Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Are Your Beauty Products Safe? Quiz

There has been a lot in the news lately about the lack of adequate health testing and warning information on beauty products. Many chemicals used in common soaps, shampoos, perfumes, cleansers, makeup, lipsticks, and more may be hazardous to our health.
SIMPLE SOLUTION: Take this quiz to find out if you may be using products that could adversely affect your health and well-being.

Take a look at the ingredients of the beauty products you use. Then answer the following questions True or False:

1. Sodium lauryl sulfate appears as an ingredient in my shampoo or other hair products.

2. I notice a combination of sodium lauryl sulfate and TEA (triethanolamine, DEA (diethanolamine), or MEA (monoethanolamine) in one or more of the hair products I use.

3. The word "methylparaben" appears on a label.

4. My product lists "fragrance" on the label.

5. I see the words "dibutyl phthalate, or DBP," or "diethylhexyl phthalate, or DEHP" on a label.

If you answered "True" to any of the questions, you may want to reconsider using those products. Here's why:

1. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a suspected liver or gastrointestinal toxiocant and sometimes causes eye and skin irritation, hair loss, and allergic reactions.

2. When sodium lauryl sulfate is combined with TEA, DEA, or MEA, it can cause the formation of nitrosamines--which are carcinogenic. You can prevent this by adding 1 teaspoon vitamin C powder and 1/4 teaspoon vitamin A powder for every 8 ounces of shampoo.

3. Methylparaben is a commonly-used disinfectant in many products. But recent research has shown that, when exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, it actually causes wrinkles and liver spots.

4. Artificial fragrances have been linked to a wide variety of health problems. Artificial musk, for example, has been shown to weaken the immune system. See Artificial Musks Weaken Immune System. And check out this story about a lawsuit won by a woman who claimed that the perfume worn by her co-worker made her too sick to work: Can Perfumes Make You Sick?

5. Phthalates--plasticizers found in numerous cosmetics and other products--have been shown to be hormone disruptors that can cause birth defects and other harm. For more information, see One Plastic to Be Sure to Avoid and Where Phthalates Lurk.

Find out more about the toxic chemicals hiding in your beauty products at The Environmental Working Group.

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