Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Chemicals in Your Bathroom Part 2

Do you really know just what you and your family (including your children) are putting in their mouths every day when carrying out their normal dental hygiene? The list of ingredients is frightening.


Have your children ever said that the toothpaste burns or hurts their mouth? The chemicals in toothpaste are absorbed by the teeth, gums, mucous membranes of the mouth, and also other parts of the gastro-intestinal tract due to some toothpaste getting swallowed along with the saliva, especially by small children. The toxic chemicals ingested from toothpastes can cause poisoning of the teeth, bones, blood, muscles, nerves, and other parts of the body. Over a period of months and years, the whole body is adversely affected.

Conventional toothpastes contain artificial sweeteners like saccharin Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than sugar. It was banned as early as 1911, but the bans were lifted during the sugar rationing of WWI. A series of studies were done and saccharin was found to cause bladder cancers. The actual warning reads: ‘Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.’); Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (engine degreaser, garage/concrete floor cleaner, car wash soap, irritant, can form carcinogenic nitrosamines, accumulates in your body organs. In toothpaste it may weaken the enamel on teeth and may cause cavities. SLS is very abrasive and may burn the mouth); synthetic colours and flavours (as the name suggests, they are manufactured chemically); and polysorbate 80 (causes contact sensitivity and irritation) which may be contaminated with 1,4-doxane, a carcinogen. Almost all conventional brands contain fluoride (a hazardous chemical. Researchers linked it to cancer years ago. Fluoridated toothpaste is especially dangerous to young children who tend to swallow it after brushing their teeth. Supposed to stop tooth decay. Scientists are now linking fluoride to dental deformity, arthritis, allergic reactions, can lead to Crohn's disease. Is linked to cancer and causes problems for some sensitive people. Fluoride ingested in excessive amounts can cause various maladies like constipation, rheumatism, arthritis, chronic fatigue, heart disease and cancer. Most of the toxic chemicals are not even listed on the tubes of toothpastes. )


Conventional mouthwash is alcohol-based. Products with alcohol content higher than 25 percent can contribute to cancers of the mouth, tongue and throat when used regularly. Mouthwash can contain artificial flavours and colours, formaldehyde (due to its bad name it is sometimes hidden under the name DMDM hydantoin or MDM hydantion. Causes dermatitis, adverse effects, is very toxic when swallowed or inhaled, skin irritant, very toxic, a suspected carcinogen and linked to cancer); and sodium lauryl sulfate. Some mouthwash formulations include polysorbate 60 and polysorbate 80 (causes contact sensitivity and irritation), which may be contaminated with 1,4-dixane, a carcinogen and fluoride.

Many children are rushed to the emergency rooms each year due to alcohol poisoning from drinking mouthwash. One of the most popular brands of mouthwash is 26.9% alcohol. In adults, high alcohol mouthwash increases the risk of oral cancer by as much as 60%. People can register ‘over the limit’ when breathalised after using/swallowing mouthwash.

Next month, more on bathroom products.

