Disclaimer for Shirley's Wellness Cafe

The Ugly Side of Toxic Cosmetics

The amount of toxins in our environment has reached a level where the FDA now has designated "permissible" levels of dioxin and other harmful chemicals in the environment, food and cosmetics. Today we have over 300 chemical toxins including dioxin in the tissues that were not found in any human before 1940. Make-up and body care products have been linked to allergic reactions, birth defects, and even cancer. It is a medically recognized fact that our body absorbs significant amounts of what we put on our skin. The absence of government oversight for this $35 billion industry leads to companies routinely marketing products with ingredients that are poorly studied, not studied at all, or worse, known to pose potentially serious health risks.

Cosmetics Linked to Health Problems

Make-up and body care products have been linked to allergic reactions, birth defects, and even cancer. It is a medically recognized fact that our body absorbs significant amounts of what we put on our skin. With certified organic food rapidly becoming the nutrition of choice by the health conscious amongst us, why would we accept any less for our skin? An environmental health specialist at Stirling University in Scotland, Dr. Baillie-Hamilton details how toxins may be linked to dozens of serious health problems, including immune system diseases, neurological disorders, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, hyper-sensitivity, obesity, musculoskeletal disorders and childhood health problems. "These chemicals are simply not going to go away," Institute reports "pesticides are a likely cause of immune suppression for millions of people throughout the world" and that 25% of the chemicals in the environment are neurotoxins linked to increased incidence of brain disease.

Unprecedented Warning to the Cosmetics Industry

February 3, 2005 the Food and Drug Administration issued an unprecedented warning to the cosmetics industry stating that the Agency is serious about enforcing the law requiring companies to inform consumers that personal care products have not been safety tested. When risky chemicals are used in cosmetics, the stakes are high. These compounds are not trace contaminants. They are the base ingredients of the product, just as flour is an ingredient in bread. Many of these chemicals are found in percent levels in personal care products, nearly all easily penetrate the skin, and some are ingested directly after they are applied to lips or hands. And increasingly, companies are adding customized, futuristic "penetration enhancers" to drive ingredients even deeper into the skin, like Loreal's new nanoparticle technology, a miniscule, fluid-filled sack designed to burrow deep into the skin to deliver its "active ingredients." No safety testing required. Scientists find common cosmetic ingredients in human tissues, like industrial plasticizers called phthalates in urine, preservatives called parabens in breast tumor tissue, and persistent fragrance components like musk xylene in human fat. Do the levels at which they are found pose risks? Those studies have not been done. They are not required.

ToxicWorld Make-up and body care products contain ingredients suspected of causing cancer; potential neuro-, liver-, and immunotoxins; and suspected hormone disruptors that could cause birth defects in any children she might bear in the future. Many consumers may be surprised to learn that the US federal government doesn't require health studies or pre-market testing on personal care products. Manufacturers are free to put just about anything they want into cosmetics, a far-reaching category used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include everything from make-up and deodorant to lotions and mouthwashes.

Instead, the safety (or not) of the ingredients in these products is looked into almost exclusively by a manufacturer-controlled safety committee called the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel. Consequently, "89 percent of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution," says the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG). "The absence of government oversight for this $35 billion industry leads to companies routinely marketing products with ingredients that are poorly studied, not studied at all, or worse, known to pose potentially serious health risks."

For example, EWG found ingredients certified by the US government as 'known or probable carcinogens' in one of every 120 cosmetic products on the market, including shampoos, lotions, make up foundations, and lip balm. What this adds up to, says the group, is that "one of every 13 women and one of every 23 men are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products."

Safety of Phthalates in Cosmetics

The road to immunity Also of particular concern are the inclusion of phthalates, a group of industrial chemicals linked to birth defects that are used in many cosmetic products, from nail polish to deodorant. Phthalates are not listed as ingredients on product labels; they can only be detected through laboratory analysis. In April of this year, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), a coalition of environmental, social justice, and consumer groups, learned that the FDA has completed a study on the safety of phthalates in cosmetics but is refusing to release its findings. According to preliminary information uncovered by the CSC, two-thirds of health and beauty products analyzed by the FDA late last year contained phthalates. Two of the most toxic phthalates, DBP and DEHP, have been banned from cosmetics products sold in the European Union (EU) but remain unregulated in the US. In response to the FDA's refusal to publicly release this information, Friends of the Earth, a founding member of the CSC, has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the study.

Another class of chemicals that's gotten some press recently is parabens, short for 'para hydroxybenzoate.' These preservatives are widely used in cosmetics, particularly nail polish. Recent studies have implicated parabens as being associated with breast cancer, though more testing is needed.

Though there isn't always definitive evidence that a given chemical can cause adverse health affects, the fact that so few have been studied for safety is of significant concern. Plus, there's the effect over time of all these chemicals we're applying to our bodies to consider. The average person's morning routine puts him/her into contact with over 100 chemicals before breakfast, according to Aubrey Hampton and Susan Hussey, founder and vice-president of marketing, respectively, of Aubrey Organics. The cumulative effect of all of the chemicals in these products can add up over time, and no one truly knows what the results are.

Unprecedented exposure to chemical contaminants, pollution, toxic products and stress has increased unhealthy conditions, from arthritis and cancer to heart disease, and even the symptoms of aging. An environmental health specialist at Stirling University in Scotland, Baillie-Hamilton details how toxins may be linked to dozens of serious health problems, including immune system diseases, neurological disorders, digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, hyper-sensitivity, obesity, musculoskeletal disorders and childhood health problems. "These chemicals are simply not going to go away," Institute reports "pesticides are a likely cause of immune suppression for millions of people throughout the world" and that 25% of the chemicals in the environment are neurotoxins linked to increased incidence of brain disease.

