Chemicals in Personal Products

The next few blog postings are going to be on personal products and nasty chemicals to avoid in your personal products.   In order to give readers a better understanding of these chemicals I wanted to provide a more detail blog on just the chemicals.  Remember I am not a scientist, this is just basic information I have gathered from my research.  So here’s a closer look at the chemicals you will find listed in the next few blogs as well as more links for additional reading.  Next week’s blog will be Skin as Soft as a Baby’s Bottom? all about lotion and toxic chemicals.


Methylisothiazolinone or MIT – can affect your neurological and nervous system.  Researchers are linking this particular chemical to the possible increase in Alzheimer’s as well.  ESPECIALLYIF YOU ARE PREGNANT THIS CHEMICAL SHOULD BE AVOIDED! Researchers are concerned it can cause abnormal brain development in fetuses!  I found this in every one of my personal products, Oil of Olay face wash, Pantene shampoo, and even my kid’s products!  A few months ago I had a phase where different parts of my body kept going numb, doctors couldn’t explain it but now I am wondering if it was from chemical exposure overload!  Here is a great read on this chemical!

Parabens (butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, isopropylparapen) – this is a preservative that researches are concerned with its link to breast cancer, as well as an endocrine disruptor.  Allot of tumors that they are finding in breast cancer patients have been found to have this chemical in the tumor.  The endocrine part is just as scary for our little ones.  The chemical disrupts hormones which can cause the onset of early puberty for our children.  When children enter puberty early this sets the stage for other illnesses including cancer.  A little tip is to try using products that use GSE, grapefruit seed extract in place of parabens.

I also have to note that a few weeks ago I did not know what parabens were.  Now that I am aware of this chemical I found it amazing how many products actually list PARABEN FREE on them.  Once I knew that I was looking for this label on my shampoo, body wash and deodorant, I was amazed at how many products contain it.  Firms up completely to me that this is a chemical with an issue otherwise companies wouldn’t be marketing Paraben Free products!

Methylene Glycol – The definition according to Wikipedia is quote “Methanediol, also known as formaldehyde monohydrate or methylene glycol, is a chemical compound with chemical formula CH4O2, or H2C(OH)2. Did you catch the fact that this also know as formaldehyde monohydrate.  Basically watered down formaldehyde and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.  There is debate that it is not toxic because it is formulated with water, but the chemical makeup still contains formaldehyde.

This link is a great read on hair straighteners that contain methylene glycol:

DMDM HYDANTOIN, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate – There seems to be a common pattern with chemicals and formaldehyde!  These chemicals are formaldehyde releasers, preservatives found in personal products including shampoo, conditioners, hair gel, and skin care products.  They work by releasing formaldehyde to make microorganisms not want to form.  Gee I wonder why, maybe because it is poisonous!  These chemicals are also allergens as well which make them skin irritants.  Avoid them for one reason or another, but avoid them!!!

Even in the Wikipedia definition it list that many people can have a reaction to this ingredient because it contains formaldehyde!

Fragrances – fragrances are not tested and are full of dangerous chemicals so unless the scent is listed as an actual natural fruit or vegetable it has the potential for all kinds of harmful chemicals.

1,4-dioxane – This chemical is considered a probable carcinogen and should be avoided if possible, especially in your children’s products.  The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission states that “the presence of 1,4-dioxane, even as a trace contaminant, is cause for concern.” 1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of a chemical processing technique called ethoxylation used to make petroleum-based cosmetic ingredients gentler to the skin. Manufacturers can easily remove the toxic byproduct, but are not required to under federal cosmetic safety standards.

Triethanolamine (TEA, DEA, MEA) – This is a group of banned chemicals in Europe because of their know ability to mutate with other chemicals to become carcinogens.  (When will the American Government begin protecting us?)  Below is a cute link for remembering this chemical.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate – This chemical seems to be used in anything that has to do with cleaning.  Shampoos, body soap, engine degreasers, it is in it all.  So what is the harm in something that cleans?  The way the chemical is made it is processed with known carcinogens which is the problem it poses.  Known as a skin irritant, which warrants those with sensitive skin to avoid, it is recommended that the levels allowed in products used on the humans be low.  The issue is the trace contaminants that remain in the product from the processing which allows the possibility of carcinogens being present.  I will say this is about the hardest ingredient to avoid!  It truly is in everything soap related.  So again limit exposure when possible.

Phthalates ( Dibutylphthalate, diethylphthalate, DBP, DEP, also butyl ester)- This chemical is used to soften and although it is not directly linked to cancer at this point (FDA has it listed as a probable carcinogen) it is still an issue.  It is found in personal products, toys, just about everything so our exposure to this chemical is huge.  Research is showing a link between the exposure of these chemicals and problems with reproductive organs.    Currently more testing is being done to see what other health problems may occur with long term exposure to this group of chemicals.    More concern is being drawn to this chemical also because of the discovery of unusually high amounts being found in young children.  Major concern among researchers is the possible long term health affects to children because of this increased level.  As more manufacturers use this chemical to make products (because it is cheap) more exposure is given to children.  Let’s not wait to find out what those additional health issues will be, limit exposre and avoid now is my recommendation!

Aluminum – aluminum as we all know is a metal.  This metal is commonly found in allot of products from cookware to soda cans and yes even our personal products.  Researchers are studying the link between the increased amount of Alzheimer’s and aluminum in our personal products.