Toxins All Around Us - Part 1
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Toxins All Around Us - Part 1

Toxins All Around Us – Part 1

Have you ever looked at lists like the one below and wondered what the big deal is?  It’s hard to decide to make a change without knowing what the ingredients are or what they mean to your child.  I hope that will change today.

Here is information from an
article


How to read a label
Every personal care product must list its ingredients. Here's how to navigate the label:

    • Start at the end, with preservatives. Avoid:
      • Words ending in "paraben"
      • DMDM hydantoin
      • Imidazolidinyl urea
      • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
      • Methylisothiazolinone
      • Triclosan
      • Triclocarban
      • Triethanolamine (or "TEA")
          
    • Check the beginning of the ingredients lists, where soaps, surfactants, and lubricants show up. Try to avoid ingredients that start with "PEG" or have an "-eth" in the middle (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).  
    • Read the ingredients in the middle. Look for these words: "FRAGRANCE," "FD&C," or "D&C."

  From the Environmental Working Group Website 


Well that is a crazy list of chemicals that I cannot pronounce...if I cannot pronounce them, should I really care?  Is it worth getting worked up over seven or eight ingredients?Here is why you may want to consider following the recommendations from EWG and other companies that make consumers aware of harmful chemicals…

Parabensare considered a potential health risk because they have been shown to be endocrine disruptors in laboratory animal testing. From Wikipedia:
 Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems, deformations of the body (including limbs); sexual development problems, feminizing of males or masculine effects on females, etc. Any system in the body controlled by hormones, can be derailed by hormone disruptors. The critical period of development for most organisms is between the transition from a fertilized egg, into a fully formed infant. As the cells begin to grow and differentiate, there are critical balances of hormones and protein changes that must occur. Therefore, a dose of disrupting chemicals can do substantial damage to a developing fetus (baby).

THE PRESERVATIVESDMDM hydantoin
From Wikipedia:
DMDM hydantoin is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative with the trade name Glydant. 
Antimicrobial - that is good, right?  Don't we want to get rid of germs?  And, didn't I use formaldehyde in high school science class?  Yes, you probably did.  So what is the big deal? 
The big deal about formaldehyde…
From Wikipedia:
Formaldehyde is highly toxic to all animals, regardless of method of intake. Ingestion of as little as 30 mL (1 oz.) of a solution containing 37% formaldehyde has been reported to cause death in an adult human.[28] Water solution of formaldehyde is very corrosive and its ingestion can cause severe injury to the upper gastrointestinal tract. 

Imidazolidinyl urea: another formaldehyde releaser preservative.
 
The next two on the EWG list are unfriendly to microorganisms and  belong to the
isothiazolinones group.
From Wikipedia:
Together with their wanted function, controlling or killing microorganisms, isothiazolinones also have undesirable effects: They have a high aquatic toxicity and some derivatives (namely CMIT) can cause hypersensitivity by direct contact or via the air.


Methylchloroisothiazolinone
FromWikipedia
Methylchloroisothiazolinone (5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one) is a preservative with antibacterial and antifungal effects within the group of isothiazolinones. It is effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteriayeast, and fungi… In pure form or in high concentrations, methylchloroisothiazolinone can be a skin and membrane irritant or cause chemical burns. It was largely removed from most cosmetic products except for those with only short duration skin contact such as rinse-offs.

Methylisothiazolinone
 or MIT
    FromWikipedia:
Methylisothiazolinone or MIT, sometimes erroneously called methylisothiazoline, is a powerful biocide and preservative within the group of isothiazolinones, used in personal care products… Some studies have shown MIT to be allergenic and cytotoxic [toxic to cells], and this has led to some concern over its use. 

Now we move on to the "tri" family...
Triclosan
From Wikipedia
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent.  Triclosan also reacts with the free chlorine in tap water to produce lesser amounts of other compounds, like 2,4-dichlorophenol.[32] Most of these intermediates convert into dioxins upon exposure to UV radiation (from the sun or other sources). Although small amounts of dioxins are produced, some dioxins are extremely toxic and are very potent endocrine disruptors. They are also chemically stable, so that they are eliminated from the body slowly (they can bioaccumulate to dangerous levels), and they persist in the environment for a long time… Triclosan is toxic to aquatic bacteria at levels found in the environment. Triclosan inhibits photosynthesis in diatom algae which are responsible for a large part of the photosynthesis on Earth. 

Triclocarban
 From Wikipedia
Triclocarban (TCC), or 3,4,4'-trichlorocarbanilide, is a substance with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that is used in disinfectants, soaps and other household products. 

Triethanolamine (or "TEA")
From Wikipedia
serves as a pH balancer in many different cosmetic products - ranging from cleansing creams and milks, skin lotions, eye gels, moisturizers, shampoos, shaving foams etc. TEA is a fairly strong base: a 1% solution has a pH of approximately 10, whereas the pH of skin is below pH 7. Cleansing milk/cream emulsions based on TEA are particularly good at removing makeup. Because of its high alkalinity and the possibility that it converts to nitrosamines (carcinogenic compounds), its use in cosmetics was once expected to diminish. It is still widely used as of 2009.