Chemicals and Your Health

If asked, some of us would describe our wellness as less than 100% and that’s probably because we are affected by one or more of the following: stress, lack of exercise and poor diet or the build up of toxins in our bodies. Some chemicals have immediate toxic effects. Others are toxic to our bodies only after repeated, long-term exposure. And because they build up slowly, you may not be aware of a problem until, as has happened to some people in Toodyay, a cancer is discovered where there is no family history of cancer. Most people are aware of the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet, but few realise the effect that toxins in our foods, toiletries and household products have on our health. More and more studies are implicating toxins in a variety of illness and disease such as chronic fatigue and cancer, and the dramatic rise in allergies. Most people keep their windows shut – to conserve warmth in winter and coolness in summer. This means the toxins in the air have nowhere to go and just build up to higher and higher levels. Chemicals are part of our lives. We treat illnesses, paint our houses, and even clothe ourselves with products that have been developed through chemical research. However, there are reasons to be cautious about our exposure to some chemicals. For years, scientists have struggled to explain rising rates of some cancers and childhood brain disorders. There is something about our way of life today that has driven a steady rise of certain illnesses, from breast and prostate cancer to autism and learning disabilities. Most people today know of or perhaps, even worse, have suffered a cancer. Individually, each chemical, used in a minute quantity, may be harmless, but there’s growing concern about the combined effect as they accumulate in our bodies. Our homes harbour a staggering combination of chemicals that scientists are only just beginning to understand. Some chemical traces appear to have greater effects in combination than singly, another challenge to traditional toxicology, which tests things individually. Simple changes in our everyday routines can reduce our long-term exposures to levels of potentially harmful substances—changes in how we choose the products we buy, or the ways we clean our houses and take care of the yard. These changes will not only make our homes safer, they may also save us money. Consider using a pump spray (with a half life of remaining in the air of only seconds) instead of aerosols (with a half life of remaining in the air for hours). This alone will greatly reduce you and your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals. Depending on the individual, exposure to a toxic substance may result in no ill effects, effects that are reversible, or effects that have permanent consequences. Look for the words ‘caution,’ ‘warning,’ and ‘danger.’ Each of these words represents an elevated level of concern. For example, ‘caution’ means that a product could hurt you. It could bother your skin, make you sick if you breathe the fumes, or hurt your eyes if contact occurs. ‘Warning’ is more serious than ‘caution’ and indicates that you could become sick or seriously hurt with improper handling of the product. ‘Warning’ is also used to identify products that can easily catch on fire. ‘Danger’ indicates serious concern. Be extremely careful when handling products that contain the word ‘danger’ on the label. If used incorrectly, you could become very sick, be hurt for a long time, go blind, or even die. ‘Danger’ is also used on products to indicate that they could explode if they get hot. Periodically conduct a home survey of all your household cleaning and pesticide products– check for loose caps and properly dispose of out-of-date products. If the label of a container is damaged and can no longer be read, consider the product harmful or out-of-date and dispose of it properly. Next month – chemicals in personal products.

