses about 515 synthetic chemicals on her skin daily.
• Over four pounds of chemicals from make-up are applied yearly.
• 94 percent of women and 69 percent of men have personal care routines that include the use of products containing known carcinogens.
• Only 10 percent of over 13,000 chemicals used in cosmetics have been evaluated for safety.
• One out of five adults are exposed to common carcinogens found in personal care products – hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs, and acrylamide.
• A test of the most popular foundations, concealers, powders, blushes, mascaras, eye liners, eye shadows, lipsticks, and lip glosses revealed serious heavy metal contamination in virtually all of the products.
• Carcinogens in cosmetics can include lead, beryllium, thallium, cadmium and arsenic.
• Hormone-disrupting phthalates appear in three quarters of all personal care products.
• 60 percent of what we put onto our skin is directly absorbed into our bodies.
• Absorbing chemicals through our skin is more dangerous than swallowing them.
The most well-known toxins in cosmetics are parabens, antimicrobial preservatives widely used in soap, shampoo, deodorant and lotion. These toxins mimic the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen and can disrupt normal hormone function. “Natural” preservatives like phenoxyethanol are often just as toxic.
The laws in the United States allow chemicals to be used that have been banned in many European countries. Cosmetic companies are not required to share any safety information with FDA, so they are not required to do tests or to share safety data about their products. The FDA isn’t even authorized to order recalls of hazardous chemicals from the market.
Try to avoid products with the following ingredients:
PTFE/PFOA -Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is used in anti-aging products. PTFE may be contaminated with perfluorooactanoic acid (PFOA), a probable carcinogen.
Polyacrylamide/acrylamide-Polyacrylamide is used as a binder in lotions and other products. It’s use of repeating molecules of acrylamide is a strongly suspected carcinogen.
Styrene-A suspected carcinogen and a hormone disruptor. Styrene may also be toxic to red blood cells, the liver, and the central nervous system.
Phthalates-This is a group of hormone-disrupting chemicals found in nail polish and fragrances.
Parabens-Used as preservatives in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics.
1,4-dioxane-Used in shampoos, body wash, and children’s bath products. Agency for Research on Cancer.
Cadmium and other metals-Cadmium is a known carcinogen and has estrogen-mimicking properties.
UV filters-Several UV filters used in cosmetics may have hormone disrupting properties, including benzophenone, homosalate and octinoxate.
Triclosan-This is used to limit the growth of bacteria and mold. It’s classified as a pesticide and can affect the body’s hormone systems, especially thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism.
It’s best to use products with a USDA 100% Organic seal to avoid potentially toxic ingredients. Remember that products claiming to be “all-natural” can still contain harmful chemicals.