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The Truth About Sunscreens & Personal Care Products

from: <> For links embedded in story go to:

There are companies that make sunscreens, and they call them organic, but they have synthetic chemicals in them. But that´s not the worst of it. According to our research, sunscreens give users a false sense of security in that while they effectively prevent sunburn, they do little or nothing to prevent skin cancer or the accelerated aging of the skin caused by sunlight.

There is a substantial body of evidence that shows that there is an increase in cancer when sunscreen products are used. We've done a lot of research into sunscreens. The bottom line is this: we have found no sunscreen ingredients which we consider to be safe.

So now you're thinking that the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide might be "safe" sunblocks, right? Isn't that what "natural" personal care products manufacturers have suggested?

The shocking truth is the fact that both chemical sunscreens (methoxycinnamate, padimate-o and the like) and physical sunblocks (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) have been found to generate free radicals when exposed to sunlight, which then can attack the nuclei of your skin cells and cause mutations. That´s right: they can cause skin cancer. Furthermore, sunscreen chemicals have been found to pass through the skin and mimic the effects of estrogen, which may disrupt the delicate balance of the body´s natural hormones.

The following excerpt is taken from a book called "Sunscreen Photobiology‹Molecular, Cellular and Physiological Aspects": "Illumination of titanium dioxide suspensions with sunlight can degrade organic materials and purify drinking water, while illumination with short wave UV kills human cells. This work shows that the distinction between 'chemical' sunscreens and 'physical' sunscreens, attractive though it may be to those who market them, is not based on any significant difference. Both varieties have the potential to produce reactive species that can attack biological materials (human skin cells) when they are exposed to normal sunlight... What is established is that particles of titanium dioxide as large as 220 nm can enter human cells in culture, and so it seems entirely plausible that if titanium dioxide does pass through skin it could enter cells under the skin (carrying with it the absorbed UVA and UVB radiation and hydroxyl radicals)."

Titanium dioxide is now being used as a new treatment for window glass because it attacks and degrades anything that touches it, thereby helping to keep windows clean. You probably don't want to have anything attacking your skin!

Small amounts of sun are healthy. People and children should remain indoors (at work and school or play) during the hottest part of the day, and when they venture out they should be sure to cover themselves properly. Schedule gardening, errands, play, etc., for early morning or evening hours. Our recommendation for protection: Loose-fitting clothing, shady trees and big floppy hats. Organic cotton is a good way to go! __________________________________________________________________________


 The newsletter that exposes the truth about your exposure to chemical pollutants in your home, school, workplace, doctor's office - toxins in your family's air, water, food and personal environments - and how to fight back. Hello all. Welcome to Exposure, the internet's best source for accurate, unbiased information about issues relating to personal health and the personal environment.

We have found it to be very disturbing that there is so much corporate greenwashing, whitewashing, blackwashing and brainwashing. We are unhappy that so many corporations, large and small, have decided to exploit words and concepts that citizens have come to trust and, with their questionable actions and misrepresentations, take millions and even billions of dollars from these well-intentioned folks who are trying to do the right thing for themselves and their families. We find it frustrating to see the corpocracy at the helm of a puppet government and people feeling powerless and intimidated against so many carefully constructed roadblocks.

Exposure is about deconstruction and renewal. First, we must deconstruct the myths. Then, we can reestablish the truth. Take the word "consumer" for example. This is a word invented by corporate strategists to identify the massive, faceless numbers that blindly consume their garbage and fill their stockholders' coffers. They couldn't use the word citizen, could they? The word "citizen" implies one who thinks, reasons and acts within the laws of an interactive society. For corporate purposes, blind consumerism is, without a doubt, far more appealing. So, which are you: citizen or consumer?

We believe that you are a citizen and that is why you are here seeking Exposure, seeking knowledge. We all know that knowledge is power, but knowledge is also the special magnet that can find the weakest link in the chain. Knowledge enables and it revives intellectual analysis. Knowledge is the most powerful force on the planet.

Following are some of the concepts that are being misused, abused and diluted and that will be part of the focus of this web log: organic, natural, healthy, vegetarian, green, environmentally-friendly, biodegradable, alternative. So that we can bring all of the pieces of a large picture into focus, we will need to cover many different areas. Search for keywords if you are researching a particular word, topic or issue. Our log will be organized with an introductory paragraph or two that contains the searchable keywords within this intro and the relevant web links following. All of the many pieces are important, so please be patient. Read what you can easily absorb and return for more, but above all, share this log with others. Together, we can change the world.

Sunday, July 04, 2004
Chemical Preservatives in Body Care Products Release Formaldehyde a Known Carcinogen!

Read your "natural" and "organic" body care product ingredient labels to see if they contain any of the following toxic chemicals: imidazolidinyl or imadazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate or hydroxymethyl glycinate or benzylhemiformal.

In response to negative publicity surrounding new scientific evidence of the endocrine disruption potential of the paraben family of preservatives (methyl, butyl, propyl) parabens and the new UK report announcing the discovery of parabens in breast cancer tumors, many slick chemical manufacturers have been quietly removing parabens from their ingredient panels and replacing them with other toxic chemical preservatives. This is a common maneuvering trick in the personal care and household products industries. When too much negative press appears about one particular chemical, many companies switch to different chemicals and then (now, here's the tricky part) begin to advertise that their products are "paraben-free" or "sodium lauryl sulfate-free" or "propylene glycol-free," etc., for example. Consumers think, Wow! - I've found a healthy product.

The chemicals imidazolidinyl or imadazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate and benzylhemiformal have been identified as releasing formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, by the European Union Working Party's (WP) Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-food Products in their Methods of Chemical Analysis of Cosmetic Products report.

According to the National Institutes of Health's "Household Products Database," (sodium) hydroxymethyl glycinate is also known as: N-(Hydroxymethyl)glycine, monosodium salt; Glycine, N-(hydroxymethyl)-, monosodium salt or Sodium N-(hydroxymethyl)glycinate. The NIH could not locate any health studies for sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate.

Just days ago, the World Health Organization confirmed the carcinogenicity of formaledhyde. Read the report.

Here is the link from the European Union identifying the chemical preservatives as formaldehyde donors/releasers: Read the report.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Sunscreens, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide and Color Cosmetics

We have spent fifteen years and countless hours doing environmental, cancer and cosmetic research and have made a good bit of it available to everyone on our web site. It is interesting to us that very few companies do the research that we do, with the quality of links and references that we provide. Fact is, what we see most often is a lot of hype, and sites representing misinformation and touting synthetic ingredients as "all natural" even "organic."

Despite having federal regulations in place for organic food, the USDA has, thus far, declined to step in and regulate the use of the word "organic" for body care items. We met with Richard Mathews, the director of the National Organic Program, over a year ago and pleaded with him to take action to regulate companies that represent bottles full of chemicals as "organic." It seems that our company was the only personal care products company to meet with him and ask for strict regulation of body care products that use the word "organic." Apparently, we are outnumbered by chemical companies not wanting to be regulated--companies who want to call any synthetic chemical "organic," even "certified organic."

We have been members of the Organic Trade Association's Personal Care Task Force for the past two years and we are frustrated by how we always seem to be the lone voice speaking out against the use of chemical detergents, oleochemical emollients and chemical preservatives being used in products labeled "organic." We are also disturbed by the fact that we are even discussing synthetic chemicals in the first place as we believe that synthetic oleochemicals, petrochemicals and reactive materials and/or nanoparticles like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have no business being in products that are labeled "organic."

So, though the USDA is not regulating the word "organic" for body care products right now, we see this as a temporary situation as we plan to continue to work within the industry, with the Organic Consumers Association and through Capitol Hill to have body care products exceed or, at minimum, meet the standards for foods WITHOUT tweaking and twisting the rules or the original intent of the organic philosophy. We will also continue to educate our friends and customers so that they will feel empowered to join with us in our campaign to save organic from being diluted and devalued by chemical interests.

Fortunately, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) federal regulation has provided us with some excellent ammunition for our battle. The NOP contains, what appears to be, the first legal definitions of the words "synthetic" and "nonsynthetic." These crystal clear definitions are, perhaps, the most important aspect of the organic regulations.

So, first, let's just clear up this "natural" thing once and for all. Following are the definitions from the USDA NOP site: (a reputable source)

Nonsynthetic (natural). A substance that is derived from mineral, plant, or animal matter and DOES NOT undergo a synthetic process as defined in section
6502(21) of the Act (7 U.S.C. 6502(21)). For the purposes of this part, nonsynthetic is used as a synonym for natural as the term is used in the Act.

Synthetic. A substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that CHEMICALLY CHANGES a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources, except that such term shall not apply to substances created by naturally occurring biological processes.

Click here to go to NOP Standards

It is very important for all to note that, while we could make a "sunscreen" product and cash in, we aren't doing that. In fact, we had a well-known client, for whom "money was no object," who hired us to make a sunscreen and, after researching the currently available materials for nearly eighteen months, we declined to continue with the project. It could have been a lucrative opportunity for us, but we knew that we could not make a sunscreen product in good conscience. Everyone knows how troubled the public is over this issue and, frankly, it would be very easy to take advantage of people who are confused and worried about cancer. We are not willing to take chances on potentially biased sunscreen chemical data provided by the manufacturers of such products (particularly since we continue to find increasing numbers of contradictory studies from reputable sources). To us this is the fox guarding the henhouse. It is also a well-known fact that "medical" studies can be designed to produce the results that someone decided they wanted to see. It is our opinion that it is very important to determine who is doing the "study," why they are doing it, who is paying for the study and if they are also buying advertising in the journal that publishes the study. In addition, our conscience does not permit us to expose others to potential risks that we would be unwilling to take ourselves.

