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Dangers Lurking in Shampoo & Soap

by Greg Ciola

The American public and the world have become the unwitting subjects of a massive toxicological experiment from personal care products.

It’s ironic that in a day and age when so many have a heightened fear of terrorism and infectious diseases, few are aware of the harmful health risks coming from soaps, shampoos, shaving creams, deodorants, toothpaste, skin creams, cosmetics, hair sprays, laundry detergents, dishwashing products and household cleaners.  Billions of people every day are being exposed to ingredients that are proven carcinogens, toxins, neurotoxins, hormone disrupters, skin irritants, allergens, and respiratory disrupters. Some of the ingredients being used have even proven to be deadly to laboratory animals yet the government has declared them safe for use with humans.

Might this be one reason why so many people suffer from such things as dry skin, itchy skin, persistent skin irritations and rashes, sinus problems, allergies, asthma, respiratory ailments, reproductive problems, neurological disorders, and other health related ailments that doctors and medicine just don’t seem to have answers for?

Perhaps it’s time you examined your personal care products a little further to see if they are having a deleterious effect on your overall health. We have reached the point where diet and exercise alone are not enough to keep your health in check.  You must monitor and regulate every aspect of your life – from what you put on your body to what you put into your body, and even to what you use to clean your house.

Beware Of The Hidden Dangers of Shampoo

Unless the shampoo you use has been thoroughly investigated to be free of all caustic chemicals, phthalates, parabens, sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate, artificial fragrances and numerous other toxins, you are more than likely exposing yourself and loved ones to a risky brew of ingredients that could be extremely hazardous to your health. Did you that a majority of the ingredients used in personal care products are actually derived from petroleum by-products, coal tar, and animal fats? I am sure that given the choice most of you wouldn’t choose ingredients derived from these sources to wash your hair or body.

Here’s something interesting to ponder. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products. The final results were as follows.

• 884 of the chemicals were toxic
• 778 caused acute toxicity
• 376 caused skin and eye irritation
• 314 caused biological mutation
• 218 caused reproductive complications
• 148 caused cancerous tumors

Parents of newborns and little children beware! A new study published in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics suggests that baby shampoos, lotions and powders may expose infants to chemicals that have been linked with possible reproductive problems.

The study focused on chemicals called phthalates, which are becoming fairly common in the environment. They are used in lubricants and cosmetics, and increasingly they are showing up in plastic products, including children’s toys.

A story appearing on the website highlighted the study:

       “Researchers carefully measured the phthalates levels in the urine of 163 infants between the ages of two and 28 months. They compared those levels to a description of their recent activities, provided by their mothers.
       The moms in the study were specifically asked about any lotions, shampoo, powders, wipes or diaper creams they had used, as well as the use of plastic toys, teething rings and pacifiers.
       While all the infants in the study had some level of phthalates in their urine, those who had used shampoo, lotion and powder had higher levels of the chemical than those who did not. The researchers concluded that parents who want to reduce phthalates in their children should avoid products that contain these chemicals.”

It’s quite disturbing that manufacturers actually produce products that they know can harm people, especially innocent little children.  To highlight the problem further with personal care products on the market, I decided to take one popular brand of shampoo (name withheld) and examine its contents so you have some deeper insight into what you may be exposing yourself to every day.

Here’s what the label said it contains:  Ammonium Chloride, Glycerin, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Octoxynol, Fragrance, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Blue 1, Yellow 5, Red 40.
(Some of the information was obtained from two books: A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients and A Consumers Dictionary Of Food Additives by Ruth Winter.)

1)  Ammonium Chloride:  Industrially employed in freezing mixtures, batteries, dyes, safety explosives, and in medicine as a urinary acidifier and diuretic.  If ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting, and acidosis in doses of 0.5 to 1 gram.  Lethal as an intramuscular dose in rats and guinea pigs.  As with any ammonia compound, concentrated solutions can be irritating to the skin.

2) Glycerin:  Any by-product of soap manufacturing obtained by adding alkalis to fats and fixed oils.  A solvent, humectant, and emollient in many cosmetics, it absorbs moisture from the air and therefore, helps keep moisture in creams and other products, even if the consumer leaves the cap off the container. In and of itself glycerin is not a bad ingredient. It’s actually very beneficial when derived from the right source and is found in many organic products. The main problem with a lot of the glycerin being used in mainstream products stems from the fact that unless a product label states that it was derived from a vegetable or coconut source, it was likely obtained from pig fat.  WARNING TO KEEPERS OF LEVITICAL CLEANLINESS LAWS!

3) Glycol Distearate:  A widely used surfactant made from glycerin and stearic acid.  Glycol literally means “glycerin” plus “alcohol.”  (Stearic acid is also an animal fat and isopropyl alcohol is derived from petroleum.) This ingredient can be caustic on your skin.

4) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS):  Prepared by sulfation of lauryl alcohol followed by neutralization with sodium carbonate.  May cause drying of the skin because of its degreasing ability and is an irritant to the skin.  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is an ingredient found in over 90% of commercial shampoos and conditioners.  It has been shown to corrode the hair follicles and impede hair growth and has been blamed for many cases of premature hair loss.  The Material Safety Data Sheet provided by the U.S. government says exposure to SLS can lead to a burning sensation, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting.  According to the American College of Toxicology, SLS stays in the body up to five days.  Other studies show that it easily penetrates the skin and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, the lungs, and the brain.