Michelle Alpert, D.O . - "The world we're living in today is a toxic minefield from vaccines to pesticides to antibiotic laden foods to mercury poisoned fish to pollution both indoors and outdoors. It's no wonder so many people are suffering from fatigue and chronic illness, as well as chronic infections with viruses, bacteria and fungi. You can learn how to protect yourself from the forces that can damage your body and wear down your immune system .

Page Divider

Unborn Babies soaked in Chemicals, Survey finds

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2005 (Reuters) - Unborn U.S. babies are soaking in a stew of chemicals, including mercury, gasoline byproducts and pesticides, according to a report to be released on Thursday. The report by the Environmental Working Group is based on tests of 10 samples of umbilical cord blood taken by the American Red Cross. They found an average of 287 contaminants in the blood, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and the Teflon chemical PFOA.

232 Toxic Chemicals found in 10 Babies

Laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group have detected bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic component and synthetic estrogen, in umbilical cord blood of American infants. Nine of 10 randomly selected samples of cord blood tested positive for BPA, an industrial petrochemical. BPA has been implicated in a lengthening list of serious chronic disorders, including cancer, cognitive and behavioral impairments, endocrine system disruption, reproductive and cardiovascular system abnormalities, diabetes, asthma and obesity. In all, the tests found as many as 232 chemicals in the 10 newborns, all of minority descent. The cord blood study has produced hard new evidence that American children are being exposed, beginning in the womb, to complex mixtures of dangerous substances that may have lifelong consequences.

From the time we start preparing a room for a new baby, we are making choices about the child's environment. Many people get ready for a new child by painting, papering, and carpeting a baby's room with conventional products. They don’t realize that by doing so they may be creating an environment high in toxic chemicals. Most of us take it for granted that babies should be soothed with petroleum jelly and mineral oil, washed and shampooed with chemical-based cleansers, fed from plastic bottles, swaddled in disposable diapers, surrounded by scented products and put to sleep in pajamas treated with fire-retardant chemicals. But although parents act out of love, they are often unaware that the choices they make may be harmful to their child. There are baby care products by the hundred. How can a parent identify healthy alternatives?

Oxybenzone linked to Allergies, Hormone Disruption, and Cell Damage

25 MAR 2008 - A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that 97% of Americans are contaminated with a widely-used sunscreen ingredient called oxybenzone that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. A companion study published just one day earlier revealed that this chemical is linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy. Oxybenzone is also a penetration enhancer, a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin. Environmental Working Group identified nearly 600 sunscreens sold in the U.S. that contain oxybenzone, including products by Hawaiian Tropic, Coppertone, and Banana Boat as well as 172 facial moisturizers, 111 lip balms, and 81 different types of lipstick. The Food and Drug Administration has failed miserably in its duty to protect the public from toxic chemicals like oxybenzone in personal care products. At the request of industry lobbyists, including Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who represented the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, the agency has delayed final sunscreen safety standards for nearly 30 years. FDA issued a new draft of the standards last October under pressure from EWG, but continues to delay finalizing them at the behest of the regulated industry.

Modern chemistry keeps insects from ravaging crops, lifts stains from carpets, and saves lives. But the ubiquity of chemicals is taking a toll. Many of the compounds absorbed by the body stay there for years—and fears about their health effects are growing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on 148 substances, from DDT and other pesticides to metals, PCBs, and plastic ingredients, measured in the blood and urine of several thousand people.

Dr. Steve Nugent, the past president of the American Naturopathic Medical Association, reported recently that "in the typical American home there are more toxins inside the home than outside the home! Your cells actually contain over 400 new toxins that didn't even exist 45 years ago and we are losing the battle against toxins!" It's a fact. There are increasing amounts of toxins and chemical agents in the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe - they all contribute to the breakdown in cellular communication and disease. Studies have discovered various chemicals from our foods and environment that indicate man contributes 700,000 tons of pollutants into the air every day, ranging from everyday household cleaners to cosmetics and hair dyes. Chemicals and toxins accumulate in fat tissue. The more chemicals and toxins, the more fat the body manufactures.

Toxic Overload

Dr. Baillie-Hamilton

Toxic Overload According to "National Geographic," studies, various chemicals from our foods and environment that indicate man contributes 700,000 tons of pollutants into the air every day, ranging from everyday household cleaners to cosmetics and hair dyes "One new chemical enters industrial use every 20 minutes," says Paula Baillie-Hamilton, MD, only to join many hundreds of thousands of synthetic chemicals already in use. "As a result, the average person living in the developed world is now contaminated with up to 500 industrial toxins, few of which have been properly tested for harmful effects." Indeed, the US has only recently begun long-term research to establish a baseline for toxins in a portion of our population. Five percent of the 1,007 women in one such study had troubling levels of polychlorinated biphenyl (or PCB 188), which has been linked to breast cancer and weight gain.

"A staggeringly large number of the most common diseases of the developed world [most kinds of cancer, hormonal disorders, and low energy including chronic fatigue syndrome, immune disorders, heart disease, and sexual problems] are related to or can be triggered by these toxins," Dr. Baillie-Hamilton adds. Nowhere does the idea of “natural” or “organic” take a more gratuitous bruising than in the skin care industry. Many labels have long lists of chemical names, some followed by the phrase “derived from …” (some natural substance). This is grossly misleading for consumers who are looking for genuine safe skin care products.

