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-Used as surfactants in some cleaning products
-Not easily biodegradable
-Found in some shampoo and hair dye
-Can mimic estrogen in the body
-Also know as: nonoxynol, octoxynol, nonylphenol, octylphenol, nonylphenol thoxylate, octylphenol ethoxylate


-Used as additive in cosmetics
-Used in deodorants and anti-perspirants
-Listed as carcinogenic, toxic and mutagenic
-Linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Ammonium laureth sulphate:

-Easily absorbed by skin
-Carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic
-Used in some hair and bubble bath products


-Carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic
-Exposure to small amounts(20,000ppm) for as little as 10 minutes can be deadly.
-The use of large quantities is now prohibited, however, it is still in use in combination with other chemicals in many personal care products.

Benzoyl peroxide:

-In many acne treatment products
-Marketed under many different trade names (In over 200 formulations)
-Can cause skin irritations, including burning and blistering

Butylated hydroxianisole (BHA) &
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

-Preservatives found in cosmetics and other personal care products
-May be harmful if ingested, inhaled or absorbed through skin
-Possible adverse effects include: irritation to skin and upper respiratory tract. Possible damage to tissue


-Contains Zinc Oxide which can clog pores
-Can contain Phenol, which is toxic to skin
-In 1992, the FDA was unsuccessful in banning it

Carbomer 934,940,941,960,961

-Used as a thickener, emulsifier and stablilizer in some creams, toothpaste, make-up and bathing products
-Can cause irritations and allergic reactions

Synthetic Cocamidopropyl Betaine:

-The synthetic form has been found to cause eyelid dermatitis. The semi-synthetic form may cause similar effects.
-Natural form is less drying

DEA, TEA, and MEA:

-Found in some liquid soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, lotions, creams and bubble bath
-Also found in brake fluid, industrial degreasers and antifreeze
-A synthetic solvent, detergent, humectant, emulsifier, wetting agent, and foaming agent
-Usually listed with the compound that it is neutralizing (for example: Lauramide DEA)
-An irritant to skin, eyes and mucous membranes
-Can cause allergic reactions
-Easily absorbed into skin
-Can accumulate in the organs of the body
-Animal studies show it can cause damage to liver, kidney, spinal cord, skin and brain


-Can cause allergic dermatitis
-Shown to have carcinogenic properties


-In many toothpaste and tooth whiteners
-Can damage tooth enamel

Disodium EDTA:

-Used as stabilizer in some cosmetics
-May contain ethylene oxide and or dixane, both toxins
-Effects on animals from oral exposure include: negative reproductive and developmental effects

FDC-n (FD &C):

-Color additive found in a large range of products
-Most are coal derived
-Some are irritants while others are carcinogens
-Some contain heavy metal impurities such as arsenic and lead, which are carcinogens


-In many oral care products
-linked to dental deformity, arthritis, allergic reactions and Chron’s disease
-Can impair the immune system
-Your body can only eliminate about ½ of the fluoride you ingest
-With continued use, will build up in your body over time


-A colorless gas whose vapors are irritating to mucous membranes
-Can be found in nail polish, soap, cosmetics and hair growing products
-Also known as DMDM hydantion or MDM hydantion or Formalin
-Very toxic when inhaled, a skin irritant, suspected carcinogen
-Is banned from use in cosmetics in Japan and Swedan


-Is the most common cause of allergies and irritant reactions to cosmetics
-Most personal care products (including baby products) contain fragrance
-Many compounds in fragrances are carcinogenic or toxic
-The FDA does not require manufacturers to list the ingrediants of a ‘fragrance.’ A fragrance can
have up to 4,000 different chemicals in it
-Some reactions to these chemicals may be: headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue,
forgetfullness, irritability, stuffy nose, skin rash, depression and sleep problems.

Imidazolidinyl Urea & Diazolidinyl Urea:

-Used in baby shampoo, bath oils, hair tonics and lotions
-Can cause dermatitis
-Also known as Gemall 11 and Germall 115
-They release formaldehyde, a toxic chemical, at low temperatures


-An animal by-product made from the fatty secretions of sheep’s wool
-Not used in pure form because it commonly causes allergies
-Cosmetic grade lanolin may be contaminated with pesticides such as DDT
-Pesticides can penetrate you skin and get into the bloodstream

Mineral Oil:

-Is a derivative of crude oil and petroleum is mineral oil jelly
-Used in cosmetics as a filler and to give a shelf life of 3 to 5 years
-Cheaper than natural oil
-Skin cannot absorb it
-Not water soluble, cannot be rinsed off
-Can clogg pores, cause acne, dry skin, accelerate free radical damage, speed up the aging process

Paba (p-aminobenzoic acid):

-A water soluble vitamin found in B complex
-Used in sunscreen lotions
-Can cause photosensitivity, contact dermatitis and allergic eczema


-Widespread use in cosmetic industry
-Includes: butyl, ethyl, germa, methyl and propyl paraben
-The most common perservatives in personal care products
-Derived from petroleum
-Can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes
-A study found that 18 of 20 breast tumors studied contained significant concentrations of parabens

PEG (4-200):

-An abbreviation for : polyethylene glycol, polyoxethylene, polygocol, and polyether glycol
-A manufacturing by-product
-Allergic reactions, hives, and eczema are known to occur from these synthetic plant glycols


-Found in hair sprays, nail polish, perfumes and lotions, etc
-Can be absorbed into skin or inhaled as a product is applied
-Are regulated as toxic substances under enviromental laws that limit their discharge into air, land and water, but no limit on the amount of phthalates used in consumer products
-Can cause damage to liver and kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts, cancer, early puberty in girls, and other reporductive disorders

Propylene Glycol:

-Found in shampoo and conditioners
-Derived from petroleum products
-Also used in anti-freeze, latex paint and laundry detergent
-Can cause eye and skin irritations, allergic reactions, rashes, nausea, headache, vomiting
-Is a mutagenic
-Can penetrate skin so fast that the EPA warns factory workers to avoid skin contact to prevent brain, liver and kidney abnormalities

PVP/VA Copolymer:

-A pertoleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays and other cosmetics
-Since the particles may contribute to foreign bodies in the lungs of sensitive persons, it is considered toxic

Sodium Cyanide:

-Is considered carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic

Sodium Laureth (SLES)/Lauryl (SLS)Sulphate:

-Used in almost all personal care products
-Is a detergent, wetting agent and emulsifier
-Small amount generates a large amount of foam
-Can strip moisture and oils from skin
-Can corrode and damage the hair follicles, with potential to cause hair to fall out
-Both SLS and SLES can enter bloodstream
-Are cheap to use
-SLS is used in testing labs as the standard ingredient to irritate skin. Can stay in body for up to 5 days
-SLS can penetrate the eyes, brain, heart, liver, etc. Tests show long term retention in those tissues
-Is of particular concern when used in soaps, shampoos and bubble baths because of possible eye penetration

Sodium Oleth Sulfate:

-May contain dangerous levels of ethylene oxide and or dioxane, both toxins

Stearalkonuim Chloride:

-A chemical used in hair conditioning formulas
-Cheaper to use than herbal components
-Can cause allergic reactions


-Is a chlorophenol, a class of chemical suspected of causing cancer in humans
-Used in detergents, dish soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, toothpaste and mouthwash
-Is registered as a pesticide by the EPA
-Can be stored in body fat
-Can damage liver, kidneys and lungs
-Can cause paralysis, sterility, suppression of immune function, decreased fertility, heart problems and coma


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