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INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

It would be impossible to create a handy graphic with all the ingredients to look out for, but these are the most dangerous and most commonly used. Save this graphic on your phone for easy access. ​ ​If you’re new to toxin free living you might be feeling a little scared or overwhelmed at first. I think it’s SO important to remember that NOBODY is perfect! I doubt there is anyone on this planet who makes completely toxin free choices 100% of the time! I know it can seem overwhelming at first, but it’s totally possible to have high ingredient standards and still take baby steps! Every small swap is a huge win in terms of toxic body burden!




WHY ARE ALL THESE INGREDIENTS HARMFUL?! SCROLL ON FOR AN IN-DEPTH EXPLANATION.

1,4-DIOXANE This is not an ingredient that you'll ever see on an ingredient label, but it's one of the most important ingredients to avoid. It's a by-product of the ethoxylation process in which carcinogenic ethylene oxide is reacted with other ingredients to make them less harsh on the skin. the epa has classified 1,4-dioxane as likely to be carcinogenic to humans. Sources: 1, 2, 3


ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE (ADDITIONAL NAMES: CI 77002)

Used as a colorant in many types of cosmetics and personal care products. "Aluminum production" has been classified as carcinogenic to humans by the the international agency for research on cancer. Sources: 1, 2


BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE (ADDITIONAL NAMES: ALKYLDIMETHYLBENZYLAMMONIUM CHLORIDE)

Used as a foaming and cleansing agent or as an antimicrobial preservative. It is a well known irritant, and there is evidence that it may cause a contact allergy at concentrations as low as 0.1%. When used to clean the cages of mice, both sexes had decreased fertility. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


BENZOPHENONES (ADDITIONAL NAMES: BENZOPHENONE-1, BENZOPHENONE-2, BENZOPHENONE-3 AKA OXYBENZONE, BENZOPHENONE-4, BENZOPHENONE-5, BENZOPHENONE-6 BENZOPHENONE-8, BENZOPHENONE-9, BENZOPHENONE-11, BENZOPHENONE-12)

Used as photostabilizers in cosmetics. Photostabilizers have a photoprotective effect on the skin. Added as a carcinogen to the california EPA’s proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity in 2012. Different benzophenones may have different hormone disrupting effects. They were declared the contact allergen of the year for 2014 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS). Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


BUTYLATED COMPOUNDS (COMMONLY KNOWN AS: BHT & BHA)

BHA is used as an antioxidant in cosmetic products, especially lipstick and eyeshadow. The U.S. National Toxicology Program has classified BHA as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen," and it has been added as a carcinogen to the California EPA's proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. BHA also exhibits some endocrine disrupting effects, and the European Union has listed it as an endocrine disruptor. BHT is a toluene-based ingredient used as a preservative. BHT is suspected to be potentially endocrine disrupting and have carcinogenic effects. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE

Used to give a shiny effect in makeup. Synthetically manufactured from bismuth, oxygen, and chlorine. It causes many people to break out or itch. Sources: 1, 2, 3


BISPHENOL A (BPA)

Used in the plastic packaging of products. BPA may leach from the plastic into the product we apply on our skin. The FDA has banned BPA in a few products based on some evidence of its effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children. BPA has been added to the California EPA’s proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Sources: 1, 2, 3


BORAX (ADDITIONAL NAMES: BORIC ACID, SODIUM BORATE, SODIUM TETRABORATE OR DISODIUM TETRABORATE)

Used as a preservative, emulsifier, and ph adjuster in cosmetics and personal care products. Can also be used as a pesticide that poisons insects, fungus, and weeds. At high doses, boric acid causes testicular atrophy, impaired fetal skeletal development, and decreased birth weight in animals. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


BUTOXYETHANOL (ADDITIONAL NAMES: 2-BUTOXYETHANOL)

Used as a solvent in hair dyes, nail polishes, lacquers, vanishes, and inks. In one study, people exposed to high levels of 2-butoxyethanol for several hours reported irritation of the nose and eyes, headache, a metallic taste in their mouths, and vomiting. Animal studies show destruction of red blood cells and damage to organs from exposure to butoxyethanol. Sources: 1, 2


CARBON BLACK (ADDITIONAL NAMES: CI 77266, BLACK 2, D&C BLACK NO. 2, ACETYLENE BLACK, CHANNEL BLACK FURNACE BLACK, LAMP BLACK, THERMAL BLACK)

Used as a pigment in cosmetics. It is manufactured by the combustion of aromatic petroleum oil feedstock and consists essentially of pure carbon. The international agency for research on cancer has classified it as possibly carcinogenic to humans. It may contain carcinogenic PAHS (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) as a contaminant. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

ETHANOLAMINE COMPOUNDS (ADDITIONAL NAMES: MEA/DEA/TEA)

Clear, colorless, thick liquids with ammonia like odors. At higher concentrations, ethanolamines may increase the risk of asthma and skin irritation. They may break down in the product and form nitrosamines that are linked to cancer. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