Question Mark Do you have a question about Natural Health or need assistance? Contact Shirley
Call 323-522-4521 or 323-989-3372

Page Divider

Consumers Deserve Strong Organic Standards for Cosmetics

WASHINGTON, DC -Scores of "natural" cosmetic companies will be in Washington, DC September 5-7 for the Natural Products Expo East, the largest natural products trade show on the East Coast. While most companies that sell increasingly popular "natural" soaps, shampoos and skin creams in natural supermarkets such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes do not claim their products are "organic," an increasing number of these brands, such as Avalon Natural Products, JASON, and Nature's Gate, are misleading consumers into thinking up to 70% of such products are in fact "organic."

The body care companies in question claim that "organic floral waters" are somehow key functional components of their products. However, floral waters, that are also called "hydrosols," did not exist as an ingredient in body care formulations until companies started to use them to make fraudulent, inflated "organic" claims. Not only is the presence of these hydrosols largely inconsequential, their actual organic content is minimal since they are mostly ordinary distilled water. Nonetheless, various so-called "natural" body care manufacturers are using these waters to green-wash their products and make organic label claims, even though their formulations are in fact largely composed of the same conventional synthetic cleansers, conditioners and preservatives found in mainstream products. These companies assert "70% organic ingredients" on their labels and advertising to mislead consumers into thinking that they are buying mostly organic products when they assuredly are not.

Similar to an infusion or tea, which is made by boiling botanical material in water, floral waters are made by steaming plants, and then cooling the steam back to water. Products made with infusions or teas cannot count the water in such teas or infusions as organic in calculating organic content under NOP food standards. However, it has become distressingly common practice to use "Steam Tea" as the main "organic" ingredient in many personal care products by misleadingly counting the ordinary water in such "Steam Teas" as organic. .

The fraudulent practice of counting such water as "organic" in some major companies' body care products has been getting a lot of attention in mainstream press, from The New York Times and Los Angeles Times to Consumer Reports. The OCA has demanded that organic body care standards should mirror the standards for organic food products. This means that:

  • Certified organic agricultural feed-stocks are utilized exclusively, versus petroleum or conventional vegetable feed-stocks, in the manufacture of the key basic cleansing and conditioning ingredients.
  • Manufacture of such ingredients is reasonably simple and ecological.
  • The toxicity of each ingredient is minimal.
  • Non-agricultural water is not counted in any shape or form as contributing to organic content.
  • The OCA is a grassroots nonprofit organization concerned with food safety, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, fair trade and genetic engineering.
Chemicals and Toxins Are The Primary Cause of Illness, Disease and Obesity

Substances that are toxic to our bodies come at us from all directions: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the cleaning products we use, and the metabolic waste produced inside us. Toxins build-up in the body contribute to premature aging and chronic and degenerative diseases. Studies have discovered various chemicals from our foods and environment that indicate man contributes 700,000 tons of pollutants into the air every day, ranging from everyday household cleaners to cosmetics and hair dyes. Chemicals and toxins accumulate in fat tissue. The more chemicals and toxins, the more fat the body manufactures.

Page Divider

Natural Skin Care ... What does "natural" mean?

As the number of people who are concerned about toxins in our environment grows, more and more skin care companies are jumping on the "natural" and "organic" anti-aging skin care product bandwagon.

But what does "natural" and "organic" mean when we see them on a mainstream manufacturers skin care product label?

  • How do we really know if the skin cream product is really natural?
  • How do we really know if herbal skin care products are safe and non-toxic?
  • What are the best natural alternatives to synthetic and mostly toxic chemicals?
Natural skin care - is it really any better for us?

Our skin is the largest eliminatory organ in the body. It is a two-way membrane. Toxins are eliminated through the skin via perspiration and absorbed through the skin into the body’s circulation system, through hair follicles and sebaceous glands, but not through the sweat glands. One square inch of skin contains approximately 65 hairs, 100 sebaceous glands and 650 sweat glands. Every square inch of your skin is like a thousand open mouths, absorbing into the body most of what is put on it.

What skin care products are truly natural and proactive?

Skin care manufacturers are not supposed to claim that their products penetrate the skin. If they did, the products would then be labelled as “drugs” and would be governed by much stricter regulations. However, it is now recognised that the skin does absorb many ingredients in skin care preparations. This is both good and bad. Good, because it means our skin can be nourished from the outside with some wonderful ingredients. Bad, because some skin care manufacturers can use harmful chemical ingredients that would never be allowed to be taken orally, but are still absorbed into our system, through our skin.

SO - WHAT DOES “NATURAL” AND THE UBIQUITOUS “ORGANIC” MEAN ON SKIN CARE PRODUCT LABELS?

Nowhere does the idea of “natural” or “organic” take a more gratuitous bruising than in the skin care industry. If we first take the word "natural" and look it up in the Concise Oxford Dictionary we would find this description of natural thus; “existing in, or caused by nature; not artificial; uncultivated; wild existing in natural state; not disguised or altered”.

It seems pretty clear what "natural" actually means to me! Does it to you? However when vested interests in the skin care industry get hold of the word natural - they put a whole new slant on it. It may seem pretty clear to you and me exactly what we mean by natural but for the marketing men they obviously haven't read the dictionary and start bending the interpretation of natural to suit themselves.

Many labels have long lists of chemical names, some followed by the phrase “derived from …” (some natural substance). This is grossly misleading for consumers who are looking for genuine safe skin care products.

Synthetic Chemicals are anything but natural!

