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Popular Shampoos Contain Toxic Chemicals Linked to Nerve Damage printable article

Friday, February 18, 2005


Popular shampoos contain toxic chemicals linked to nerve damage

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a correlation
between an ingredient found in shampoos and nervous system damage. The
experiments were conducted with the brain cells of rats and they show that
contact with this ingredient called methylisothiazoline, or MIT, causes
neurological damage.

Which products contain this chemical compound MIT? Head and Shoulders,
Suave, Clairol and Pantene Hair Conditioner all contain this ingredient.
Researchers are concerned that exposure to this chemical by pregnant women
could put their fetus at risk for abnormal brain development. In other
people, exposure could also be a factor in the development of Alzheimer's
disease and other nervous system disorders.

The chemical causes these effects by preventing communication between
neurons. Essentially, it slows the networking of neurons, and since the
nervous system and brain function on a system of neural networks, the
slowing of this network will suppress and impair the normal function of the
brain and nervous system.

These finding were presented December 5th at the American Society for Cell
Biology annual meeting.

I have frequently warned readers about the dangers of using brand-name
personal care products. The vast majority of these products contain toxic
chemical compounds like MIT that contribute to cancer, liver disorders and
neurological diseases. In fact, this chemical, MIT, is just one of dozens of
such chemicals that are found in personal care products.

Why are these dangerous personal care products allowed to remain on the
market? Because the FDA, which is responsible for regulating these products,
spends almost no time, money or effort actually investigating the safety of
such products. Instead, the FDA spends the vast majority of its time
approving new prescription drugs rather than protecting the public against
the dangers from such drugs or personal care products like shampoos, soaps,
deodorants and fragrance products.

In fact, it may surprise you to learn that manufacturers can put
practically any chemical they want into shampoos, even if it is a hazardous
chemical listed in the RTECS database of toxicity and even if it is
considered a toxic waste chemical by the EPA. The FDA allows all sorts of
chemicals to be used in these products, including chemicals that are known
carcinogens and that contribute to liver failure and nervous system
disorders. How's that for protecting public health?

If you thought prescription drugs were dangerous, just take a look at the
toxic chemicals found in personal care products used by virtually all
Americans every single day. Americans bathe themselves in toxic chemicals
and they do it by buying and using products made by brand name companies
that have premier shelf positioning at convenience stores, grocery stores
and discount clubs.

One of the more curious personal care products on the market is Herbal
Essences Shampoo by Clairol. Personally, I think this product is a joke
because it's trying to exploit the word "herbal" to imply that the shampoo
is healthy, even though it is primarily made with the same ingredients as
other popular shampoos. The first three ingredients, for example, are:
water, sodium laureth, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Big deal, huh? You can
find the same three ingredients in 99-cent shampoo at Wal-Mart. Plus, the
product contains all sorts of other ingredients that I personally would
never allow to touch my skin (like methylchloroisothiazolinone, if you can
believe there's actually a chemical with a name that long). Think the color
of the shampoo is from the herbs? Think again. Three other ingredients in
the shampoo are Yellow #5, Orange #4 and Violet #2.

In other words, this is a shampoo product purchased by naive consumers, in
my opinion. People who really know herbs and natural products can only laugh
at a product like this. Want a real shampoo? Buy Olive Oil Shampoo from
Heritage Products, available at most natural health stores.

The bottom line to all of this, though, is that every week, it seems like
we see a new announcement about some toxic chemical found in personal care
products that is related to either cancer or neurological disorders. And yet
week after week these products are being sold by retailers and consumed in
large quantities by the American people who remain oblivious to the real
damage these products are causing to their health.

Once again, the solution here is to protect yourself by learning the truth
about these products and switching to products made with safe ingredients.
There are safe shampoos, safe soaps, safe laundry detergents, dishwashing
liquids and even deodorant products. You don't have to expose yourself to
toxic chemicals to take care of personal hygiene, because whether you agree
with it or not, these disease-causing chemicals are going to remain quite
legal in the use of personal care products for many years to come. Why? You
can bet that the manufacturers of these products will fight against any
attempt to regulate or outlaw these toxic chemicals. That's because the
chemicals are convenient for such manufacturers. It's much the same way in
which food manufacturers use sodium nitrate in bacon and other packaged
meats. It's all about their convenience rather than protecting your health.

So, here's the idiot test for today: if I was standing on a street corner
with a bottle of colored liquid, and I told you that liquid contained a
toxic chemical that caused neurological disorders, Alzheimer's disease and
birth defects, would you buy that product from me and scrub it into your
scalp under warm water?

Of course not. But if you're buying these popular shampoo products, that's
exactly what you're doing right now. Such is the power of brand marketing in


Popular shampoos contain toxic chemicals linked to nerve damage


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