Folks often ask how we protect ourselves against the sun and we have always shared our rational and practical opinion which is this: avoid the sun during the peak hours of the day and, if one must venture out, one should wear a large hat, sunglasses and tightly woven, loose fitting cotton (organic would be great) clothing, preferably light blue in color (hopefully dyed with a botanical dye and an environmentally friendly mordant) as a light blue color has been said to reflect the most UV rays. It is also our opinion that one should venture out for five to ten minutes at least once or twice every day, if only to get away from the computer screen and stretch the legs, even if it's raining.

We really dislike spending our ever-so-limited time getting involved in debates about synthetic ingredients like nanoparticulate titanium dioxide
(TiO2) with those who would profit from making and selling them. [ "Though the market for nanoparticles will approach one billion dollars next year..." See the ETC Group's full article] We prefer to spend our time in meaningful discourse with folks who are interested in our broad and alternative ecological vision...yet, here we are writing about synthetics. Oh, how we wish we could be sleeping or gardening instead! Our dream is to change the way that people think and to get them to think outside the conventional box of "well, we do it this way because that's the way that everybody else does it" or "well, that's the way that it's always been done." We think that it would be great if we could get folks to explore new and innovative uses for renewable and certified organic materials as alternatives to synthetic products.

We hope that with our research, we can also help to raise awareness about ingredients that are environmentally UNfriendly in their manufacture (in our opinion, environmentally Unfriendly means harmful to humans and wildlife) and that may have a question as to their safety.

Following are two quotes from and a link to a very well-written web site from a reputable supplier of pigments that outlines chemical manufacturing techniques of titanium dioxide:

"The feedstock for the chloride process is a mineral rutile or synthetic beneficiates containing over 90 percent TiO2. A suitable ore blend is mixed with a source of carbon and the two are reacted in a fluidized bed with CHLORINE at approximately 900°C. (1650 degrees!) The reaction yields titanium tetrachloride, TiCl4, and the chlorides of all the impurities present."

" ensure efficient sulfation by agitation with concentrated SULFURIC ACID...."

"The pulp is then separated from the mother liquor and extensively washed to remove residual traces of metallic impurities, using CHELATING AGENTS if necessary. The washed pulp is TREATED WITH CHEMICALS which adjust the physical texture..."

Click here to got to Titanium Dioxide Link

"whilst TiO2 may improve the durability of an organic binder (paint or
plastic) by adsorbing ultra-violet radiation, free radicals are produced at its surface which leads to photocatalytic breakdown."

Find the quote from above here:

Click for TiO2 photocatalytic info

Our opinion about the vast majority of synthetics is to avoid them as much as possible. As we uncover more information, it is always possible that our opinions may change or our convictions may become stronger. Whatever the future brings, we hope that we will always remain open to change, to enlightenment, as we do believe in kaizen (constant improvement).

Having cancer can be a funny thing--it can make you into an extremely cautious person and give you a new perspective on life. Cancer made me realize that I love my life, my partner, my cats, my friends and my garden and that I need to do everything that I can to have as much time as possible to be with my loves. Do I garden in the bright sunlight or in the peak hours of the day? No. I learned to adjust my life schedule so that I can have my pleasures, but without exposing myself to too many unnecessary risks. Was this a hardship or an extremely difficult thing to do? Absolutely not!

Working in the garden on our farm, as the sun comes up over the mountain with the mist rising up from the little river in the valley, is one of the most zen moments of this beautiful life. I heartily recommend that everyone try gardening at sunrise, at least once. Alternatively, I find immense satisfaction to be had in weeding in the cooler hours of the late afternoon and early evening as our bees are returning to their hive. The perfume of the valerian and the lilies are at their greatest intensity in the evening and the sunsets can inspire one to great poetic depths.

Vacationing at the beach in these enlightened times, the year 2004, and baking oneself during peak hours of the day is, in my opinion, irresponsible and completely avoidable. To continue to expose oneself to these conditions in our environmentally troubled days with our damaged ozone is, in my opinion, old-fashioned and unscientific and a gamble not worth taking. I also don't think that it's fair to me, other cautious people and wildlife that unthinking or uncaring humans take these risks and experiment with questionable sunscreen chemicals at the water's edge and wash them off their bodies and into our waterways. We have one planet and all of our water is linked to all of the water around the world. We all have to share the water that we have on this planet and I sincerely wish that more people would become considerate of our concerns about our tainted waterways.

"Nano's Troubled Waters: Latest toxic warning shows NANOPARTICLES cause BRAIN DAMAGE in aquatic species and highlights need for a moratorium on the release of new nanomaterials"

Click here for Nanoparticle Brain Damage link

Governments around the world have found sunscreen chemicals in bodies of fresh and salt water AND these chemicals have been found in the bodies of fish that humans and other animals consume. Sunscreen chemicals have even been found in human breast milk. Our own Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and progressive scientists from around the globe have established the estrogenic potential of many of these chemicals. Endocrine disruptors can lead to cancer. Cancers overwhelm and threaten to bankrupt our over-burdened "health" care system. Don't we have enough crises already?

We recommend the book "Sunscreen Photobiology, Molecular, Cellular and Physiological Aspects" for folks who would like more technical information on the technical aspects of sunscreens. This volume, however, is not the only source supporting the technical info related to the instability of titanium dioxide AND zinc oxide. Here is a statement from a reputable cosmetic industry trade journal:

"Titanium dioxide AND zinc oxide are commonly used in drug and cosmetic products. Contrary to belief, Sayre and co-workers (Cosmetics & Toileteries Oct. 2000, 75) have shown that these physical sunscreens are not photochemically inactive. Although adequate coating can reduce the risk, an increase in the destruction of photolabile skin lipids is not desirable. The photo-peroxidation of unsaturated skin lipids may result in perturbation of the lipid environment of viable cell layers and degrade skin surface lipids. "

The Washington Post (a reputable source) reports on current scientific concerns about TiO2 NANOPARTICLES:

"Titanium dioxide, for example, is a generally nonreactive substance used in many products, including skin lotions and house paints. Increasingly, however, it is being made in the form of nano-size particles. And tests show that they are HIGHLY REACTIVE, generating chemically "hot" free radicals that can literally burn up bacteria. That has some experts worrying about impacts on soil ecology if the particles are released."

"Some sunscreens have ultraviolet-absorbing nanoparticles so small they cannot reflect light, making them invisible."

The Post nanotech link:

Click here for the Post article

"One thing we've concluded is whatever these things [NANOMATERIALS] are going to do, they're NOT INERT. What will they do when they get in the environment, and what will they do when they GET INTO PEOPLE?" 2. Dr. Vicki Colvin, professor and co-director of the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology, Rice University, Texas (a reputable source)

"According to Dr. Wiesner, tests that measure the accumulations of materials in the livers of laboratory animals have demonstrated that NANOPARTICLES ACCUMULATE WITHIN ORGANISMS and that nanomaterials, even inorganic ones, HAVE BEEN ABSORBED BY LIVING CELLS. 8. [At their mid-March fact-finding meeting, Wiesner informed EPA officials, 'We know nanomaterials have been taken up by cells. That sets off alarms. If bacteria can take them up, then we have an entry point for nanomaterials into the food chain.']" (a reputable source)

"The nanomaterial itself may be benign, but, in the same way that proteins will bind to nanomaterials in the bloodstream, TOXINS, such as PESTICIDES, COULD BIND WITH NANOPARTICLES IN WATER, facilitating their transport (into the body)."

"The point is we don't know what accumulated amounts of any human-made nanomaterial will do in our LUNGS or our LIVERS or in our GROUNDWATER, even if we do know how bigger particles of the same material behave in our lungs and livers and groundwater. And so far no one has bothered to find out."

See the above quotes in this link from ETC Group (Click to go to ETC Group) on Nanoparticle technology: (a reputable source)

Click here for the ETC Group's Nanomaterial article

Also from ETC Group:

"1997 - TITANIUM DIOXIDE/ZINC OXIDE nanoparticles from sunscreen are found to CAUSE FREE RADICALS IN SKIN CELLS, DAMAGING DNA. (Oxford University and Montreal University) Dunford, Salinaro et al.(8)" (a reputable source)

"January 2004 - Research by Dr. Gunter Oberdorster is published showing that NANOPARTICLES ARE ABLE TO MOVE EASILY FROM THE NASAL PASSAGEWAY TO THE BRAIN. "The nanotechnology revolution may design particles that are very different chemically from the ones we are exposed to, and they might have very different properties that made them more harmful. We should be vigilant." Professor Ken Donaldson, University of Edinburgh(13)" (a reputable source)

(Another excellent reason to not powder your nose with color cosmetic

"Though the market for nanoparticles will approach one BILLION dollars next year, neither government regulations nor labeling requirements exist in ANY country. Because nanoparticles are composed of elements and compounds whose toxicity is well-studied at larger scales, they have been assumed safe even though they can exhibit WILDLY DIFFERENT PROPERTIES from their larger siblings."

