Start your day a healthier way
It’s possible to be exposed to dozens of nasty, hazardous chemicals in just the first half hour of the day. Here are three common ingredients to avoid:
Parabens, often used as preservatives in skincare products, have been found to mimic hormones and may also act as endocrine disrupters (EDCs). Further research is needed but EDCs are an accepted risk factor for diseases including breast cancer, endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
The European Commission allows methylparaben and ethylparaben in cosmetics in very small doses but has banned five other parabens.
Triclosan is used as an antibacterial ingredient in soaps, body products and toothpaste – and is also used in some pesticides. It’s under review at the moment in the US by two government watchdogs.
The Canadian Environmental Law Association is calling for a ban on triclosan and triclocarban after its research found highly toxic effects on waterways and potential risks for human health. In May, Minnesota became the first state in the US to ban triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products.
The US Food and Drug Administration is questioning the effectiveness and safety of Triclosan, stating that; ‘It has not been proven to be any more effective at getting rid of germs than ordinary soap and water’.
Phthalates, another group of EDCs, are used to make cosmetics smoother and plastics softer and sometimes turn up in synthetic fragrances. The US and Europe have banned phthalates in kids’ toys. A recent report published in the journal Environmental Health found that phthalates are still turning up in high levels in food. The report’s authors recommend avoiding storing or heating food in plastic containers, taking off shoes to avoid tracking chemicals inside – and watching out for phthalates in personal care products.