Penultimate on the list...the "eth"s
“eth” in the middle:  these products are probably detergents, therefore possible irritants, and they are on the watch list for carcinognes…
In the example of sodium laureth sulfate from Wikipedia
“some products containing SLES have been found to also contain low (up to 279 ppm) levels of 1,4-dioxane, with the recommendation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that these levels be monitored.[7] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies 1,4-dioxane to be a probable human carcinogen (not observed in epidemiological studies of workers using the compound, but resulting in more cancer cases in controlled animal studies), and a known irritant with a no-observed-adverse-effects level of 400 milligrams per cubic meter) at concentrations significantly higher than those found in commercial products.[8] Under Proposition 65, 1,4-dioxane is classified in the U.S. state of California to cause cancer.[9][10] The FDA encourages manufacturers to remove 1,4-dioxane, though it is not required by federal law.”

PEG and Polyethylene – May contain harmful contaminants
From davidsuzuki.org:
Use in Cosmetics
PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases. They are also used in pharmaceuticals as laxatives.
Health and Environmental Hazards
Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane as a possible human carcinogen. Ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system  and the California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development.  1,4-dioxane is also persistent. In other words, it doesn't easily degrade and can remain in the environment long after it is rinsed down the shower drain. 1,4-dioxane can be removed from cosmetics during the manufacturing process by vacuum stripping, but there is no easy way for consumers to know whether products containing PEGs have undergone this process.  In a study of personal care products marketed as "natural" or "organic" (uncertified), U.S. researchers found 1,4-dioxane as a contaminant in 46 of 100 products analyzed. While carcinogenic contaminants are the primary concern, PEG compounds themselves show some evidence of genotoxicity  and if used on broken skin can cause irritation and systemic toxicity.  The industry panel that reviews the safety of cosmetics ingredients concluded that some PEG compounds are not safe for use on damaged skin (although the assessment generally approved of the use of these chemicals in cosmetics).  Also, PEG functions as a "penetration enhancer," increasing the permeability of the skin to allow greater absorption of the product — including harmful ingredients. 

And, finally...
FRAGRANCE
– Products with “Fragrance” on the label have the potential to contain 100s of different chemicals and trigger allergic reactions.  There is no regulation on the cosmetics and personal care industry so it might be a good choice to play it safe.

Motivated yet?  If the answer is yes and you want to check out your baby's personal care products, click  HERE to read Part 2 of Toxins All Around Us.


Here is a cheat sheet you can print out and take with you on your next shopping trip.
EWG Cosmetic Tip Sheet
http://static.ewg.org/pdf/EWG_cosmeticsguide_2011.pdf


Update 11/10/12
So I discovered some more chemicals to be aware of as I continue to search for the right products for our family:
Phenoxyethanol…the first site I saw said this:
Phenoxyethanol is the new darling of the chemical industry and it is increasingly turning up in cosmetics as a preservative as an alternative to parabens. It only recently came to public attention in the US when the FDA issued a warning about its use in a cream, called Mommy Bliss, for nursing mothers. The FDA warned that phenoxyethanol can cause shut down of the central nervous system, vomiting and contact dermatitis...
...Phenoxyethanol is a glycol ether. Glycols are a series of chemicals that find their way into all sorts of things: paint, lacquer, jet fuel...
... Phenoxyethanol is used as an anti-bacterial in cosmetics as well as a stabilizer in perfume.The product's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) says that it phenoxyethanol is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin and that it can cause reproductive damage. The MSDS refers to 100% concentrations, so is it safe at lower doses? In cosmetics the concentrations are typically 0.5% to 1%.
Read the whole article HERE

Here is what the FDA has say about it:
Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that is primarily used in cosmetics and medications. It also can depress the central nervous system and may cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration in infants.
Read the entire warning document HERE

From the phenoxyehtanol link, I came across another little nugget.  There is another alternative preservative that is used in cosmetics…and food…called sodium benzoate.

The natural form, benzoic acid, is found in foods like cranberries, prunes, cinnamon, apples…and fairly benign on it’s own.  Sounds fairly benign, right?  Here is the catch:
In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, in most beverages that contain both, the benzene levels are below those considered dangerous for consumption. Heat, light and shelf life can affect the rate at which benzene is formed.
Read more HERE

LINK LIST
Parabens and endocrine disruption

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocrine_disruptor
DMDM hydantoin
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMDM_hydantoin

Formaldehyde
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formaldehyde#Safety 
Imidazolidinyl urea 
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imidazolidinyl_urea
Isothiazolinone

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isothiazolinone
Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylchloroisothiazolinone 

Methylisothiazolinone
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylisothiazolinone
Triclosan
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triclosan
Triclocarban
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triclocarban

Triethanolamine or "TEA"
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triethanolamine 

Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_laureth_sulfate

PEG and Polyethylene
  • http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics---peg-compounds-and-their-contaminants/

Disclaimer:  
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

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