on the label:
vinyl, PVC, phthalates, DEHP, DBP, fragrance, parfum
Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals. According to the CDC, exposure to phthalates is wide spread and animal studies show that they are toxic to reproductive system and have other effects. Studies show that phthalates reduce female fertility and can cause premature breast development in young women. Phthalates in a mother’s body can effect the fetal development of her child. Baby boys whose mothers were exposed to high levels of phthalates are more likely to have altered genital development (2004 University of Rochester study) and altered levels of testosterone. For men, phthalates lower sperm counts, reduce sperm motility, and damage sperm. Endocrine disrupting chemicals have been linked to obesity. Several animal studies show that exposing mice to endocrine disruptors, including phthalates, causes them to become more obese. A 2008 study by the Environmental Working Group detected 7 out of 7 phthalates in all 20 of the 20 teen girls tested. Phthalates are not regulated by the U.S. federal government. In 2004, the European Union banned the use of bibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) from personal care products. California state placed DEHP on its Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Phthalates are used to make plastics soft and flexible. A 2002 study tested 72 cosmetic products from major U.S. brands and found phthalates in nearly 75% of them. None of them had the word phthalates on the label.
Cosmetics: Shampoos and conditioners, lotions, perfumes, nail polish, hair spray
Vinyl products, including friendly looking rubber duckies, shower curtains, and cosmetic bags
Products containing “fragrance”
Plastic clothing, raincoats
Some plastic food containers
reduce your exposure to phthalates:
Avoid Vinyl and PVC plastic. Unless the manufacture specifies that the product is phthalate-free, avoid soft vinyl products with a strong plastic smell including toys and shower curtains. Choose fabric or non-plastic cosmetic bags.
Avoid #3 plastics. Look for #3 on the plastic product, food container, or bottle; it is usually on the bottom. #3 plastics contain phthalates.
Choose phthalate-free cosmetics. Read the labels and look for “phthalate-free”.
Avoid products with fragrance. Phthalates are used in “fragrance” mixtures that are added to cosmetic products.
PVC Free campaign, including detailed info and alternatives, Campaign for Safe, Healthy Consumer Products
For detailed information on PVC hazards and alternatives, Greenpeace
How to Find and Avoid Toxic Vinyl (PVC) in Your Home, Greenpeace USA
PVC-Free Office Supplies, Sustainable Hospitals Project
Bisphenol A (BPA)
on the label:
some #7 polycarbonate plastics
Bisphenol-A is synthetic estrogen. Scientific studies link BPA to accelerated puberty, breast cancer, changes in behavior, obesity, and diabetes. Scientists found that BPA caused human breast cancer cells to grow and replicate in the lab. Studies also show that BPA can lead to female reproductive problems, changes in fertility, and altering of mammary glands. Animal studies show that mice exposed to BPA in the womb had accelerated puberty and altered female reproductive systems. Even low doses can have effects the endocrine system. In 2004, the CDC found BPA in 93% of urine tested from a sample size representative of the U.S. population. Several U.S. companies have removed BPA from their water bottles and baby bottles because of growing health concerns and consumer requests. The U.S. federal government does not regulate BPA, however states and local municipalities are taking action. The City of Chicago and Suffolk County in New York have banned the sale baby bottles and sippy cups with BPA. The State of Connecticut has banned infant formula cans, baby food jars, and reusable food and beverage containers containing BPA. Canada has also banned the sale of BPA baby bottles.
Hard plastic, polycarbonate water bottles (unless labeled BPA-free)
Plastic lining of canned goods and jar lids, including baby food
Hard plastic products and toys
reduce your exposure to BPA:
Choose BPA-free plastic bottles. BPA is added to hard plastic bottles. Due to the health problems caused by BPA, many companies have removed it from their products. Look for BPA-free labels or use only #1, #2, #4, #5 plastics for food and drinks.
Eat less canned food. Cans are lined with BPA and can leach into your food.