ETHOXYLATED INGREDIENTS (COMMON ETHOXYLATED INGREDIENTS: PEGS (ANY INGREDIENT LISTED AS POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL OR WITH A PEG- PREFIX), PHENOXYETHANOL, POLYSORBATE, ANY INGREDIENT WITH AN -ETH)

Made by the process of ethoxylation in which carcinogenic ethylene oxide is reacted with other ingredients to make them less harsh on the skin. As a result of the ethoxylation process, 1,4-dioxane is created and can be left behind in the product. see1,4-dioxane for more. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


ETHYLENEDIAMINETETRAACETIC ACID (EDTA) (ADDITIONAL NAMES: CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA, DIAMMONIUM EDTA, DIPOTASSIUM EDTA, DISODIUM EDTA, TETRASODIUM EDTA, TRIPOTASSIUM EDTA, AND TRISODIUM EDTA)

This ingredient is not harmful in itself, but they enhance the dermal penetration of other ingredients contained in a product, so they can be very harmful when paired with toxic ingredients. Sources: 1


FORMALDEHYDE-RELEASING PRESERVATIVES (COMMON FORMALDEHYDE-RELEASERS: DMDM HYDANTOIN, DIAZOLIDINYL UREA, IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, QUATERNIUM-15, 2-BROMO-2-NITROPROPANE-1,3-DIOL, METHENAMINE, AND SODIUM HYDROXYMETHYLGLYCINATE)

These ingredients release a small amount of formaldehyde into a product over time. The International Agency for Research on carcinogens has classified formaldehyde as carcinogenic to humans. The American Society of Contact Dermatitis lists it as one of the core allergens, even in concentrations as low as 1%. Temperature and storage time can increase the amount of formaldehyde released. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


FRAGRANCE

The FDA does not require the disclosure of individual ingredients used to create fragrances. There are over 3,000 ingredients that can make up for the term "fragrance", and many of them are toxic. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT (ADDITIONAL NAMES: CITRUS PARADISI (GRAPEFRUIT) SEED OR CITRUS GRANDIS (GRAPEFRUIT) SEED EXTRACT OR GSE)

Used as an antimicrobial preservative in cosmetic products. Numerous tests by independent researchers have shown that its antimicrobial properties are due to synthetic preservatives contained in it, not the extract itself. The synthetic preservatives found in GSE include benzalkonium chloride, triclosan, and/or methylparaben. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


HOMOSALATE (HMS)

Used as a UV filter in sunscreens and skincare with SPF to protect from short-wave UVB rays. It penetrates the skin and has been found in mother’s milk. Studies have shown that it may be a weak hormone disruptor. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


HYDROQUINONE

Used in skin lightening cosmetic products. It is also an impurity of synthetic tocopheryl acetate. While it has been classified as a carcinogen, in vitro and in vivo studies show that it exhibits some mutagenic properties. Hydroquinone is banned in the European Union. Sources: 1, 2, 3


IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE (IPBC)

Used as a preservative in cosmetic, personal care, and industrial products. It may cause dermal irritation or contact allergy. The American Society of Contact Dermatitis lists it as one of the core allergens, even in concentrations as low as 0.1%. When inhaled, it is toxic to the lungs. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE EXTRACT (ADDITIONAL NAMES: LONICERA JAPONICA EXTRACT)

Used as an antimicrobial preservative in cosmetics. The Japanese honeysuckle plant naturally contains para-hydroxy benzoic acid (PHBA), which might behave in a very similar way to synthetic parabens. See parabens for more. Sources: 1, 2


LOOSE POWDER TITANIUM DIOXIDE

Used as a UV filter in sunscreens and as a pigment in makeup. Based on experimental evidence from animal inhalation studies, titanium dioxide nanoparticles are classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans by the international agency for research on cancer. Sources: 1, 2


METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE & METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (MCI/MI)

Used as a preservative mixture in cosmetic products, household cleaning products, and industrial applications. MI was The American Contact Dermatitis Society contact allergen of the year for 2013. In addition, studies show that prolonged exposure to low levels of MI may have damaging consequences to the developing nervous system. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


MINERAL OIL (ADDITIONAL NAMES: PETROLATUM, PETROLEUM JELLY, PARAFFIN)

Used as a skin moisturizer. It's a liquid mixture that is obtained from crude petroleum. It may contain various amounts of carcinogenic PAHS (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and other petroleum contaminants, depending on the level to which it has been refined. There is consistent evidence that untreated or mildly treated mineral oils cause cancer of the skin in humans. Sources: 1, 2


OCTINOXATE (ADDITIONAL NAMES: OCTYL METHOXYCINNAMATE OR ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE)

A UV filter protecting the skin from UVB rays. It penetrates the skin and has been found in mother’s milk. Studies have shown that it may have some weak hormone mimicking effects. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5