When chemicals such as Cocamide DEA or Sodium Hydroxysultaine are followed by the words “derived from coconut oil” the consumer is led to believe that these synthetic chemicals must somehow be "natural". While this may be true in some cases where a natural oil or extract is actually used, it is ultimately irrelevant because what you end up with after the chemical solvent extraction and processing is usually anything but natural or pure. It is just another chemical concoction with some rather awful sounding long names to describe the process the original "natural" substance went through
Now what about "organic"?

Again if we look in the dictionary for the word organic it is pretty obvious to us what we expect to find as far as safe natural products in general are concerned. Would you say in the context you are expecting to use or find the term organic that this would be a fair description;
"produced and involving production without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers or synthetic chemicals."

To me it seems rather elementary that when describing a product as organic that the above is exactly what the customer would expect. However to the marketing men this is not what they mean by organic. Lets delve a little deeper into this play on words

To create Cocamide DEA, a foaming agent found in some shampoos, requires the addition of a synthetic chemical and known carcinogen, Diethanolamine – DEA, to the coconut oil. It is therefore no longer natural, or safe! If we look at the term “organic” on a label, we usually think it means “grown and cultivated without the use of chemicals” as stated above. That is the conclusion most skin care companies would like us to come to when they use the rather loose term organic.

Unscrupulous skin care companies are cynically using the chemistry definition of “organic” – which is also defined in the dictionary as "a compound that contains a carbon atom" to confuse consumers. This is known in the trade as confusion advertising so the real picture becomes blurred. Carbon is found in everything that has ever lived. Vested interests - by using this definition of organic, they are saying that a toxic petrochemical preservative called Methyl Paraben is “organic” because it was formed from natural leaves that rotted over thousands of years to become crude oil, which was then used to make this toxic totally un-natural preservative.

How absurd is this when consumers are looking for natural skin care products?

The play on the word organic gets even worse. An increasing number of companies are now claiming to use “organic” herbs in their products. But, what about the rest of the ingredients? Are they safe? Are they "natural" or from an "organic" source? Surely there must be an authority that governs the use of the term “organic” on labels? The simple answer is NO.
What skin care products are truly natural?

The term “Certified Organic” IS governed by a number of internationally recognised bodies. In Australia the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) is the largest. Searching for products with the logo of a certifying body on the label is the only way you can guarantee the organic authenticity and integrity of every ingredient in the product. This can then truly be called a natural skin care product. Without the "Certified Organic" label, the organic claim means nothing, as it cannot be verified and most likely it is a complete hoax perpetrated by the marketing men and their hype.

HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE BUYING IS REALLY A 'NATURAL' SKIN CARE PRODUCT?

Fortunately, there is a very simple way to differentiate between the hype and truth in skin care and that is to read the ingredient list on the label. It is a legal requirement that all skin care products must be labelled with the ingredients in descending order of their quantity in the product. A good rule of thumb is to divide the ingredient list into thirds: the top third usually contains 90-95% of the product, the middle third usually contains 5-8% and the bottom third, 1-3%.

Here is the ingredient list of a so-called “natural” and “organic” skin moisturizer from a well known “natural” skin care company. (compare to an ingredient list of a Certified Organic natural body moisturiser.)

APRICOT CREAM

Natural or Organic ingredients include
1 Water (deionised)
2 Isopropyl Palmitate (Palm Oil Derivative)
3 Apricot Kernel Oil
4 Bis-Digyceryl Caprylate/Caprate/Isosterate/Stearate/ Hydroxysterate Adipate (vegetable Triglyceride)
5 Glyceryl Stearate SE (vegetable derived)
6 Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (glycerin-derived emollient)
7 Ceteareth - 12 (Organic Emulsifier)
8 Tocopherol Oil (vitamin E)
9 Chamomile Extract
10 Sage Extract
11 Linden Extract (Lime Blossom Extract)
12 Balm Mint Extract
13 Shea Butter (From Karite)
14 Wheat Germ Oil
15 Carrot Oil
16 Cetyl Alcohol (organic Co-emulsifier)
17 Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster)
18 Sorbic Acid (Organic Compound)
19 Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin E Derivative)
20 Methyl Paraben
21 Propyl Paraben
22 Imidazolidinyl Urea (Organic Compound)
23 Fragrance
24 FD and C Yellow No 5, D7C Red No. 33.

Content: Apricot oil (2.5%)

Take note of the last point that says "Content: Apricot Oil (2.5%). Notice Apricot Oil is No 3 on the list. Because skin care manufacturers are required to list the ingredients in descending order this means everything AFTER Apricot Oil makes up less than 2.5% of the volume.

This effectively means that about 90% of the product is water and Isopropyl Palmitate. Isopropyl Palmitate is derived from Isopropyl Alcohol, synthetic alcohol and Palmatic Acid, a fatty acid from palm oil. It is known to cause skin irritations and dermatitis and has been shown to have comedogenic (acne promoting) properties!

Nos 5 and 5 are all produced by chemical reactions between various fatty acids and glycerol (synthetic glycerine). They are largely synthetic and have been shown to cause allergies and dermatitis! Far from natural!

No 7 is a synthetic emulsifier that may contain dangerous levels of ethylene oxide and dioxane - both are known carcinogens. Again far removed from natural!

Nos. 8 to 15 are natural ingredients used in tiny amounts merely to make the product look good. They may have been grown using toxic organo-phosphates, other pesticides and chemical herbicides and extracted with the use of chemical solvents. Again anything but natural!