See the ETC Group's article here

Zinc oxide in our waterways: (a reputable source)

Read the waterway report here

Here's our opinion about wearing non-botanical color cosmetics: they are unnecessary vanity items and their manufacture and use is harmful to life on the planet. I view cosmetics made from metal ores (as opposed to plant dyes) (and other synthetic chemicals such as hair dyes) as I view second-hand cigarette smoke and wish I didn't have to be exposed to the chemical pollution from the manufacture and use of these products. If people could find a way to indulge their vanity without effecting my lungs, my brain, my life, my friends and all of the wildlife on the planet, then I say go ahead and indulge. Just don't dump your stuff in my air or water. Please. (Someone needs to speak for the animals who have no voice to speak out about all of the human body care products being dumped into THEIR water, their home. This dumping of chemical body care products into the water is a terrible form of animal cruelty.)

I base my opinion on synthetic color pigments from technical info about how they are manufactured. (they are synthetic according to the USDA definition of the word synthetic.) I am unhappy about the threat to the health of the planet and the environmentally UNfriendly manufacturing processes of body care ingredients that require energy-intensive fossil fuel consumption that contributes to our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign petroleum.

The FDA web site states that iron oxides are synthetic: (a reputable source)

FDA web page

For a description of the manufacturing of iron oxides color pigments:

Go here to read about color pigment manufacturing.

To see FDA color specs and general information go here

and, finally, go here.

Here are a few more interesting links about sunscreens and TiO2:

The rising rates of skin cancer -

Click here for the Mother Jones "Sunscam" sunscreen article

(a reputable source)

Bleaching Teeth -

Click here to read about Titanium Dioxide and teeth bleaching (a reputable source)

Self-cleaning window glass -

Go here to read about Titanium Dioxide impregnated window glass (a reputable source)

Monday, May 03, 2004
Parabens and propylene glycol. Do you want to see these chemicals in your natural body care products? Read the data below to help you decide whether you want to use these ingredients or dump them down the drain into our drinking water.

Parabens penetrate the skin and can be found in cancerous breast tumours. Is using a product with these chemicals in it worth the risk to you? Read about the latest study... here...

The EPA report "Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the
Environment: Agents of Subtle Change" states that parabens produced estrogenic activity in several assays. The report also says that "(personal care products) aquatic pollution is particularly troublesome because aquatic organisms (fish, frogs, turtles, manatees, etc.) are captive to continual life-cycle exposure...effects could accumulate so slowly that major change goes undetected until the cumulative level of these effects finally cascades to irreversible change."

Additionally, the report declares "The literature shows, however, that many of these compounds survive biodegradation. Many of these personal care products and their metabolites are ubiquitous and display persistence in, and bioconcentration from, surface waters on par with those of the widely recognized organochlorine pollutants."

This is the link to the EPA report (above):

Propylene glycol is a highly controversial chemical. What's the truth about propylene glycol? We've gathered some facts from reputable sources so that you can read scientific data instead of a manufacturer's hype and make an educated decision about whether you really want to rub this chemical into your body. First, you should know that the US government's Environmental Protection Agency has stated that "This substance/agent (propylene glycol) has not undergone a complete evaluation and determination under US EPA's IRIS program for evidence of human carcinogenic potential."

This chemical is definitely NOT an environmentally-friendly, sustainable material. Very energy-intensive in its use of fossil fuels--a big source of pollution, harmful to the planet and humans in its manufacture. Read the process for yourself to determine if you think this is something natural that you can make in your home kitchen or in your favorite restaurant. To get you started, here's an excerpt from a USDA National Organic Program material review report that discusses the complex, industrial process to make this chemical:

"Glycols from Sugar? Reactor Data Sorbitol can be cracked in the presence of hydrogen to yield a variety of different oxygenated products including ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, glycerol, and lactic acid. Also produced are various alcohols, C4/C5/C6 diols, and triols. The reaction is catalyzed by a RUTHENIUM catalyst at a pressure in excess of 1500 psig and at temperatures in the 400-500?F range. Selectivity and conversion data as well as reactor sizing information is provided in the attached patent (US 5403805, April 4, 1995, Ruthenium-Based Catalyst for Producing Lower Polyhydric Alcohols). The sorbitol must be diluted to a 40 wt% solution. The reaction requires a basic environment and caustic (NaOH) must be added to a 1:3 molar ratio with the sorbitol. Excess hydrogen (most frequently derived from petrochemical hydrocarbons or methanol) is required at a level of 20% above that needed for the reaction. The expected catalyst run length is one year before the catalyst must be regenerated by burning off coke formed during the reaction. The catalyst must be replaced every three years. '

"Purification Section Data There are three key purification issues for this
project: 1. Removal of the Sodium required for the reactor. Usually, getting the sodium out as soon as practical is suggested, since sodium can cause fouling (salting) problems in downstream equipment. 2. Energy efficient removal of the water in the sorbitol feed." Cameron, D.C. "Microbial Catalysis for the Conversion of Sugars and Other Renewable Materials to Propanediols." University of Wisconsin-Madison. 1995."

To read the complete report go here...

Ruthenium catalyst? Go to this link to read an interesting history about ruthenium and about the complex chemical process used to isolate this toxic metal...

Ruthenium IS toxic. Read this report from the Netherlands...

Getting back on track with propylene glycol, here are many other tidbits about propylene glycol from various internet sources:

Propylene glycol is used in antifreeze and de-icing solutions. It is used as a solvent in the paint and plastics industries, and to make polyester compounds. It is used as a substitute for ethylene glycol mono-alkyl ethers in all-purpose cleaners, coatings, inks, nail polish, lacquers, latex paints, and adhesives. It is also used to create artificial smoke or fog used in fire-fighting training and in theatrical productions.

Propylene glycol 8/12/2002 and polyethylene glycol 400 (PEG 400) have been shown to differ in their potential to cause muscle damage following I.V. injection. In previous studies, propylene glycol was found to be more myotoxic than PEG 400, with cytosoliccalcium playing a role in mediating this damage.

CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS - Propylene glycol. (a) Propylene glycol (C3H8O2, CAS Reg. No. 57-55-6) is known as 1,2-propanediol. It does not occur in nature. Propylene glycol is manufactured by treating propylene with chlorinated water to form the chlorohydrin which is converted to the glycol by treatment with sodium carbonate solution. It is also prepared by heating glyercol with sodium hydroxide.


Areas in Proposed Rule that need modification and/or clarification from USDA 205.16 (a)(2)(iii) Product Composition "A non-organically produced agricultural product or a non-agricultural ingredient included on the National List that is extracted without the use of a synthetic volatile solvent or which does not contain propylene glycol as a carrier, if commercially available, shall be selected in preference to a product or ingredient that is extracted with a synthetic volatile solvent or which contains propylene glycol as a carrier." *Committee recommendation: Delete. Organically produced alternatives which do not use propylene glycol or hexane extracted solvents are commercially available.

Follow NOSB recommendations concerning the use of natural flavors and oil extraction which do not allow propylene glycol or hexane extraction.

The health effects data for propylene glycol were reviewed by the U.S. EPA RfD/RfC Work Group and determined to be inadequate for the derivation of an inhalation RfC. "The verification status of this chemical is currently not verifiable. This substance/ agent has not undergone a complete evaluation and determination under US EPA's IRIS program for evidence of human carcinogenic potential."

Status Among U.S. Certifiers State Organic Certifiers: Minnesota--Follows USDA suggested guidelines.
Ohio-- Propylene glycol may not be used in organic crops, livestock, or processing, since it is not specifically mentioned in the National List as an allowable synthetic substance.

International IFOAM: In the 2000 final organic rule and in the 2002 final draft, there is no specific mention of propylene glycol as permissible.

CFNP TAP Review Propylene glycol 8/12/2002
It quotes a review by the American Academy of Dermatologists Inc. [January 1991], which stated that propylene glycol causes a significant number of reactions and was a primary irritant to the skin even in low concentrations. "It has been shown that propylene glycol: - has severe adverse health effects and has been found to cause contact dermatitis, kidney damage, and liver abnormalities - inhibits skin growth in human tests - damages cell membranes causing skin rashes, dry skin, and surface damage."

CFNP TAP Review Propylene glycol 8/12/2002 "Manufacturing propylene glycol from propylene, a petrochemical feedstock, presents environmental concerns."

Saturday, November 22, 2003
Vanquish Vanity: The Truth About Animal Cruelty

Endocrine disruptors. Most people have heard the term and some even have a general idea of what they are: environmental chemicals that affect the hormones in our body. Endocrine disruptors are primarily man-made synthetic chemicals that are inhaled, absorbed through the skin or ingested in food or water. These chemicals are taken up by the blood and deposited in the brain, where they mimic the body's own chemicals and, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have the potential to cause profound physiological changes in the reproductive and neurological systems of humans and wildlife.

Contrary to what you might think, these environmental chemical pollutants are not solely the result of chemical industry waste discharges. According to recent research conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS), Brunel University in the UK, Department of Environmental and Toxicological Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam, Institute of Pharmacology at the University of Zürich and many other environmental authorities around the world, many endocrine disrupting personal-care products were found downstream of water-treatment plants in rivers and in saltwater.

Here are a few environmental disrupting chemicals that have been found in products that are labeled ³cruelty-free,² ³organic² and ³natural,² in our water and in the bodies of marine animals (and humans) around the world: tergitol (hair dyes), sunscreens (Octyl-methoxy cinnamate, PABA), detergents/nonionic surfactants (alkylphenol-ethoxylates/carboxylates),
fragrances (phthalates) and preservatives (parabens & triclosan).

