Pushing Pink Elephants

Toxic Chemicals


In one of their very informative webinars, Breast Cancer Action cited some shocking statistics related to cosmetics. Everyday women are exposed to 168 unique chemicals in the cosmetics they use. This equates to an average of 12 products used on a daily basis. For men it was 85 unique chemicals in an average of 6 products. 20% of personal care products will have at least one cancer causing chemical, 36% with at least one linked to reproductive issues and 37% with at least one endocrine disruptor. Check out the webinar here.


Parabens are chemical preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. If you don’t see the words “Paraben free” look for the following most common ingredients: methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben, or butylparaben. Parabens are commonly found in conditioners, hair styling gels, nail creams, foundations, concealers, mascara, facial masks, skin creams (including diaper rash ointment), deodorants, sunscreen and hair-coloring.


Phthalatesor di-n-butyl Phthalate (BDP) and di(2-ethtylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) are known to cause a broad range of birth defects and lifelong reproductive problems in laboratory animals exposed to these chemicals during pregnancy and after birth. Phthalates are also hormone-mimicking chemicals, many of which disrupt normal hormonal processes, raising concern about their implications for increased breast cancer risk. Phthalates are considered to be endocrine disruptors because of their complex effects on several hormonal systems including the estrogen and androgen hormone systems. Phthalates are commonly found in nail polish, hair-straighteners and sprays, body lotions, and deodorants.


PetroleumJelly is a known carcinogen which is a substance or agent that causes the development or increases the incidence of cancer. Petroleum jelly is found in lotions, lip moisturizer, and many more products. Are you addicted to your lip moisturizer products? If you are, and believe me we can relate, it may be linked to the petroleum. Petroleum jelly stops your lips to from producing moisture on their own. Start looking for lip moisturizers that do not contain petroleum.


Fragrance is in a multitude of everyday products. If you are like us, you have probably never linked the presence of fragrance to toxic chemicals. If you see the word fragrance listed as an active ingredient but don’t see what is used to produce the fragrance, put down the product and run. Check out EWG’s great resources related to the ingredients that hide behind the word fragrance. Because fragrances are considered trade secrets, cosmetic companies are not required to put them on their labels. The chemicals used in fragrances are some of the most highly toxic chemicals used. 


Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) have been found to be a carcinogen. These are commonly used in toothpaste, shampoo, bath salts, and shower gels.


Formaldehyde family or Diazolidinyl urea, 3-diol Imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin , Quaternium-15, Nitropropane-1, Formalin , Methanal , Methyl aldehyde, Methylene oxide, Morbicid acid, Oxymethylene are all known carcinogens. These are commonly found in shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, liquid antiseptic hand wash, skin lotions, bubble bath, hair care products, antiperspirants, nail polishes, talcs, mascara, mouthwash, and make-up remover.


Amine, Diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), and amonoethanolamine (MEA) disrupt normal hormonal processes and also have carcinogenic tendencies. These chemicals are commonly found in shampoos, soaps, hairsprays, sunscreens, foundations, concealers, eyeliner, talc, face powders, shaving creams, hair coloring products (women and men), and hair sprays.



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