No. 16 May be natural or synthetic and has been shown to cause contact dermatitis and eczema

No. 17 Is otherwise known as caustic soda or lye - a powerful drain cleaner extremely alkaline and corrosive. A known sensitizer for many people with sensitive skin.

No. 18 Sorbic acid was once isolated from the Mountain Ash berry, but is now chemically synthesised and is a toxic preservative. No longer natural!

No. 19 is synthetic Vitamin E.

Nos. 20-22 are toxic and allergenic preservatives which have been linked to increasing estrogen levels in women and is implicated in the rising incidence of breast cancer.

No. 23. Probably synthetic, may contain phthalates that have been linked to birth defects. Phthalates are toxic gender bending chemicals found in virtually everyone tested for them. It is certainly not natural to have phthalates in your body or on your skin I can assure you.

No. 24. Synthetic colours that could be potentially carcinogenic.

Page Divider

Be Careful of what you put on your Skin

Make-up and body care products have been linked to allergic reactions, birth defects, and even cancer. It is a medically recognized fact that our body absorbs significant amounts of what we put on our skin. With Certified Organic food rapidly becoming the nutrition of choice by the health conscious amongst us, why would you accept any less for your skin?

Here's what you need to know.

Suzanne Anich of Minneapolis, MN, has a morning routine similar to that of many women. She shampoos and conditions her hair with products that contain 'natural ingredients,' according to the labels. She brushes her teeth, then washes her face with an upscale facial wash with the word 'purity' emblazoned across the jar. Then, she applies an anti-aging moisturizer and what she calls a 'low-maintenance' selection of makeup.

Suzanne was surprised to find out that nearly all of the personal care products she uses on her face and body contain ingredients suspected of causing cancer; potential neuro-, liver-, and immunotoxins; and suspected hormone disruptors that could cause birth defects in any children she might bear in the future.

"I'm shocked that the US government allows these products to be put on store shelves," Suzanne says. "I'll be throwing out most of my make-up and starting over. It's too bad, because the stuff I used seemed to work well, too bad the people who make them don't seem to care about their customers' well-being."

Fortunately, it's easier than ever to find products that won't endanger your health, and companies that do care about their customers' well-being. Here's what you need to know about the personal care products you may be using and what your alternatives are.

Regulated or Not?

Like Suzanne, many consumers may be surprised to learn that the US federal government doesn't require health studies or pre-market testing on personal care products. Manufacturers are free to put just about anything they want into cosmetics, a far-reaching category used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include everything from make-up and deodorant to lotions and mouthwashes.

Instead, the safety (or not) of the ingredients in these products is looked into almost exclusively by a manufacturer-controlled safety committee called the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel. Consequently, "89 percent of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution," says the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG). "The absence of government oversight for this $35 billion industry leads to companies routinely marketing products with ingredients that are poorly studied, not studied at all, or worse, known to pose potentially serious health risks."

"For example, EWG found ingredients certified by the US government as 'known or probable carcinogens' in one of every 120 cosmetic products on the market, including shampoos, lotions, make up foundations, and lip balm. What this adds up to, says the group, is that one of every 13 women and one of every 23 men are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products."

Also of particular concern are the inclusion of phthalates, a group of industrial chemicals linked to birth defects that are used in many cosmetic products, from nail polish to deodorant. Phthalates are not listed as ingredients on product labels; they can only be detected through laboratory analysis. In April of this year, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), a coalition of environmental, social justice, and consumer groups, learned that the FDA has completed a study on the safety of phthalates in cosmetics but is refusing to release its findings. According to preliminary information uncovered by the CSC, two-thirds of health and beauty products analyzed by the FDA late last year contained phthalates. Two of the most toxic phthalates, DBP and DEHP, have been banned from cosmetics products sold in the European Union (EU) but remain unregulated in the US. In response to the FDA's refusal to publicly release this information, Friends of the Earth, a founding member of the CSC, has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the study.

Another class of chemicals that's gotten some press recently is parabens, short for 'para hydroxybenzoate.' These preservatives are widely used in cosmetics, particularly nail polish. Recent studies have implicated parabens as being associated with breast cancer, though more testing is needed.

Though there isn't always definitive evidence that a given chemical can cause adverse health affects, the fact that so few have been studied for safety is of significant concern. Plus, there's the effect over time of all these chemicals we're applying to our bodies to consider. The average person's morning routine puts him/her into contact with over 100 chemicals before breakfast, according to Aubrey Hampton and Susan Hussey, founder and vice-president of marketing, respectively, of Aubrey Organics. The cumulative effect of all of the chemicals in these products can add up over time, and no one truly knows what the results are.

There are signs of hope that the cosmetics industry could be poised for a major overhaul, however:

Major Companies Phase Out Phthalates: Under pressure from the CSC, top cosmetics companies L'Oréal, Revlon, and Unilever recently said they have voluntarily removed phthalates DBP and DEHP from products sold in the US. Avon, Procter and Gamble, and Estée Lauder agreed to remove phthalates from their products in 2004.

FDA Gets Tough: By law, companies are required to post a warning label on products that have not been assessed for safety. In the past, most companies haven't adhered to this law. But last February, the FDA issued an unprecedented warning to the cosmetics industry stating that it will be taking steps to enforce the label law. "Such an enforcement action could ultimately require companies to issue consumer warnings for the more than 99 percent of personal care products on the market that have not been publicly assessed for safety," says the EWG.