Don’t put boiling liquid in a BPA bottle. If you suspect your water or baby bottle contains BPA, only use cold liquid. BPA leaches out faster at higher temperatures.
on the label:
PFOA, PFOS, Teflon,
Gore-Tex, stain-resistant, “-fluoro”, “-perfluoro”
PFCs build up in the bloodstream and liver and can stay in your body for more than four years. Exposure to PFCs reduces a woman’s fertility. Fetuses are exposed to PCFs through the placenta and umbilical cord. Maternal exposure to PFCs before and during pregnancy can lead to lower births weights and may affect organ and skeletal growth of the fetus. Animal studies show that PFCs lead to increased rate miscarriages and neonatal deaths in mice. PFOA induced testicular, pancreatic, mammary and liver tumors in rats. In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency classified PFOA as a “likely human carcinogen.” In a 2004 study by the CDC they detected the PFCs: PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS and PFNA in more than 98% of the samples from a group representative of the U.S. population. The CDC concluded that PFCs are widespread throughout the general population and among different demographic groups.
PFC’s are designed to repel grease and water they are found in:
Some cosmetics including:
nail polish, moisturizers, and eye makeup, shaving cream, and dental floss
Teflon and nonstick cookware
reduce your exposure perfluorinated chemicals:
Aviod Teflon and non-stick cookware
Avoid clothing with Teflon or stain-resistance labels.
Reduce consumption of greasy packaged foods and fast foods. Greasy snack food packaging, such as microwave popcorn and French fries, often have a perfluorinated grease resistant coating.
Avoid stain-resistant carpet and furniture.
on the label: triclosan, “antibacterial”
Triclosan disrupts the endocrine system and effects the thyroid hormones. Studies show that it can act as estrogen and stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells. A 2002 animal study found that it disrupts the thyroid system when it was present in water at concentrations below 1 part per billion. These levels are found in humans. It was Found in all 20 teens girls tested in an Environmental Working Group 2008 study on chemicals in teen bodies. Triclosan promotes antibiotic resistance in bacteria that inhibits antibiotics from treating bacterial infections. Triclosan also may degrade into a type of dioxin, a hazardous toxin.
Triclosan is a synthetic antimicrobial that is used to kill bacteria. However, the FDA advisory panel concluded that “antibacterial” soaps, including those with triclosan, are no better than regular soap and water at killing germs or reducing infections.
textiles, underwear and socks
Face and body washes
reduce your exposure to triclosan:
Avoid cosmetics and body care products labeled “antibacterial”. Check the label, triclosan will be listed in the active ingredients. Instead of using antibacterial soap, wash hands with normal soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds. If you use skin disinfectant, use an alcohol rub or rinse.
Avoid “antibacterial” dishwashing and cleaning products.
Avoid products that say “protection against mold”, “odor fighting”, or keeps food fresher, longer.” These claims may, but not always, indicate the presence of triclosan.
CDC’s Antibacterial Household Products: Cause for Concern http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol7no3_supp/levy.htm
Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Triclosan http://www.ewg.org/node/26721
on the label:
methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparapen and ethylparaben
Parabens are synthetic estrogens, meaning that they act like estrogen in your body and disrupt your hormone system. Studies show that parabens are linked to breast cancer. A 2002 study found that parabens stimulate the growth of estrogen sensitive breast cancer cells. A 2004 study found parabens in breast cancer tumors from 19 of 20 women studied. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, six different parabens have been identified in breast cancer tumors. The parabens found in the tumors were in relative concentrations that are similar to their use in cosmetic products. A 2006, CDC study found parabens in almost all urine samples examined from a demographically diverse sample of U.S. adults. This indicates widespread exposure of parabens in the U.S. population. The European Union banned the use of sodium methylparaben in fragrance due to its ability to strip skin of pigment and other health concerns.
According to the FDA, parabens are the most widely used type of preservative in cosmetics.
A preservative in food
reduce your exposure to parabens:
Choose paraben-free cosmetic products. Read the ingredient label looking for “-paraben”. The most common parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparapen and ethylparaben. Some products may advertise that they are “paraben- free” on the label.
Avoid processed and prepared food containing parabens. Even prepared cakes at the grocery store may contain paraben preservatives.
SKIN DEEP Cosmetics Database on Parabens