Many of the chemicals on the list are endocrine disruptors, meaning they disrupt the body's endocrine (hormone) system by mimicking or blocking our normal hormonal signalling pathways. Our endocrine system regulates ALL of the body's biological processes, including brain and nervous system development, blood sugar levels, metabolism, growth and function of the reproductive system, the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands. According to the UN and World Health Organization, endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and are a global threat and can be a threat to the developing fetus.
Safer Chemicals Healthy Families
The Campaign for Safer Cosmetics
Women's Voices for the Earth
The Breast Cancer Fund
The Story of Cosmetics
Chemicals to Avoid
- Fragrance/Parfum/Perfume: This is a term used by industry to hide thousands of other toxic chemicals. More than 3/4 of the time, this term is used to hide the presence of phthalates (THAL ates), which are known endocrine disruptors. Phthalates are linked to birth defects, infertility, breast cancer, liver cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
- Triclosan: This is the active ingredient in "anti-bacterial" products. It's registered with the EPA as a pesticide and is also a known endocrine disruptor, disrupting thyroid function.
- Parabens: Parabens are preservatives linked to breast cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental defects, and reproductive toxicity.
- Oxybenzone and Octinoxate: These are chemical UV filters found in many spf products and suncreens. They are also known endocrine disruptors.
- DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine): These are endocrine disrupting chemicals that have strong links to liver and kidney cancer.
- Petrolatum: This is a derivative of petroleum. It is a carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor.
- PEGs (polyethylene glycol): These are byproducts of petrolatum. During the manufacturing process, the carcinogenic contaminant 1-4 dioxane is created.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Lauryth Sulfate (SLES): These chemicals are considered carcinogens. SLES can be contaminated with 1-4 dioxane, although you will never see 1-4 dioxane on the label. Manufacturers aren't required to list carcinogenic contaminants.
- Ingredients that end in -eth: Examples are triceteareth and ceteareth. These can also be contaminated with 1-4 dioxane.
- Retinyl Palmitate: This can be found in many sunscreens and moisturizers, however in the presence of sunight, it enhances skin cancer lesions by 21% (FDA, 2011).
- Synthetic Colors: These are made from coal tar and are labeled as FD&C or D&C followed by a color and a number, for example, FD&C Red No. 6. These are carcinogenic and have been linked to behavioral problems in children.