The EPA report ³Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the
Environment: Agents of Subtle Change?² states that parabens produced estrogenic activity in several assays. The report also says that ³(personal care products) aquatic pollution is particularly troublesome because aquatic organisms (fish, frogs, turtles, manatees, etc.) are captive to continual life-cycle exposure...effects could accumulate so slowly that major change goes undetected until the cumulative level of these effects finally cascades to irreversible change.²

Additionally, the report declares ³The literature shows, however, that many of these compounds survive biodegradationŠ Many of these personal care products and their metabolites are ubiquitous and display persistence in, and bioconcentration from, surface waters on par with those of the widely recognized organochlorine pollutants.²

This chemical contamination of our waterways has escalated to such a serious level that the EPA has established an Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program to begin ³evaluating² the 87,000 chemicals that are now in use in the USA. Good, you might be thinking. Not so good, when you learn that ³evaluation² actually means animal testing and that, according to the Humane Society ³Published scientific estimates on the number of animals to be used suggest from 600,000 to 1.2 million animals will be used for every 1,000 chemicals tested. The animals that will be used for testing include rodents, birds, frogs, flies, mysid shrimp, and fish.²

According to information compiled from the EPA and the US Census Bureau, Americans dump more than six billion pounds of body care chemicals into our waterways each year! That¹s enough chemicals to fill approximately one thousand and fifty Olympic-sized swimming pools!

Humans thrived for millions of years without synthetic chemical products. Do you really need to dye your hair? Did you know that sunscreens have never been proven to prevent aging or skin cancer and that many authorities believe that they may actually be responsible for the dramatic rise in skin cancer? Do you really need the huge lather, thick bubbles and berry ³fragrance² of chemical detergents to clean your hair and your body? About those paraben preservatives­they¹re unnecessary, cheap chemicals that benefit the manufacturer¹s bottom line, not you.

How can you help to stop the slaughter of animals and the poisoning of wildlife? Stop using synthetic chemical body care products! Question and research chemical ingredients that you can¹t pronounce. Boycott phony ³organic² and ³natural² body care products that are filled with ³derived from² synthetic chemicals. Unlike chemical ingredients, truly natural and organic materials like olive and coconut oils, beeswax, most essential oils and castile soap are considered to be safe and aren¹t required to be tested on animals. Support honest companies who make non-chemical, true organic products to take care of your daily hygiene routines­safely. You can make a difference!

Monday, December 02, 2002

Castor Oil. Palma christi oil. For decades castor oil has been a part of the folk medicine repetoire. The oil has been used as an industrial lubricant, lamp oil, hot compress, laxative, body care product, etc. The plant material, stalks and leaves, when dried after a harvest are a highly potent allergen/sensitizer and cause severe, disabling allergic asthma in workers who handle the material. The mash that remains after the oil has been pressed or solvent-extracted is toxic to many animals. The majority of castor oil that is produced today is produced in the Middle East, India and Africa. Curiously, there are no significant scientific studies that can strongly document skin healing properties or other therapeutic effects.

There are two interesting things that can be reported about this oil: 1) it has never been used as a food for humans and 2) when you type the words "castor oil army ricin" into the search engine "google," there are 1950 results linking to the potential use of ricin (a deadly component of castor
beans) being used in biowarfare terrorist attacks to kill US citizens and many listings for our government's and the military's concerns about ricin's ease of manufacturing and the virtually unlimited quanitities of castor beans available for processing ricin.

For an enlightening report on castor beans and ricin production visit this article from the Harvard Independent magazine titled "Iraq Sharpens Weapons Disguise."

Why would a self-proclaimed health-conscious, environmentally-friendly, socially-responsible business choose to use this oil in their body care products that are being offered in the health/environmental products industry? If you review the results in the google search recommended above, you will see that the terrorist problem and the potent allergen/sensitizer problem are not a new problem. Why would you want to use products made from castor oil when the many negatives far outweigh the anecdotal "positives?" I think I'll pass, thanks.

Sunday, November 24, 2002
I don't know about you, but I am getting pretty sick and darn tired of what I'm going to call "organic scamming." It seems to grow worse with every passing week. The deeper that you look, the wider the scamming turns out to be. Why don't you hear about this organic scamming more frequently? Think about the following idea for a momemt.

As a personal experiment, take a look at the advertisements in the magazines that you look to for "health" information. What kinds of products are being advertised? Do you see large, full-page ads for small body care companies in all of these magazines every month? No, you won't see this happening. Why not? Here's why: the advertising "space" for a one page ad, in just one magazine for just ONE isssue costs between $9000 to $20,000 and upwards, on average. (this figure does not include photographer and ad design costs) So, to run an ad in twelve issues of just one magazine, it would cost a company $108,000 to $240,000 dollars per magazine. If ads are run in ten different magazines in the course of one year, we're now talking about $2.4 million dollars in advertising costs from just one manufacturer. Who has this amount of capital in their advertising budget? Small, organic farms and body care producers don't have these kinds of funds available.

If a magazine has, say, 150 pages and 60% of those pages (90 pages) are advertising, we're now looking at revenues of approximately $1.6 million dollars per month and upwards of $20 million dollars per year. (It is important to note that, in the publishing world, "health" types of magazines are considered a "niche" market and their ad space costs can be, perhaps, half of what a mass-market's ad space might cost.) Make no mistake though, my friend, this is still big business.

If a publication is receiving these kinds of revenues, how likely is it, for example, that they are going to publish serious, investigative articles on detrimental health effects of synthetic chemicals that may be found in their advertiser's products? Not very likely at all, I'm afraid. Think about it, when was the last time that you saw information such as what you might find in our newsletter, Exposure, in any of your health magazines? Indeed. How likely is it that the magazines would want to report on truly unique and superior products (at the risk of offending their advertisers, making them look less healthy)? Some folks might not want to believe that this type of censorship goes on, but be assured, the advertisers, ultimately, with the very large threat of pulling their advertising dollars from the magazines, call the shots regarding what is revealed to the public. I have seen, and have in my possession, an ad in which one manufacturer and one publisher actually publicize their alliance! Boy! Who owns whom? It's all one big blur.

So, in response to the gross lack of information NOT being made available by the established, mainstream media, here is our newsletter of truths for your review. For your information, this newsletter is totally self-funded. We do not accept advertising funding from outside corporations. Gee, do you think you'll see any reporting of our work in those healthy publications?

A few weeks ago we reported that the USDA had conducted a scientific study on grapefruit seed (also called citrus seed extract) extracts (GSE) (synthetic quaternary ammonium compounds) and determined that the majority of extracts that they studied had high levels of the chemical BENZETHONIUM CHLORIDE. read the USDA summary on grapefruit seed extracts. Now, we'd like to present you with more reports from around globe on the chemical benzethonium chloride. (For our original postings on GSE use your browser's "find" command to search for other entries of "grapefruit seed extract" further down on this page)

The Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-food Products (SCCNFP) stated in their final report for the European Union on Benzethonium chloride, dated 27 February 2002, that "The data provided in the submitted dossier does not support the requested use of Benzethonium chloride as a preservative in leave-on (body care) products." Here are a few other excerpts from various tests conducted in the SCCNFP study: 1) "The high-dose produced growth depression, increased irritability, respiratory signs in the parents and decreased viability and body weight of pups at birth." 2) "In a teratogenicity study...the high-dose group showed decreased maternal body weight and an increased number of smaller pups. An increased incidence of skeletal variants occurred in all treated groups."

The National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health reported that "benzethonium chloride is used as an antiinfective, in veterinary medicine as a topical antiseptic, and as a cationic detergent. Cationic detergents are used agriculturally in herbicides and in antiseptics, spermicides, astringents, germicides, disinfectants, and preservatives. Hypersensitivity reactions have been reported in twelve of forty-two individuals treated with a topical preparation containing benzethonium chloride"

The Swiss Toxicological Information Centre of Basle, Switzerland reports that "Benzethonium chloride is a disinfectant (quaternary ammonium compound, cationic detergent) contained mainly in cleansing agents but also in locally active medications (against sore throat, spermicides). Cationic detergents are more toxic than other detergents. Toxicity of concentrated solutions (more than 5-10%) is based upon their caustic action and upon their systemic toxic effects. Symptoms after dermal application of a concentrated solution are irritation, dermatitis, and bullous lesions. Contamination of the eye may lead from mild discomfort to corneal lesions depending on the concentration. Oral application of concentrated solutions leads to caustic burns of the oral and esophageal mucosa, nausea, emesis, abdominal pain, diarrhea, pulmonary edema, hypotension, metabolic acidosis, and depression of the central nervous system (sleepiness to coma), seizures, and death. Grapefruit seed extracts containing benzethonium chloride in concentrations of 7-11% represent a major health risk if larger amounts of a concentrated solution are ingested (i.e. by mouthful). Exposure of the skin or the eye may cause toxic symptoms. The Swiss Toxicological Information Centre discourages consumers from administration of these extracts unless it is known which of them are containing benzethonium chloride and what the concentrations are."

One manufacturer of grapefruit seed extract, GSE, has stated that its extract contains compounds similar to the toxic benzethonium chloride and that their compounds can be mistaken for the toxic compounds. However you choose to look at the situation, grapefruit seed extract IS still, undisputably, a synthetic compound, and it is NOT approved for organic foods and, because it is distributed by several different companies to, perhaps, hundreds of manufacturers, how do you know what is in the grapefruit seed extract that is in so many of your "natural" and "organic" body care products?