The EU Gets Tougher: This past September, an amendment to the EU's Cosmetics Directive took hold, which requires companies doing business in Europe to eliminate chemicals in their cosmetics that are known or strongly suspected of being carcinogens, mutagens, or reproductive toxins. Of the thousands of questionable chemicals in these products, the directive targets about 450. (Compare that to the nine chemicals the FDA has banned or restricted in personal care products.)

California Follows the EU's Lead: Hoping to emulate the EU's efforts, California state senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) has introduced the California Safe Cosmetic Act of 2005. This bill would require manufacturers peddling cosmetic products in California to provide the state Department of Health Services with a list of their products and to identify products that contain chemicals identified as carcinogens or reproductive toxins. And another recent bill (AB 908), introduced by Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), would ban phthalates DBP and DEHP from cosmetics sold in the state.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: Thc CSC is calling on all cosmetics companies to phase the chemicals banned from the EU out of products sold in the US. Visit www.safecosmetics.org to help the CSC call on companies to be responsible. "Consumers have real power they're not exercising," Janet Nudelman of the CSC told Dragonfly Media. "We need to let cosmetics companies know we're not going to buy their products unless they make a strong commitment to safety."

  • Be Suspicious of Labels: Though words like 'natural' or 'hypoallergenic' look reassuring, on some products, they're basically meaningless. The FDA has no control over these labels. Products labeled 'natural,' for example, may contain some natural ingredients, but they may also include synthetic dyes and fragrances. 'Hypoallergenic' merely means that the most common irritants are left out, but other potentially problematic chemicals may still be in the mix. 'Fragrance-free' means a product has no perceptible odor, and synthetic ingredients may still be added to mask odors.
  • Scrutinize Ingredients: The EWG recently launched its Skin Deep online database, making it easier than ever to check the safety of over 7,500 personal care products, from OPI nail polish to Aveda shampoo to Johnson's Baby Oil. Visit www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep. If your product of choice isn't yet listed on Skin Deep, you can enter suspicious-looking ingredients into Environmental Defense's chemical database, Scorecard.org. Scorecard lets you know about known and suspected health effects caused by hundreds of chemicals, along with the sources (often government agencies) that have questioned each chemical.
  • Cosmetics that contain certified organic ingredients generally contain mainly natural ingredients, including those that have been grown without the use of toxic pesticides. Unfortunately, organic doesn't necessarily mean problem-free. Even organic companies need to keep their products from rotting away on store shelves, in warehouses, and in your medicine cabinet. Some may turn to synthetic chemicals to keep their products fresh and useful. Be sure to check the ingredients list on your favorite organic products.
Page Divider

The Compact for Safe Cosmetics

To date, 87 companies have signed the CSC's "Compact for Safe Cosmetics," pledging to phase the 450 chemicals banned by the EU out of all of their products. The vast majority of them are organic and natural products companies including members of Co-op America's Business Network, who are screened for their commitment to going the extra mile to protect their workers, consumers, communities, and the environment. In addition, cosmetics giants L'Oreal and Revlon say their cosmetics now comply with European law, though they haven't signed the compact. You can find a list of the companies who have signed at www.safecosmetics.org/companies/signers.cfm.

The very best option is to find a cosmetics company that has signed the CSC's compact and uses certified organic and natural ingredients. Those companies are listed in the box on this page, and many have products that are readily available at natural products and food stores, as well as online or by mail order.

One such company is EcoColors, which sells 'almost all-natural' commercial and home hair dye kits made with organic ingredients. "When I became pregnant with my son in 1990, I was a hairdresser doing five colors a day in the salon and teaching hair color at night," says Lisa Saul, president of EcoColors. "I started getting rashes on my wrists and having sinus issues, and I thought, ‘If these chemicals are doing this to me, what are they doing to my child?"

That question led her to found her company, and it also takes her to the lab on a regular basis, where she works on pinpointing problematic hair dye ingredients and making her company's products as safe as possible.

"I've known so many people who've gotten hurt by the chemicals in different products,' she says. "So I'm committed to making sure hairdressers and my customers are using things that are healthy for them."

WHAT ARE THE NATURAL ALTERNATIVES TO CHEMICALS?

All skin care products, both synthetic and natural, contain items from the following categories in some combination or other:

EMOLLIENTS

Emollients serve two functions; they prevent dryness and protect the skin, acting as a barrier and healing agent. Water is the best emollient, but because it evaporates quickly it is ineffective. It needs to be held on the skin by emollient oils in what is called an emulsion. Synthetic emollients are occlusive i.e. they coat the skin and do not allow it to respire (much like plastic wrap), which can cause skin irritation. Some synthetic emollients can accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes. They are also non-biodegradable, causing a negative environmental impact. Far from natural!

Natural emollients actually nourish the skin and care for it. They are metabolised by the skin’s own enzymes and absorbed into it. They are readily biodegradable and are of edible quality. Completely natural!
Some Synthetic Un-"Natural" Skin Care Emollients:

PEG compounds (eg PEG- 45 Almond Glyceride) may contain the toxic by-product dioxane Synthetic alcohols (anything that contains the phrase benzyl –, butyl-, cetearyl-, cetyl -, glyceryl-, isopropyl-, myristyl propyl-, propylene-, or stearyl-) eg Isopropyl Palmitate, Diglyceryl Caprylate) have been shown to cause allergies and dermatitis. Hydrocarbons (eg mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin) contain carcinogenic and mutagenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and can cause chemically induced acne. Silicone Oils (eg dimethicone, cyclomethicone, copolyol) can clog the skin like plastic wrap and cause tumours when painted on lab animals (according to the Material Safety Data Sheet supplied by the manufacturer).

