As we wrote in this post, parabens are the most widely used synthetic preservatives in cosmetics and skincare products. They are found in most of the nearly 25,000 cosmetics and personal care products in Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics database.
Parabens can disrupt the hormone (endocrine) system, and have been found in the breast cancer tumours of women in various studies. Though there’s no scientific consensus that parabens cause breast cancer, many women choose to buy cosmetics (especially deodorants) free of parabens just in case. There are also concerns may be toxic to organs and impair reproductive health.
If you’re checking the label on a skincare or cosmetics product, look for these names: butylparaben, parabens, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, sodium methylparaben, sodium propylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, benzylparaben.
Here at Mukti Organics we have to say that phthalates totally freak us out. We blogged about the excess of phthalates in gift wrap and children’s toys in this post in November last year.
Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals used as plasticisers and solvents. They’re found in everything from toys and food packaging to raincoats, shower curtains, nail polish, synethic perfume and shampoo.
Phthalates have been found to disrupt the endocrine system, reduce sperm counts, contribute to childhood obesity and have been linked to liver cancer.
As a result of pressure from health groups and activists, the US Congress banned six phthalates from children’s toys and cosmetics in July 2008, and now major toy retailers are saying they will phase out phthalate-laden toys. Woo hoo!
Pegs are groovy little devices you use to hang out your washing. But they are also very ubiquitous cosmetics chemicals.
PEGs are polymer derivatives (PEG is the abbreviation of polyethylene glycol) that are used in cosmetics as emollients (to soften the skin), and emulsifiers (which facilitate the mixing of oil- and water-based ingredients). They are also used to assist penetration of other ingredients contained in the product in question.
The Environmental Working group says polymer derivatives have been linked to cancer, reproduction and fertility, birth or developmental defects and that they could be toxic to organs. Other sources say PEGs can reduce the skin’s moisture levels and accelerate aging.
However the website Truth in Aging says the main thing to be concerned about with the use of PEGs is their ability to enhance penetration of other ingredients more deeply into the skin, which is a worry if you use products that contain lots of nasties, like parabens and phthalates. Truth in Aging says PEGS may also upset the moisture balance of the skin and that they are often contaminated with a bunch of toxic impurities.
Are you concerned about these groups of chemicals and do you check labels for them? Let us know in the comments below.