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:

Element - - Wellbeing -

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.

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