Some Natural Skin Care Emollients:

Plant Oils (eg. Jojoba, Avocado, Rosehip) Shea, Cocoa and Jojoba Butters

HUMECTANTS

The main purpose of any cream is to keep the skin moist. Many conventional creams form a suffocating film on the skin to prevent moisture loss. Even a natural humectant, glycerin, actually attracts water from the air and surrounding tissue. It keeps the skin moist as long as there is sufficient moisture in the air. In a dry climate it actually draws moisture from the skin. Collagen, elastin and keratin enjoy some popularity as humectants. Whilst they are compatible with the skin and deposit a protective film, they are usually sourced from animals and therefore cannot be termed 'cruelty free'. Some skin care companies would like you to believe that your skin can use special animal proteins to rejuvenate and replace aging cells. This is nonsense! The size of the molecules, even when broken down (hydrolysed), are far too large to penetrate the skin. Even if they could get in, they would be immediately rejected as foreign matter and attacked by the immune system.

Natural phospholipids, from lecithin, are fantastic humectants. An important benefit of phospholipids is that they are hygroscopic (attract water from the surrounding air) and hold water where an increased level of hydration is needed. Therefore, phospholipids increase the hydration levels of the skin without being occlusive (forming a film to prevent water loss, and preventing normal cellular function). A recent study proved the value of topically applied phospholipids in skin care. It found that environmental factors (sun, wind, pollution) and the detergents and solvents, found in most skin cleansers, actually stripped the natural phospholipid content from the top layer of skin. This loss resulted in a rough feel and a pitted appearance under a microscope. Importantly, the phospholipids in the uppermost skin layers cannot be replaced by natural cell function, as the top layer of cells no longer metabolise; they serve only as a protective barrier.

Remarkably, the study showed that topically applied plant phospholipids restore the barrier function of the skin, protecting it from substances such as bacteria and harmful chemicals.
Some Synthetic Un-"Natural Humectants

1. Propylene Glycol – causes irritation and contact dermatitis
2. Ethylene/Diethylene Glycol causes irritation
and contact dermatitis
3. PEG compounds (eg Polyethylene Glycol)
may contain the toxic by-product dioxane

Some natural Humectants

1. Lecithin
2. Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5)
3. Glycerin

EMULSIFIERS

Surface-active-agents are substances capable of dissolving oils and holding dirt in suspension so it can be rinsed away with water. They are used in skin cleansers and shampoos which are often claimed to contain "natural" ingredients

A serious problem with ethoxylated surfactants (those that utilise ethylene or propylene oxide in the chemical reaction) is that they are often contaminated with dioxane, a potent carcinogen. The exact same toxic carcinogen sprayed on the Vietnam jungle during Agent Orange which caused hundreds of thousands of birth defects and cancers in Vietnamese civilians and huge increases in the cancer rates for US and Australian army personnel. Far from NATURAL!

These surfactants are listed on labels as ingredients ending with -eth, (like laureth) or containing the phrase PEG (Poly Ethylene Glycol), or PPG (Poly Propylene Glycol). Another dangerous class of surfactants are amides. These are listed on labels containing the term TEA - TriEthanolAmine, DEA - DiEthanolAmine and MEA MonoEthanolAmine. All compounds containing TEA, DEA, and MEA can undergo nitrosation with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. One study found that over 40% f products containing triethanolamine (TEA) were contaminated with these potent carcinogens.

Would you call this "Skin Care"?

Natural saponins (foaming agents) are a much better choice for shampoos. They gently cleanse the hair skin and scalp without stripping the natural oils.

Some Synthetic Surfactants

1. Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl or Laureth Sulphate
2. Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate
3. Sodium Lauroyl or Cocoyl Sarcosinate
4. Cocomidopropyl Betaine
5. TEA compounds
6. DEA compounds
7. PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) compounds
8. Quarternium -7,15,31,60 etc
9. Lauryl or Cocoyl Sarcosine
10. Disodium Oleamide or Dioctyl Sulfosuccinate
11. etc. etc. etc.

Some Natural Surfactants

1. Castile Soap
2. Yucca Extract
3. Soapwort
4. Quillaja Bark Extract

PRESERVATIVES

The decaying process is natural and happens with or without preservatives. Skin care products do not (and should not) last for ever. Just like food, all natural skin care products will eventually deteriorate and go rancid. The effectiveness, not safety, of synthetic chemical preservatives has only been “proven” by cruel animal testing. Chemical preservatives are generally used because they are much cheaper than, and extend the shelf life of the product more than natural alternatives. Once again so far removed from natural it isn't funny.

You know eating fresh natural produce is far better for you than eating denatured long shelf life food - Don't you? Well the same applies to your skin care products. Safe non-toxic fresh skin care products are far better for your health than the alphabet soup of chemical concoctions the "skin care" companies generally come up with.

Storing natural products in the fridge will help extend their life. Some Synthetic Preservatives:

1. Imidiazolidinyl Urea (Germall 115) and Diazolidinyl Urea (Germall II) Causes contact dermatitis. Germall 115 releases formaldehyde over 10°C. Un-natural!
2. DMDM Hydantoin Highly toxic, causes contact dermatitis, contains formaldehyde. Used in shampoos and deodorants. Un-natural!
3. Methyl, Propyl, Butyl and Ethyl Paraben Toxic, Causes allergic reactions and skin rashes. Used in a huge range of products and is implicated in increasing breast cancer rates when used as a preservative in underarm deodorants. UN-natural!
4. 2-Bromo-2-Nitro-Propane-1, 3-diol. (Bronopol). Toxic - causes allergic contact dermatitis. Used in face creams, shampoos, mascaras and bath oils.
5. Benzalkonium Chloride - Highly toxic, primary skin irritant. Used in shampoos, conditioner and deodorants. UN-natural!
6. Quarternium-15 Toxic, causes skin rashes and allergic reactions. UN-natural!
7. Chloromethylisothiazolinone and Isothiazolinone - Cause contact dermatitis
8. Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone- Both cause allergies
9. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) - Both cause allergic contact dermatitis - worse BHT is carcinogenic!

