Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Don't Know Cocamide From Formaldehyde?

I need to reduce the amount of potentially harmful chemicals in my world. Not just for my own health, but also because of the obligation I feel to do something useful for this embattled world. There are so assaults on Earth's flora and fauna that are so far out of my ability to diminish or influence, safely managing my own sphere is a good place to start.

Ferreting out and safely destroying dangerous and potentially dangerous ingredients hiding in products in my cupboard, under the sink, in the shower... that's the least I can do. Well, actually the least I can do is make sure they're not there in the first place. 

It isn't easy. Even wearing my glasses the small print on those jars and bottles is just a blur. I'm thinking of bring my husband's "optiVisor " next time I go shopping... Despite the challenges I've found a lot of very helpful sites and research on the web. 

Here are some links and information if you're interested-

The Environmental Working Group posted the following help on their Facebook page:

How to read a label
Every personal care product must list its ingredients. Here's how to navigate the labels:
  • Start at the end of the list with the preservatives. 
  • Avoid:
    • Words ending in "paraben"
    • DMDM hydantoin
    • Imidazolidinyl urea
    • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
    • Methylisothiazolinone
    • Triclosan
    • Triclocarban
    • Triethanolamine (or "TEA")
  • Then check the beginning of the ingredients list, where soaps, surfactants, and lubricants show up. Avoid ingredients that start with "PEG" or have an "-eth" in the middle (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
  • Read the ingredients in the middle. Look for these words: "FRAGRANCE," "FD&C," or "D&C." Avoid these as well
If you've read my other posts you already know I think Environmental Working Group is doing important work. One of their projects is the Skin Deep database. I've learned a lot through the research the site has already done. And even if a product isn't already on their list I can "key in" the information from the product label here and get a preliminary product report. 

Also- I clicked here, scrolled down toward the bottom of the page and got a download called "Shopper's Guide to Safe Cosmetics". I've printed it out and have a copy in a few of my shopping bags. It's really helped me keep things straight when I'm shopping.  A large magnifying glass has helped, too.

The Cancer Prevention Coalition  (CPC) has posted some very helpful lists about hidden carcinogens and what they call "Frank Carcinogens" on their website. A few of the ingredients listed are below. As always, it's best to do your own research to know exactly what you say you believe and don't believe. CPC has some very interesting and bold ideas. 

more after the jump...

Here's just some of the information I found under a PDF file called Hidden Carcinogens-

These ingredients are FORMALDEHYDE releasers:

Diazolidinyl urea,
Imidazolidinyl urea,
Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

The following was in a PDF file called Frank Carcinogens :

Aspartame (NutraSweet) 
Bisphenol-A (BPA) 
Butyl benzyl phthalate
DEA cocamide condensate
DEA oleamide condensate
DEA sodium lauryl sulfate
Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
(BPA) Dioctyl adipate
Disperse blue 1
Disperse yellow

So obviously when I see any of these ingredients on a product label I put it back on the shelf.

I'm still figuring a lot of this out, but I had to start somewhere. It's a slow process... I'm taking it one product at a time. If you're on a similar "quest" I'd love to hear about what's important to you and what you've found...

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