Many people think that the chemicals in shampoo and other personal care products are not always safe. Many of them are not aware how common carcinogenic and toxic ingredients are.
The FDA does not regulate shampoo and other similar products. According to this, it is legal to put practically anything in them. Here are 6 ingredients to keep an eye out for.
1. PROPYLENE GLYCOL
This is a type of humectant chemical, or a skin-moisturizing agent. It is also utilized to make the personal care products less sticky, as a viscosity-reducing agent. But, this chemical can severely irritate your eyes, skin and lungs. There is some evidence that propylene glycol has allergenic and toxic features. Only 2% of propylene glycol can cause severe damage to the skin, such as irritation and even hives. The Environment Canada Domestic Substance List has classified this chemical as toxic. Protect your skin from irritation and other damages by looking for shampoos, as well as other personal care items, that are free of this ingredient.
2. SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE
Sodium laureth, or sodium lauryl sulfate, is an ingredient used as detergent, emulsifier and surfactant. It is present in almost every industrial cleaning agents, shampoo, laundry detergent, and liquid soap. The main problem with sodium laureth sulfate is because of the manufacturing process. It is often contaminated with 1, 4 dioxane which behaves as a carcinogen.
Research shows that sodium laureth sulfate can bring about eye and skin irritation, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicity, organ toxicity, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, and possible DNA mutations which lead to cancer.
3. DIETHANOLAMINE OR DEA
DEA is a chemical used to regulate the pH of products. But, it is unsafe, and in fact has been banned in Canada for use in cosmetics. It causes severe irritations to the eyes, lungs, and skin, and is poisonous for the organs. There is strong evidence that DEA is a human immune, respiratory, and skin toxicant. DEA is a possible human carcinogen, suggests the California Environmental Protection Agency. You should avoid shampoos containing this ingredient.
This chemical is used as a preservative in many shampoos, liquid soaps, and other personal care products. Unfortunately, it is a known human immune toxicant and sensitizer, which means that it will reduce the effectiveness of your immune system. Some studies show evidence of serious skin and allergy problems caused by methylisothiazolinone. Some studies based on mammal brain cells, suggest that this chemical may be poisonous to the nervous system. Methylisothiazolinone is out of use in Europe, as the government found it unsafe for use in cosmetics. Methylchloroisothiazolinone is another similar chemical to avoid.
Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in personal care products, preventing the growth of microorganisms. The FDA has stated that parabens are safe when used at 25% concentrations. However, there is still evidence that suggests otherwise.
Methyl, propyl, and butyl parabens damage the endocrine system, obstructing the gland function and hormone production. Methyl paraben leads to premature aging by increasing sensitivity of UV lights. Because parabens imitate the chemical features of estrogen, paraben exposure may increase the risk of breast cancer. They can also reduce the sperm counts in men. Fortunately, there are many paraben-free shampoos available, but you will have to look for them.
6. 1, 4-DIOXANE
1,4-dioxane is a byproduct of manufacturing processes that are meant to reduce the risk of skin irritation when you have to work with petroleum-based materials When exposed to 1.4 dioxane, skin, nasal, lung, liver, breast and gallbladder cancer are likely to occur. However, it is found in up to 46% of personal care products. The U.S. National Toxicology Program says that this byproduct is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”, because many animal studies suggesting so. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also suggested that byproduct is likely a human carcinogen. You can identify products that are likely to contain 1, 4-dioxane by looking for “PEG”, “polyethylene”, or “polyoxyethylene” anywhere on the ingredients list.