There are many common chemicals that are consumed by many of us blindly, without realising that they are in fact very toxic to the human body. Here are the top ten chemicals found in various everyday products that we should aim to avoid.
Fluoride is found in drinking water and in much larger amounts in toothpaste. Even small amounts of fluoride consumed from tap water can damage bones, teeth, brain, disrupt thyroid function and cause cancer. Over 100 human and animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage and a wide variety of health problems including:Increased lead absorption, disrupts synthesis of collagen, thyroid disease, dementia, lowered thyroid function, bone cancer (osteosarcoma), inactivates 62 enzymes and inhibits more than 100, inhibited formation of antibodies, increased tumour and cancer rate, disrupted immune system & damaged sperm and increased infertility.
One of the sources: Mercola
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener with effectively no food energy which is approximately 300 times as sweet as sucrose or table sugar but has a bitter aftertaste. It is used to sweeten products such as medicines, toothpaste and mouthwash.
Saccharin is typically made mixing toluene, chlorosulfonic acid and ammonia, all toxic chemicals. In 1970, researchers learned that saccharin caused bladder cancer in lab rats and for a while products containing saccharin were required to have a health hazard label but years later it was decided that saccharin was fit for human consumption as further investigations were shown to prove little about saccharin being harmful to human health.
3. Sodium lauryl sulphate
This ingredient causes a major concern because it is so widely used. Sodium lauryl sulphate is the most commonly used foaming agent found in cosmetics. Also used in car washes, floor cleaners and engine degreasers.
Health hazards include eye irritation, scalp irritation, swelling of the hands, face and arms. Perhaps most worryingly, sodium lauryl sulphate is absorbed into the body from skin application. Once it has been absorbed, one of its main effects is to mimic the activity of the hormone oestrogen.
4. Propylene glycol
A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze. In skin and hair products, propylene glycol works as a humectant, which causes retention of moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. Found in makeup, shampoo, deodorant, styling mousse, cleansing cream, mascara, soap, skin cream, bubble bath, conditioner and after shave. Known health effects include eye and skin irritation, and if swallowed in large amounts it can cause drowsiness, slurred speech, respiratory failure and convulsions.
Many antiperspirants frequently contain aluminium salts to reduce the flow of sweat from the skin. These salts work by blocking the sweat pores in order to temporarily inhibit perspiration. Aerosol and roll-on antiperspirants typically contain aluminium chlorohydrate, whereas sticks and gels are most likely to contain aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex.
Aluminium is a metal that mimics oestrogen and can also cause direct damage to DNA. Studies have not shown a direct causal link to breast cancer risk, but breast tissue has been shown to concentrate aluminium in the same area where the highest proportion of breast cancers are originally diagnosed.
When you see the word “fragrance” on the label it’s a big warning sign that the company you’re buying from is not truly dedicated to being natural. Fragrance is, at best, junk food for your skin, and, at worst, a cancer risk. Some of the problems caused by these chemicals include headaches, dizziness, rash, hyper-pigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting and skin irritation. Many fragranced personal care products contain phthalates, which are classified as “probable human carcinogens”. The individual chemicals in a fragrance don’t have to be listed on the label, under the guise that they’re trade secrets. So, when you see “fragrance” on the label, you don’t really know what you’re getting.
Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants. Common parabens include methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben.
They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumours.
8. Tetrasodium EDTA
Tetrasodium ETDA (which stands for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a water-soluble ingredient used as a “chelator,” which means it binds to certain mineral ions to inactivate them. Through this action, it can prevent the deterioration of cosmetic and personal care products, as it stops the growth of mould and other microorganisms. Tetrasodium EDTA also helps maintain clarity, protect fragrance compounds, and prevent rancidity.
This preservative is also a penetration enhancer. That means it breaks down the skin’s protective barrier, making it easier for other potentially harmful ingredients in the formula to penetrate tissues and even reach the bloodstream.
9. Sodium benzoate
Sodium benzoate is a preservative found in a variety of foods, beverages, condiments and a wide range of cosmetics. While it is generally recognized as safe in small doses, sodium benzoate may cause harmful health effects under certain conditions.
Benzene is a chemical that has been linked to increased risk of leukaemia and other blood cancers. While sodium benzonate doesn’t contain benzene, it can form benzene when combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Benzene levels between two and 20 parts per billion have been found in some soft drinks containing sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid. The safe level of benzene for drinking water is only five parts per billion, making the amounts of benzene in some soft drinks a health concern.
10. DMDM hydantoin
DMDM hydantoin is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative. It is used in the cosmetics industry and found in products like shampoos, hair conditioners, hair gels and skin care products. DMDM hydantoin works as a preservative because the released formaldehyde makes the environment less favourable to the microorganisms thus inhibiting microbial growth.
Formaldehyde is listed as a carcinogen and is irritating to tissues when it comes into direct contact with them. The most common symptoms include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, along with increased tearing. Skin can become irritated if it comes into contact with formaldehyde.