Why question the safety of ingredients in body care products that you rub on your skin? Scientists at Stanford University reported in 1999 that they found that they could deliver an effective dose of a vaccine in a shower with one shampooing. How so? Through the hair follicles! The vaccine in the study was absorbed into the body through the hair follicles on unshaven, unbroken skin. Dr. Stephen Johnston, director of the Center for Biomedical Inventions at the University of Texas said "This work (at Stanford) says that we've been administering vaccines in the wrong place. Soaking it into the skin is a lot simpler (and less painful)."

If you can absorb an effective dose of a vaccine simply by having it come into contact with your skin, how much of the toxic synthetics in your body and hair care products are you absorbing through your skin--feeding to your organs and brain every day? How can you be the healthiest that you can be if your body is constantly being bombarded by a wide array of man-made petro and oleochemicals and their processing residues?

When there is big business and big money to be made, you must look at "health" claims and claims of "naturalness" and "organic" with a magnifying glass and the bigger the magnifying glass, the better. It's for your own good--you have to watch out for yourself. So, if you feel that you can't control the air outside your home, don't fret about it too much. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), your biggest toxic air pollution exposure comes from the air in your own home, and we now know that your other major exposures are from the products that you use to clean your body and your home. These are the simple decisions that you make every day, decisions about the things in your personal environment. Remember, you can control what you rub on and put in your body. Are synthetic chemicals worth the risk to you? Is it really worth the potential compromise to your future health and longevity to save a few dollars today when you buy synthetic body care products? I don't think that compromising one's health is a good idea, do you?

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Use your "Find" command to search this page for data on any of the chemical ingredients listed below.

Here's a short index of some of the "natural" body care chemicals that we've covered so far:

Avobenzone [butyl-methyoxydibenzoylmethane; Parsol 1789] Azulene Benzethonium
Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone)
Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl
Cocamide DEA
Cocamide MEA
Cocamidopropyl betaine
Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (cyclomethicone)
Glycerol Cocoate
Grapefruit seed extract
Methyl Paraben
Olefin sulfonate
PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA) Parabens Phthalates Polymer
Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate) Silicon

Reactive elements:

Titanium Dioxide
Zinc Oxide

Oleochemicals (Including ALL "coconut-derived" surfactants and detergents):

Fatty Acids
Cetearyl alcohol
Glycerol stearate
Cetyl Alcohol
Corn and coconut "soap"
Emulsifying wax
Jojoba butter
Olefin sulfonate
Stearic acid
Vegetable emulsifying wax

I love a challenge. What other "natural" body care ingredient chemicals can I investigate and expose?

Saturday, November 02, 2002

True soap does occur in nature. True soap occurs when a fat, animal or vegetable, combined with wood ash, perhaps from a cooking fire, and water to create soap and glycerin. Earlier civilizations most likely discovered the benefits of soap as they poked around their village campfires weeks after heavy rains. Castile soap is an excellent example of a natural soap, that originated in the kingdom of Castile, Spain (around 1312-1492) and was originally produced solely with the region's homegrown olive oil. Today, some products labeled as "castile" contain some olive oil along with other vegetable oils, while many contain no olive oil at all. Very few are available that remain true to the original, historical formulations and contain 100% olive oil. The most premium castile type would still be 100% olive-based.

Castile soap is considered to be the safest, most environmentally-benign cleanser. When you read a label for a cleansing type of product such as a shampoo, body wash, facial cleanser, bubble bath, etc., if it doesn't say "castile soap," then you are looking at a bottle of oleochemical or petrochemical detergent. Unfortunately, giant chemical interests lobbied the govenrment and were granted an exception to call their oleochemical and petrochemical detergents "soap." Don't be fooled by labels that read "derived from coconut" or "coconut surfactants." The words "derived from" are your clue that you are looking at a synthetic and, perhaps, toxic chemically-treated ingredient. Just about all of the companies that are making so-called "natural" products use these synthetic oleochemical detergents and, because of increasing educational efforts from supporters of true organic and true environmentalists, these chemical manufacturers have recently begun to put up greenwashing pages on their websites, in an effort to defend their use of synthetic chemicals.

The people who run these companies don't have to worry about their health insurance costs, daycare, college expenses, or if they can afford to buy organic food. These people live in mansions, own several cars, jet-set on a whim and, mostly, they don't give a damn about you or the environment. They care about one thing: THEIR bottom line.

If these giant companies were truly environmental, then they would all be using real Organic castile soap. They would be using ALL real Organic essential oils. They would use ALL Organic base oils. They have the money, the purchasing power, the volume of sales to commit to using ALL organic materials, to invest in organic farming operations on a global basis. They have the means, but they all choose to do the least that they can. Part of their greenwashing plan is to focus on one natural or organic ingredient in their chemical soup and then dazzle you with their colorful ads depicting lovely fields of flowers, fresh young women and slick custom packaging, while painting themselves as organic defenders. Then, when you buy their products, they laugh all the way to the bank with your hard-earned money in their claws.

Don't be fooled by these marauders. Read the ingredients, and when you do, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable feeding that product to yourself, a child or your cat or putting it in your goldfish bowl. Don't believe their stories when they try to convince you that there just aren't enough organic ingredients for them to buy. Don't believe this for one minute! There are thousands of farmers around the world who are dying to find buyers for their organic oils so they can feed their families and expand their family farms. These farmers are desperate for a small amount of financial aid to secure their official organic certification and increase the market value of their crops. If these large chemical manufacturers were truly committed, they would have environmental programs, such as what I'm describing, in place now--working with small third-world farmers, now--and they don't. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if, after they read this log entry (and they will), they began scurrying to convince you that they've been supporting and developing these kinds of programs all along. If they attempt to make these claims, ask for hard evidence, demand proof. Let's join together to hold these companies responsible for their INaction and their actions.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Polyvinylpyrrolidone. PVP. This is an ingredient typically found in hair styling and some hair conditioning products. It is found in products that are labeled as "natural." Does "vinyl" sound like a natural or botanical ingredient to you? Would you like to eat some PVP for lunch? Before you ask someone to pass the hot sauce, it might interest you to know that the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding reported that the FDA proposed that a number of drug products be included on the list of drug products withdrawn or removed from the market because they have been found to be unsafe or ineffective. PVP had been marketed as Povidone or "Polyvinylpyrrolidone in Normal Saline" to doctors as a plasma expander and that it was "found unsafe for use as plasma expander in emergency treatment of shock because povidone (Polyvinylpyrrolidone) accumulates in the body and may cause storage disease with formation of granulomas; also interferes with blood coagulation, hemostasis and blood typing and cross matching." It was recommended to be withdrawn from the market on April 19, 1978. Do you want this ingredient in your body care products? Click here to read the full report

The following information about Polyvinylpyrrolidone--PVP comes from a Manufacturers Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Curiously, PVP is often found in hair sprays and we were disturbed to read the following warnings under the section titled "PERSONAL PROTECTION AND CONTROLS":

A. Respiratory Protection: operation causes a misting condition in occupied area, persons should use a NIOSH approved respirator for dusts and mists. B. Ventilation: General room ventilation acceptable except where sprayed or heated so that a mist is created. C. Skin and Eye Protection: chemical goggles or safety glasses with side shields and rubber gloves and protective clothing as necessary to minimize skin contact.

Strong circumstantial evidence implicates PVP as the causative agent for lung thesaurosis in susceptible individuals with chronic exposure to hairsprays containing PVP. Although this effect cannot be reproduced in laboratory animal tests and epidomiologic studies have failed to show excess prevalence to exposed individuals, inhalation exposure to PVP should be kept to a minimum. Read the MSDS

Lung thesaurosis is a medical condition in which tiny particles of substance, in this case PVP, become imbedded in lung tissue. Scar tissue can form over the imbedded particles, thus reducing pulmonary (lung) function/breathing capacity. There is the possibility that PVP may aggravate inflamed lung tissues of those diagnosed with asthma or other breathing disorders.

Ruth Winter's book "A Consumers Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients" says that "Ingestion (of PVP) may produce gas and fecal impaction or damage to lungs and kidneys. It may last in the system (the body) for months to a year."

Why are personal care products that contain PVP in a spray mist type of product not required to provide the user of the product with hazardous warning information right on the package label itself? Cigarettes are required to carry warning labels; perhaps it is time to require warning labels on personal care products?

The following comments and question came from an intelligent Exposure reader, Deb S.: "I found it interesting to read about the hazards in many commonly used personal care products. I had been wondering about these things for some time. I have seen an ingredient in several skin oil and lotion products that I can't seem to learn much about, and wonder if you have any information regarding "cyclomethicone". Is this something I want to be spraying onto my skin? Thanks for providing such an important public service. It is about time the truth about these substances was made known."

Here you go Deb!

Cyclomethicone. This is a synthetic chemical that is a "dry liquid"--fluid, without an oily feel. It is volatile--evaporating readily into a vapor. It is a member of the silicone family. (Remember all of the controversy and lawsuits back in the early 1990's when so many women were having autoimmune problems that their doctors were linking to silicone gels leaking from breast implants?)

Researchers have investigated silicon materials/compounds in association with several different illnesses: lupus, scleroderma, A.D.D., cancer, Some researchers speculate that silicon may be linked to allergies, fibrocysts and irritable bowel syndrome.

Silcon-containing chemicals and polymers create environmental hazards in their manufacturing which relies on high-temperature processing that generates byproducts such as hydrochloric acid.