This alphabet soup of unnatural synthetic chemicals which go into making the average skin care product and/or cosmetic is believed to be playing a major part in the enormous increase in cancer rates in the developed countries of the world. Research scientists such as Dr Samuel Epstein have been speaking out strongly for decades trying to warn the public of the dangers of un-natural toxic chemicals in personal and skin care products. We are losing the "winnable war on cancer" due to vested interests totally ignoring the damage that low level exposure to toxins over may years do to our immune systems. Our grandparents were never exposed to this vast array of artificial toxic chemicals.
Some Natural Preservatives

1. Tea Tree essential oil
2. Thyme essential oil
3. Grapefruit Seed Extract
4. D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E)

Toxaemia and Internal Cleansing

Dr. Bruce Fife - "Every day we are exposed to toxins in one form or another. We encounter them in the air we breath, the food we eat, and the water we drink. The environment is filled with natural and manmade toxins. Even our own bodies produce toxic metabolic waste. While our immune system can detoxify and eliminate many of the toxins we are exposed to each day, it can only do so much. If we are exposed to more toxins than our immune system can process and eliminate, these toxins accumulate in body tissues. As toxins accumulate in our bodies, cells and tissues begin to degenerate. When this happens symptoms arise."

"Autogenous self-generated poisoning is what we call Toxaemia." Natural Hygiene holds that the one cause of all disease is the toxic saturation at the cellular level of the bodily tissues, bloodstream, and fluids brought on by the depletion of Nerve Energy reserves through wrong living habits. This state of self-poisioning is alternately termed "Auto-Intoxication," "Toxicosis," and "Toxemia." Every act of every cell in the body produces waste. This waste is poisonous, it is incompatible with the life of the cell..." "The cells throw their waste into the lymph that carries it back to the blood. The blood takes the waste to the excretory organs mentioned above for elimination." "Normal elimination keeps the blood and lymph clean. Toxaemia is hence the aftermath of Enervation. Enervation in brief is the sum total of all our expenditures of nerve energy involved in our day to day living. When the sum of our daily expenditure is greater than we can or than we do recuperate daily, we become enervated. When an enervated individual is saturated with toxins, any additional enervating influence that puts an added check to elimination will cause the toxaemia to be pushed above the point of toleration, and will precipitate a crisis, a process of compensatory elimination through channels whose main work is not elimination, e.g., en mucous membranes (colds, catarrh, inflammation and skin eruptions)." "Natural Hygienists know the cause and they also know how to remove it. Fasting will enable the body to rid itself of toxins and hygienic living will prevent their recurrence."

"There is really only one disease of the body. It is called Toxemia. Many doctors of natural hygiene have proven this in their work, but common knowledge of the way the body works, along with common sense, will also support this statement. In his book "Toxemia Explained" Dr. John Tilden explains the definition of Toxemia as natures effort to eliminate toxins from the blood."

We should all avoid toxic synthetic chemicals from all sources. We can do this largely by sourcing organic produce as much as we possibly can and using only certified organic completely natural personal care products and cosmetics. You may be amazed at the huge difference these simple measures will make to your health. Informed people make informed choices.



Shirley's Wellness Cafe

Consumer Alert!




Home Business Opportunity

Work from home opportunity

Work from home and make an excellent income while contributing to helping people and pets naturally. Shirley will show you how to get started and will personally give you a free consultation.

Contact Shirley for an Appointment Today!

Are you poisoning your pets?

The Medical-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex - Corruption in Drug Research and in Medicine

Vaccination - Deception and Tragedy

Side Effects of Flu Vaccine, and Tamiflu Drug Dangerous Side Effects or Flu Vaccine, H1N1, and Tamiflu Drugs

NFL cheerleader suffers brain damage after getting flu shot (watch the video). Medical doctors warning about dangerous side effects of flu vaccine and flu drug.

Parasites Infections in Humans and Animals

The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About "The medical establishment works closely with the drug multinationals whose main objective is profits, and whose worst nightmare would be an epidemic of good health. Lots of drugs MUST be sold. In order to achieve this, anything goes: lies, fraud, and kickbacks. Doctors are the principal salespeople of the drug companies." Guylaine Lanctot, M.D.

Magnesium Therapy

Magnesium Therapy: Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, and bones strong - "Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every organ system of the body. With regard to skeletal muscle, one may experience twitches, cramps, muscle tension, muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw joint (TMJ) dysfunction." Dr. Sidney Baker

Natural Stem Cell Enhancers

Natural Stem Cell Enhancers The first natural plant-based enhancers have shown to trigger the release of millions of adult stem cells from the bone marrow very quickly. These stem cells can then migrate and attach to any cells, tissue, bone, muscle, cartilage, organ anywhere in the body needing repair.

Detoxification comes in many forms and refers to many different programs that cleanse the body of toxins.Detoxification for Optimum Health - Chemicals and Toxins Are The Primary Cause of Illness, Disease and Obesity. Detoxification comes in many forms and refers to many different programs that cleanse the body of toxins.

Curezone