Chemicals in your Bathroom

Have you ever read the labels on your soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, shaving cream, children’s bubble bath, mouthwash etc? Product warning labels are shown for a reason. It is a fact that many manufacturers use certain harmful chemical ingredients mainly because they’re cheap and give the illusion of working properly. But more importantly for the manufacturer, they cost very little to fill the bottle, so it is a bigger profit margin for them. But residues of more than 400 toxic chemicals have been found in human blood and fat tissue. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a correlation between an ingredient found in shampoos and nervous system damage. The experiments were conducted with the brain cells of rats and they show that contact with this ingredient called methylisothiazoline, or MIT, causes neurological damage. Many well known brands that advertise regularly on TV all contain this ingredient. Researchers are concerned that exposure to this chemical by pregnant women could put their fetus at risk for abnormal brain development. In other people, exposure could also be a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders. The chemical causes these effects by preventing communication between neurons. Essentially, it slows the networking of neurons, and since the nervous system and brain function on a system of neural networks, the slowing of this network will suppress and impair the normal function of the brain and nervous system. Your skin is the largest breathing organ of your body, and many chemicals can be absorbed through it. Nicotine and medicine skin patches wouldn’t work if the skin couldn’t absorb. Yet almost ALL shampoos, conditioners, soaps and other bathroom products contain many dangerous ingredients. Shampoo Shampoos cause the most number of adverse reactions of all hair care products. They frequently contain harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and numerous irritating and carcinogenic compounds including: sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate (Engine Degreaser, Garage/Concrete Floor Cleaner, Car Wash Soap, irritant, can form carcinogenic nitrosamines, accumulates in your body organs, surrounds hair follicles in shampoo to keep it from growing, causes hair to fall out, keeps children’s eyes from developing properly, causes cataracts in older people; DEA (diethanolamine is readily absorbed through the skin, is a potentially cancer causing ingredient found in many mainstream cosmetics and toiletries); TEA (Triethanolamine) causes various allergic reactions including eye problems, and dryness of hair and skin. Causes severe facial dermatitis, irritation and sensitivity. Used as ph adjuster.) May contain nitrosamines (most nitrosamines are mutagens and a number are transplacental carcinogens); MEA (Acetamide MEA: Used in lipsticks and cream blusher to retain moisture, causes adverse reactions, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic hormone disruptors, can release carcinogenic nitrosamines); quaternium-15 (a preservative found in many cosmetics and industrial substances that releases formaldehyde. It can be found in numerous sources, including but not limited to: mascara, eyeliner, moisturizer, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, nail polish, personal lubricants, soaps, body wash, baby lotion or shampoo, facial cleanser, tanning oil, self-tanning cream, sunscreen, powder, shaving products, ointments, personal wipes or cleansers, wipes, paper, inks, paints, polishes, waxes and industrial lubricants. It can cause contact dermatitis, a symptom of an allergic reaction, especially in those with sensitive skin, on an infant’s skin, or on sensitive areas such as the genitals); DMDM hydratoin (can release carcinogenic nitrosamines.); polyethylene glycol (irritant); coal tar (carcinogenic); propylene glycol (neurotoxin, dermatitis, liver and kidney damage); and EDTA (irritant). Cleaning agents and water comprise about 93% of a shampoo. The cleaning agent itself is the most important ingredient. Soap Mainstream soap contains perfumes, dyes, mineral oil and other petroleum-based chemicals that clog pores, irritate, and dry skin. Seventy-six percent of liquid soaps and 30% of bar soaps now contain anti-bacterials. Many people pick up anti-bacterial soaps without even realizing it. Others choose anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners because advertising implies that using them will help protect your family against colds and flus. But colds and flus are viruses, and anti-bacterials have no effect on them at all. In fact, anti-bacterials soaps and cleaners are an unhealthy choice for several reasons. * In addition to being unnecessary, they expose us to harmful chemicals. The two most commonly used anti-bacterial chemicals are triclosan and chloroxylenol (or PCMX). Triclosan is a suspected immunotoxicant, and a suspected skin or sense organ toxicant. Triclosan is classified as a high volume chemical and is a derivative of the herbicide 2,4-D. It creates dioxin, a carcinogen, as a by-product. A Swedish study found high levels of this bactericide in human breast milk. Chloroxylenol is also a suspected immunotoxicant and skin or sense organ toxicant, as well as a gastrointestinal or liver toxicant. * Not all bacteria make people sick. Some are beneficial. Anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners kill both beneficial and harmful bacteria. By killing the beneficial ones, they actually leave us more vulnerable to the harmful ones we encounter. Children especially need exposure to some germs, to develop their immune systems. Next month, more on bathroom products

Monday, July 2, 2007

Chemicals in the home

I was forwarded an electronic petition about preventing the spread of GM products into Western Australia. I am horrified at what the multinationals are doing and the irreversible risks to not only our health, but to the environment. Until a few years ago we were farmers and used chemicals to kill weeds etc as that was best practice at the time and we were unaware of the damage we were inadvertently causing the environment. Notwithstanding this, we have always been concerned with the environment and were involved with many Land Care groups including the Land Conservation District Committee and the Land Management Society.

Being older and wiser now, we have given up farming but still have a passion for the environment and ridding our home of toxic chemicals which leach into the waterways and groundwater from the grey water produced from washing, showering etc as well as removing them from the air we breathe inside our home.

GM products have not really been around long enough to measure the long term damage to our irreplaceable bodies and the environment we are leaving for our children, but the damage to our health from household chemicals is well documented, including an article in the West Australian on Monday July 2nd.

If you too have concerns about the toxic chemicals in and around your home, please don't hesitate to email me. If you have like minded friends, please tell them about this blog.