We found it odd that there are very few studies available in the current search engines that discuss cyclomethicone. Most that is available is work prepared by the manufacturers of the chemical itself.

Cosmetic Toiletries & Fragrance Association (CTFA) Category Descriptions of Cyclomethicone and Dimethicone :

A low-viscosity fluid with relatively high volatility. Non-polar and insoluble in water, it is completely miscible in lower alcohols as well as other typical solvents. In personal care applications, it is often used as a carrier that evaporates without residue, while providing lubricity and detackification.

A versatile substance that ranges from low molecular weight polydimethylsiloxane fluids to high molecular weight polymers that are gum-like in nature.

According to the HAPPI September 1992 article "Novel Silicone Esters for Cosmetics" by Virginia Van Valkenburgh and Raymond Thimineur of GE

"The cyclomethicone silicones are a major component of most antiperspirants; dimethicone silicones are valued as conditioning agents in 2-in-1 shampoos; and amine functional silicones improve the wet and dry combing performance of hair conditioners."

The following is information about a silicone polymer blend that contains the additive/adjuvant decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (cyclomethicone) excerpted from the Australian government's National Occupational Health and Safety Commission's report of August 2000:

An analogous chemical to the notified polymer showed some evidence of effects on reproduction in rats, following subcutaneous administration (Kennedy, 1976). The use of the notified polymer at 0.1 ­ 1 % in personal care products means that a small amount will be applied to the skin for each use. Likely skin application sites, such as underarms, possess large numbers of sweat glands, and consequently there is potential for increased dermal absorption at these sites. This is not of concern in this case, as the notified polymer is of high molecular weight (NAMW > 15500) and is unlikely to penetrate biological membranes, suggesting limited systemic absorption following normal use.

I prefer to decide for myself what my "limited systemic absorption" will be from. After researching cyclomethicone and other silicon compounds--I think I'll pass. I'll take certified organic cold-pressed oils and butters and pure, sweet beeswax any day over industrial chemical lubricants, thanks.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

This just in...toxic cosmetic and body care chemicals expose!

Boston Globe -- 16 October 2002

Scent of trouble surrounds cosmetics--Women shun products with chemical linked to birth defects read the story!

Environmental groups collaborated to study toxic chemicals in commonly used body care products found in department stores, drug stores and discount stores--but they made a serious omission--they forgot to examine body care products in health food stores! The amounts of toxic chemicals found in the products tested were disturbingly high. The manufacture, sale and use of these products affects all of us. People are spraying these products into our air and washing them into our drinking water. More evidence to invest in chemical-free and True Organic products!

>From In May 2002 a coalition of environmental and
public health organizations contracted with a major national laboratory to test 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of phthalates, a large family of industrial chemicals linked to permanent birth defects in the male reproductive system. The laboratory found phthalates in nearly three-quarters of the products tested (52 of 72 products, Table 1), including nine of 14 deodorants, all 17 fragrances tested, six of seven hair gels, four of seven mousses, 14 of 18 hair sprays, and two of nine hand and body lotions (Table 2), in concentrations ranging from trace amounts to nearly three percent of the product formulation. read the report!

At a recent meeting, a competing manufacturer of personal care products accused me of being an "elitist" when I expressed my concerns about companies using synthetic chemicals in body care products. For a brief moment in that meeting, after that comment was made, I felt vastly outnumbered and very alone. But now, back in the natural world, I am revitalized because I know that a growing part of the population shares my concerns. Are you concerned about chemicals? You're not alone! Take a look at this incredible site that we discovered and join their email newsletter list to learn more about this group of highly-educated, forward-thinking individuals who are speaking out in a big way to help to rid the world of toxic chemicals and outmoded ideas. Click here to visit the site now!

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Now that we've gotten you through your Intro to Body Care Ingredients crash course, let's explore some additional synthetic ingredients. The safety issues surrounding certain ingredients aren't always black & white.

Our main concern is "no harm to humans." This means that not only should an ingredient be a traditional botanical, clay, beeswax, distilled water or minerals, but it should also be safe with a long, long history of human use. Secondly, the processing/manufacturing of that ingredient should be of low environmental impact and come from sustainable, renewable and, preferably, certified organic resources. If it meets these criteria, then it stands to reason that the ingredient will be healthy for people, pets, wildlife and the planet, too. We'll cover a few more basic categories of ingredients/issues and then you'll have the background to be a professional label reader. We're going to make it real hard for anyone to pull the wool over your eyes!

There is an excellent reference book, a chemical dictionary, that professional label readers, who have had some chemistry courses in their college days, would appreciate and that we highly recommend. The book "Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary" by Richard S. Lewis is expensive, but a good investment.

Dimethicone A lot of companies like to use this synthetic for it's "slippery" feel in body care products and because it's cheap. We have seen many times in print, that this ingredient is "derived from sand." Well...not exactly. It can originate from silicon crystals (of synthetic or natural
origin) that are reacted with methyl chloride. Methyl chloride is created via the chlorination of methane or through a reaction of hydrochloric acid on methanol. No matter which way you slice it, methyl chloride doesn't look like a good environmental ingredient.

Slippery Facts About Fatty Acids, Fatty Alcohols, Emulsifying Wax and Glycerides.

Many people purchase products with the following ingredients listed on the
labels: "fatty acid--derived from coconut" or "coconut fatty acids," "fatty or cetyl alcohol--from coconut," "emulsifying wax," "glycerides." These ingredients are found in premium-priced products labeled as "natural" and "organic." Folks often assume (because they get confused by the phrase "fatty acid"--it sounds a lot like "essential fatty acid") that these materials are just like the healthy coconut oil that is used in their favorite Thai foods or in pina coladas. It is a mistake to view these materials in that way. All of the materials above belong to a class of synthetics known as oleochemicals. Oleochemicals are not cold-pressed certified organic vegetable oils. They are conventionally-grown oils that are processed by many different methods and, in the processing, are split into various fractions or new materials. The vast majority of these processing methods are not permitted in the processing of organic food according to the USDA's National Organic Program. To see a diagram of oleochemical processing click here.

It is important to note that "fatty acids" or "fatty alcohols" may also be "derived from" petrochemical sources.

To learn more about oleochemicals, their environmental impact, potential health effects, why and how they are used and more about their processing, continue reading about...

Trans Isomers

Most well-educated, health-conscious people today do not eat hydrogenated fats. Thanks to the media and the healthy food watchdogs, just about everybody is aware of trans fatty acids and knows that they are associated with free radical formation and arterial blockages. Trans fats can be found in many different oleochemicals. Depending upon how they were processed, fatty acids, fatty alcohols and partially-hydrogenated oils are examples of oleochemicals that might have trans isomer content.

Why are oleochemicals used so frequently? They are used because they benefit manufacturers greatly--financially and in formulating. Generally, vegetable oils, can be split into different oleochemical fractions. Essentially, the oil and wax molecules of a single oil are separated in a manufacturing process. What the personal care manufacturer wants is just the waxy part of the oil. Simplistically-speaking, when the oil portion is split and removed, the wax part is left and, without an oil molecule to oxidize and go rancid, the shelf life has been increased dramatically--from 12-18 months to 36-48 months to..forever! The part that remains is "waxy" in feel, without an oily, greasy feel. They're also more appealing because oleochemicals are much less expensive than cold-pressed and organic vegetable/plant oils like cocoa butter, sunflower or coconut oils.

Oleochemicals are used in just about every type of personal care product and are used, in one form or another, by practically every manufacturer and are sold in department stores, health food stores, spas, drug stores, etc. These waxy agents are used in skin creams, body lotion, hair conditioners, lip balms, etc. They're also used as the main ingredient in facial cleansers (detergent-based products that are slyly labeled as "soap-free" or
"oil-free") or as the base of synthetic shampoo detergents, hand-washing "soaps" (in the USA, because of successful corporate lobbying, the government permits corporations to call detergents "hand soap" or even "laundry soap"--if you're looking for TRUE soap, always look for "castile soap" on the label) and "environmentally-friendly" laundry and dishwashing detergents.

Following are just two of the many processing methods of oleochemicals, according to the web site

Method one: "triglycerides are hydrolyzed (authors question: perhaps with a reactive, synthetic genetically-modified enzyme?) to breakup into fatty acids and glycerol by a reaction termed as fat splitting. This output has to be distilled to produce fatty acids. Fatty acids of different chain lengths can be obtained by passing them through a series of evaporators to get various grades of glycerol and glycerine."

Method two: "the other process involves alcoholysis using excess glycerol or methanol in the presence of catalysts to attain glycerates and esters, which are converted into alcohol."

According to Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, methanol is the 22nd highest-volume chemical produced in the USA. It is hazardous. Toxic by ingestion and can cause blindness.

So what's the problem with oleochemicals? For one thing, the processing/manufacturing of oleochemicals can employ the use of toxic chemicals that can be harmful to humans, wildlife and the environment and, second, the creation of trans fatty acids in the final product that can generate free radicals. (Not to mention the tax dollars spent on the regulatory issues and the maintenance of Environmental Protection Agency [EPA} Toxic Release Inventory Lists.)

According to the article "Trans Isomers in Cosmetics" in Soap & Cosmetics magazine (May 2001) by James Brown and Robert Kleiman "Trans fatty acids have been implicated in the inhibition of and desaturation of polyunsaturated fatty acids; i.e., the metabolic pathway to prostaglandin formation. Prostaglandins are important mediators of skin metabolism. Topical introduction of trans fatty acids may disrupt normal prostaglandin formation." The article goes on to say that "Trans isomers of lipid (oil) materials occur infrequently in nature. Non-natural trans isomers are usually formed when lipid materials are subjected to various chemical transformations such as partial hydrogenation, oxidation, transisomerization, or certain enzymatic reactions." (these transformations are used to create some fatty acids, fatty alcohols, "emulsifying waxes" and

Brown and Kleiman also state that "The CTFA (Cosmetic, Toiletries & Fragrance Association) List of Japanese Cosmetic Ingredients, 4th edition
(1999) lists seven "Partially Hydrogenated" product categories. These are Horse oil, Jojoba oil, Methyl abietate, Palm oil, Fatty acid, Perilla oil, Squalane and Tallow acid. Where (INCI) names have been assigned for these lipids in the USA, those names do NOT include a "Partially Hydrogenated" category. The CTFA includes a listing for "Jojoba Butter" a transisomerized (synthetically-processed form) of Jojoba oil containing about 50% trans isomers."

When you begin to experiment with new man-made chemicals there are bound to be surprises, somewhere, sometimes down the road a bit. Take isopropyl myristate for example. A common synthetic oleochemical emollient, lubricant and solvent, this oleochemical is unique in its category in that it also exhibits astringent properties and began to be used heavily during the 60' and 70's. Then, oops, the lid on Pandora's box popped open. Scientists discovered that isopropyl myristate readily penetrates the skin (it is also a skin, eye and respiratory irritant) and, if combined with other ingredients contaminated with nitrate compounds, the absorption potential of the nitrates was increased 230 times. After this discovery, everyone began to think more about skin permeability and skin absoprtion a bit more. Many scientists worry about large areas of the body being rubbed with this ingredient, such as in a body lotion application. They are concerned that there could be significant absorption of nitrates from a contaminated product left on the skin for many hours. This should make trans isomers in body creams and lotions an area of concern, too, shouldn't it?

Oleochemicals do not have the vital, living energies and nutritional qualities of cold-pressed organic oils that you would want to eat and, since we know that they can penetrate your skin, why use them on your body? We wonder if people would still rush to pay premium prices for their "natural" and "organic" body care products if they suspected that they might be buying trans fats...

More to come....


Castor Oil

Hydrolyzed Proteins

Animal Testing

Octyl Methoxycinnamate

Monday, October 14, 2002
The Debate is Resolved! Finally, The Official USDA definition of the word "Synthetic." In previous days, a manufacturer could confuse and delude people with their own "definition" of the word "natural." Now, the USDA has set the record straight. Click here to view the legal definition

Turn on the Tap and Pour Yourself a Glass of Your Shampoo, Your Body Lotion and Sunscreen. An amazing, must-read, govenrment report by a top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientist outlining a major source of chemical pollution in our drinking water. Also, the report details the scientist's deep concern about the serious detrimental health effects of these pollutants. Click here

Drinking Your Shampoo...A Recipe for Drive-by Shootings? An earlier EPA report that discusses the details about the powerful effects of small daily doses of body care chemicals and drugs in our drinking water. Click here

"The Body Toxic" A journalist writes about the body care chemicals in the drinking water, referencing the EPA reports above. This is an excellent article for your mother or your sister to read. Well-written and easy to understand. A wake-up call! Read more

Sunscreens in lip balms? Sunscreens were never tested as food additives. When your lip balm tube is empty, where did the product go? You ate it! Just one of the many reasons that TerrEssentials doesn't use sunscreens in body care products. To learn more about why we don't use sunscreens, keep reading.

Mother Jones and Michael Castleman Reveal How You Get Burned in Their Article "Sunscam." An extremely well-written and convincing article that casts a very dark shadow on the myths about "protective" sunscreens. Read the expose

Blurring the Link Between Sun exposure and Melanoma. A very interesting article dissecting commonly promoted sun and skin cancer myths and the questionable science that substantiates sun exposure and melanoma links. Read more

"Ozone depletion is not the cause of the increase in skin cancers." Professor Moan of the Norwegian Cancer Institute made an astounding discovery when researching rising skin cancer rates in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Click here for more information

Be Sure Your Baby Gets Her Daily Dose of Sunscreen...In Your Breastmilk! Many "natural" sunscreen chemicals have now been found to be estrogenic and have been detected in breastmilk and in fish. Read more

So now you're thinking that the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide might be "safe" sunblocks, right? Isn't that what "natural" personal care products manufacturers have suggested? See below for some interesting information about the photochemical reactions of supposedly "inert" sunscreen agents.

The following excerpt is taken from the book:
"Sunscreen Photobiology--Molecular, Cellular and Physiological Aspects" by Francis Gasparro (Springer-Verlag Publishing)

"Zinc oxide has been used for years as an ingredient of many skin ointments and titanium dioxide is a standard ingredient of many paints, attractive because of its great opacity and low price. Both of these, and especially titanium dioxide, are nowly widely used as sunscreens, and are sometimes marketed as "nonchemical materials," implying a high degree of safety. However, both compounds are semi-conductors which can absorb light and generate reactive species from its energy.

'Illumination of titanium dioxide suspensions with sunlight can degrade organic materials and purify drinking water, while illumination with short wave UV kills human cells. This work shows that the distinction between organic, 'chemical' sunscreens and inorganic, 'physical' sunscreens, attractive though it may be to those who market them, is not based on any significant difference. Both varieties have the potential to produce reactive species that can attack biological materials (human skin cells) when they are exposed to normal sunlight.

'In sunscreens, titanium dioxide is usually used as 'micronized' particles in the size range of 20-50 microns for very good cosmetic reasons. Such particles are small compared with the wavelength of the incident of light and so they scatter it (the light) according to Rayleigh's law, which states that the intensity of the scattered light in inversely proportional to the fourth power of the wavelength. Consequently, micronized particles do not scatter visible light and are virtually invisible on the skin. However, they still absorb UVB and UVA, and absorption can be followed by the generation of hydroxyl radicals.

'...even though titanium dioxide is virtually insoluble in water, there are suggestions from biopsies of clinical material followed by energy dispersive X-ray analysis or electron probe microanalysis that it can pass through the skin. The findings are far from conclusive and the possible route of entry is not at all clear, but it may not be safe to assume that titamium dioxide cannot enter skin. Zinc oxide has a small but finite solubility in water, and there is some evidence from direct analysis of zinc content and from autoradiographic studies using Zinc oxide that it may be able to pass through rabbit skin into the dermis and below, probably through hair follicles. This whole question of permeability of human skin to inorganic sunscreens need to be examined carefully, with methods that are sensitive enough to detect the very low levels that are relevant to DNA damage. What is established is that particles of titanium dioxide as large as 220 nm can enter human cells in culture, and so it seems entirely plausible that if titanium dioxide does pass through skin it could enter cells under the skin (carrying with it the absorbed UVA and UVB radiation and hydroxyl radicals)."

Chemical Sunscreens Used in "natural" and "organic" Body Care Products:

Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone)
PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA) Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl
Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate) Digalloyl trioleate Menthyl anthranilate Avobenzone [butyl-methyoxydibenzoylmethane; Parsol 1789]

Now for 2 last nuggets that, question the myth of an "inert" titanium

nugget 1:

Excerpts from the article: "Sun City also rises in Fort Myers" by Judy Stark for the St. Petersburg Times, July 14, 2001

Welcome the self-cleaning window

Put down that squeegee and spray bottle of window cleaner, and make way for self-cleaning windows. By year's end, American consumers will be able to buy window glass that cleans itself, produced by Pilkington, a British glassmaker.

Typically, when water hits glass, it beads up and runs off, and the dust particles in the rainwater or on the windowpane leave streaks or spots. Pilkington's glass has a permanent coating of titanium dioxide, which attracts water and makes it run down the glass in a continuous sheet, pushing dirt particles off and diffusing dust across the window, rather than clumping it together in droplets.

In sunny weather, once the titanium oxide is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun, it also acts as a catalyst that breaks down organic dirt into carbon dioxide and water vapor. Homeowners could watch smudges slowly disappear. The self-cleaning function works only on the outside of the windows because it requires the sheeting action of rain to wash away the dirt.

nugget 2:

According to a Press Release from the Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), The Mesoporous Ceramics Research Group, working at the Ceramics Research Institute of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), has succeeded in developing a new tooth-bleaching agent, the first of its kind, using a titanium dioxide photocatalyst.

The bleaching agent, consisting mainly of titanium dioxide photocatalyst and low concentration (3.5%) hydrogen peroxide, was applied to the surface of the tooth, which was then irradiated for several minutes with violet light of 400 nm. The commonly used titanium dioxide only reacts to ultraviolet light of wavelength 380 nm or less, but the whitening agent developed at AIST reacts to visible light in the vicinity of 400 nm.

If the titanium dioxide can cause biological material on windows to degrade and can bleach teeth, what is it doing to human skin when topically applied in sunscreen products?

Learn the truth about synthetic detergents, "soaps," fatty acids, preservatives, fragrances, foam boosters, thickeners and color cosmetics and the hush-hush little secrets "natural" personal care manufacturers don't want you to find out about.

Following is an excerpt from an article in the September 2002 issue of Happi (Household and Personal Products Industry)--a chemical industry trade journal "Cosmetic Product Preservation" by Jabbar Mufti:

"Typical preservatives used in the cosmetic industry include methyl paraben, ethyl paraben and propyl paraben and their derivatives. They disable enzyme activity in the bacterial wall to prevent fungal contamination. This action continues when the product is on the skin and may be absorbed into the skin tissue, taken up by the blood stream and ultimately reside in the major organs. The preservative action is so stable, it continues to work while inside the body, limiting the normal enzyme activity of the body.

'How do we know this? Autopsies performed on cancerous tumours have shown residues of methyl-, ethyl- and propyl parabens. "

Read Your Body Care Labels and Scrutinize Those "Natural" Ingredients Now! Methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, and butyl- Parabens have been found to be Oestrogenic. Scientists are worried about skin absorption of these chemicals. Click here for more information

Scientists find new evidence to show you why you should think carefully about using products that contain methyl paraben. "Their experiments show that xenoestrogens in a mixture can have a very significant effect in the presence of estrogen. The additive impact of a collection of xenoestrogens, each of them at concentrations beneath their individual "no effect" level, was to more than double the effect of natural estrogen by itself." Read the report

Study Shows Some Grapefruit Seed (also Citrus Seed Extract) Extracts Found to Contain Chemical Preservatives: Benzethonium and/or Triclosan and/or Methyl Paraben. Grapefruit/citrus seed extracts are synthetic (according to the USDA National Organic Program [NOP]) quaternary ammonium compounds and are NOT permitted in organic products. Recent studies question the preservative claims for this ingredient. Click here for more

Still more about grapefruit/citrus seed extracts...
Read more

And yet still more about grapefruit/citrus seed extracts
learn about this ingredient

Here's a PubMed reference on grapefruit seed extract:

Check it out.

More details on the PubMed piece:

Read this.

More worrisome ingredients in "natural" and "organic" personal care products.

FDA Report: Diethanolamine and Cosmetic Products
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) completed a study in 1998 that found an association between the topical application of diethanolamine (DEA) and certain DEA-related ingredients and cancer in laboratory animals. Click here to view the entire Fact Sheet

Synthetic detergents/surfactants washed down the drain every day don't ever go away--they accumulate! Scientists in the UK are worried about the oestregenic effects of detergents in the water. Is your "natural" or "organic" shampoo, body wash or bubble bath detergent on the list? Read more

Did you know that True Soap occurs in nature? Did you know that soap has been known to humans and used by humans for more than a thousand years? Synthetic detergents do not occur in nature and, despite claims of "biodegradeability" and "mildness" are proving to have serious detrimental environmental and health effects. Why use them at all?

Synthetic olefin sulfonate detergent is NOT approved for use in any eco-labeled products. The Scandinavian countries are known and respected world-wide for their environmental policies and the protection of their citizens. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservancy has published its list of approved and not approved surfactants. True soaps (castile types) of all types topped the list as being the number one, environmentally-friendly surfactant. Why is olefin sulfonate in products labeled as "natural" and "organic?" Click here to check your labels to see how your products stack up

Eczema rise is blamed on bath gels Synthetic detergents found in "natural" products can cause skin problems. Read more

A collection of information about Cocamidopropyl Betaine (also called coco betaine), a foam-boosting surfactant.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB)

(from: )

A number of studies in both animals and humans have been conducted by the manufacturers of products containing cocamidopropyl betaine in concentrations as high as 50% of full strength (which isconsidered to be 30% activity). Results of these studies have been voluntarily submitted to the CTFA and reviewed by the CIR (Cosmetics Ingredients Review) panel.

The following information (studies and conclusions) used to compile this health hazard review was adapted from the published materials of the CIR panel, unless otherwise cited. Summary CAPB, primarily used in hair shampoos but also in formulations used as hair conditioners, hairdyes and colors, bath soaps/detergents, skin cleansing preparations, and bubble baths, is reported as a potentially irritating substance. Concentrations of CAPB in these formulations range from 0.1 to 50% (expressed as a percent dilution of commercially supplied CAPB that is 30% active).

CAPB does not appear to have undergone any studies of reproductive or developmental toxicity or neurotoxicity or chronic studies of systemic effects. The single carcinogenicity study employed CAPB in a formulation. Without any remarkable response, its results suggest that CAPB does not increase systemic tumors above background, but are not enough to be conclusive. Although no dermal subchronic toxicity testing appears to have been performed, results of a 28-day oral test suggest a CAPB potential for irritation, which is consistent with outcomes from a collection of patch and ocular animal tests.

Absorption/Metabolism--No studies were found on the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of CAPB. It is unclear whether the amide bond of CAPB can be hydrolyzed to yield the fatty acids and 3-aminopropylbetaine. No metabolism data are available on the latter compound.

Acute Toxicity--Humans--No studies have been located discussing acute effects of CAPB in humans by any route of administration.

In a 28-day gavage (forced-feeding) short-term study in rats, with full-strength solution (30% CAPB), treatment-induced lesions were produced in the nonglandular portion of the stomach in the high-dose group but no tin the low-dose group. No other studies discussing subchronic effects of CAPB in humans or animals have been located.

Neurotoxicity--No studies have been located discussing neurotoxic effects of CAPB in humans or animals.

Developmental/Reproductive Toxicity--No studies have been located discussing reproductive or developmental effects of CAPB inhumans or animals.

"Organic" Water in Your Shampoo? The USDA National Organic Program bans water (and salt) from calculation of ingredients for organic foods. Look under "Categories of Organic Content" and see "Organic." Water or hydrosols are not permitted to be counted as an ingredient in organic products.Read the exclusion for yourself. Read more

Natural Fragrance--An Alluring, Yet Vague Description of a Chemical Soup. Is It In Your Skin Care Products? Just a little whiff of that fruity lotion might be cause for concern. Read this eye-opening report on the hazards of chemical fragrances. Click here for more

Make-up kit holds hidden danger of cancer Are you still wearing make-up? Here are some good reasons for you to finally stop buying color cosmetics. Read more

Review a patent for the oleochemical PEG 30 Glycerol Cocoate. Does this sound like a "natural" ingredient.that you would want to eat? Read more

Now that you've learned about glycerol cocoate, would you like to learn about Ethylene Glycol? Click here to become informed about this hazardous chemical

And now some "lite" reading about synthetic carbomer thickeners...Collected tidbits from various websites:


Products for pharma and cosmetics industry for various gel formulations such as viscosity or thickening agents. For pharmaceutical industry, it can be used in oral liquid, suspension, tropical gel, lotion and ointment. For cosmetic industry, it can be used in all personal care products such as shampoo, soap, perfume, shaving cream, nail polish, sun screen lotion, various creams & toothpaste. Their range are synthetic high molecular weight crosslinked polymers of acrylic acid, which conform to USP/NF, specifications as " CARBOMER"

Excellent thickening efficiency at high viscosity and sparkling clear transparency is possible in aqueous or hydroalcoholic solutions suitable for use in cosmetics and topical application :

- Tooth Paste
- Shampoos
- Cleansing cream
- Skin Freshener
- Hair, Skin and Moisturizing Creams
- Shaving and Sunscreen Creams
- After Shave Lotions.

Carbomer products (carbomer is the generic name for Carbopol polymers), are linear polyacrylates and crosslinked polyacrylates.

According to the Basic Acrylic Monomer Manufacturers, Inc., acrylic acid is the base ingredient for linear polyacrylates and crosslinked polyacrylates. It is a highly reactive chemical that is very corrosive and identified as a hazardous chemical. Linear polyacrylates and crosslinked polyacrylates may contain trace amounts of acrylic acid. Primary routes of human epxosure to acrylic acid are skin contact and inhalation. Toxicity is due to tissue damage at the site of contact. Contact with dilute solutions of acrylic acid or its vapor can be irritating to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. In animal studies, repeated exposure to the vapor caused nasal lesions. In other animal studies, repeated exposure to acrylic acid has typically resulted in changes in body and organ weights as well as clinical chemistry.

**Recently the EP (European Pharmacopeia) has revised their carbomer monograph to limit the benzene content to 2ppm. Furthermore, the FDA has adopted guidelines limiting the benzene level in new formulations to 2

U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Administration

**Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is produced by the burning of natural products. It is also a component of products derived from coal and petroleum. It is found in gasoline and other fuels, and is used in the manufacture of plastics, detergents, pesticides, and other chemicals.**

Research has shown benzene to be a **carcinogen (cancer causing)**. With exposures from less than 5 years to more than 30 years, individuals have developed, and died from, leukemia. Long-term exposure may affect bone marrow and blood production.

**Short-term exposure to high levels of benzene can cause drowsiness, dizziness, unconsciousness, and death.** The current permissible exposure level is 1 part per million (ppm) in air for an 8 hour average with a short-term exposure limit of 5 ppm. **Benzene can also be absorbed through the skin.**

Some people use true organic essentials oils in their products. Other people, looking to cut corners and make more money (at your expense) use synthetics.

There is a technical analysis process called "head space technology" where natural plants oils are analyzed by a unique gas chromatograph system that calculates a chemical recipe for companies to make synthetic versions of essential oils from petrochemical sources. In the personal care industry these synthetics are identified as "nature identicals" or "natural fragrance." Beware!

Another example of cutting corners is the use of the synthetic chemical azulene in place of true organic essential oil of blue chamomile. Blue chamomile essential oil has a delightful. sweet aroma, tremendous holistic properties and a lovely and strong blue color; however, when it comes down to making money, blue chamomile is costly, azulene is cheap.

Take a look at the following link on azulene synthesis to decide if you would prefer to use blue chamomile essential oil instead of a non-sustainable synthetic Click here

© 2004 Terressentials