5) Octoxynols:  Wax-like emulsifiers, dispersing agents, and detergents derived from phenol and used as a surfactant.

6) Phenol:  Obtained from coal tar.  Ingestion of even small amounts of phenol may cause nausea, vomiting, circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, respiratory failure, and cardiac arrest.

7) Coal Tar:  Thick liquid or semisolid tar obtained from bituminous coal, it contains many constituents including benzene, xylenes, naphthalene, pyridine, quinolineoline, phenol, and cresol.  The main concern about coal tar derivatives is that they cause cancer in animals, and they are also frequent sources of allergic reactions — particularly skin rashes and hives.

8) Fragrance: Fragrance is found in most deodorants, shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care and baby products.  Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients.  Almost all of them are synthetic.  Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritations.  (Fragrance is a clever way for manufacturers to disguise lethal and harmful ingredients and is virtually unregulated by the EPA or the FDA.)

10) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate:  A preservative widely used in cosmetics.  Has been shown to adversely affect livers in rats in feeding studies.  It also affected their behavior.  It was also mildly irritating in human testing.  (Carbamates are used in pesticides. Carbamic acid, which is colorless and odorless, causes depression of bone marrow, degeneration of the brain, nausea and vomiting.  It is moderately toxic by many routes.)

11) Blue 1:  A bright blue, coal tar derivative, triphenylmethane, used for hair colorings, face powders, and other cosmetics (see coal tar).  May cause allergic reactions.  On the FDA permanent list of color additives.  Rated 1A – that is, completely acceptable for nonfood use – by the World Health Organization.  However, it produces malignant tumors at the site of injection and by ingestion in the rat.

12) Yellow 5:  A lemon yellow coal tar derivative.  (See coal tar)

13) Red 40:  Many American scientists feel that the safety of Red No. 40 is far from established, particularly because the manufacturer conducted all of the tests.  Therefore, the dye should not have received a permanent safety rating.  The National Cancer Institute reported that p-credine, a chemical used in preparation of Red No. 40, was carcinogenic in animals.  In rats, a high oral dose of the coloring caused adverse reproductive effects.  It has been shown to cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors by the body can also cause depletion of oxygen.
This brief list of ingredients doesn’t even scratch the surface. There are thousands of others on the market and what I’ve just pointed out is pretty much the norm with most of them.

Do you think there may be a correlation between the use of shampoo and hair conditioners and those who suffer from dandruff, dry itchy scalp, balding, and other head, eye, and skin irritations?  Did you know that side effects from shampoo are among the most frequent complaints made to the FDA?  It should be evident after reviewing just a fraction of the ingredients being used that you should look for safer alternatives.  Washing your hair in rendered animal fats, petroleum by-products, harmful dyes and perfumes is certainly not the answer to good hygiene.     

Beware Of The Hidden Dangers of Soap

You probably didn’t know that most commercial soap and even some so-called “natural” soap on the market uses animal fat in the form of Tallow, Sodium Tallowate, Magnesium Stearate, Stearic Acid, and Glycerin as the base for their product.  Just check the labels of all the major brands and chances are you’ll find at least one of these ingredients listed.  In the case of glycerin, unless they specifically state that it is derived 100% from coconuts or a vegetable source, it more than likely has come from pig fat. Let me ask you a very important question – how can you really expect to get clean by scrubbing your skin, face, and hair with animal fats?  Could you imagine using the fat obtained from a person who had liposuction done? It’s disgusting! Why isn’t the fat from animals viewed the same way?
Most popular soaps also contain petroleum by products, coal tar derivatives, hard surfactants, hard alkyl benzene sulfanates, preservatives, fragrances, dyes, perfumes, deodorizers and other toxic and caustic ingredients.  Auto mechanics are warned that long-term exposure to petroleum products can cause skin cancer and other skin maladies yet we are led to believe by the cosmetics industry that these products clean and moisturize your skin. As with shampoo, your daily soap cleansing may actually be doing you more harm than good.
Sure, on the outside you may appear clean, but inside, your body may be a toxic waste dump full of carcinogens and health-threatening chemicals. In fact, chemical sensitivities are increasing dramatically every year and new research is linking many common cosmetic ingredients to the problem. The reason why these inferior ingredients are often used instead of safer alternatives is two-fold. They are dirt cheap, and it is a means for the meat-packing industry and the oil refining industry to make money on their by-products.

You see, millions of animals are slaughtered every year in the U.S.  To just discard the leftovers makes no sense when a rendering plant can manufacture all sorts of by-products from the remains and make a huge profit.  The majority of what is processed at a rendering plant comes from slaughterhouses, but also includes restaurant grease, expired meat from grocery stores, the carcasses of euthanized and dead animals from animal shelters, zoos, veterinarians, and road kill scraped off the highway. This material can include the fatty tissue, bones, and offal, as well as entire carcasses of animals condemned at slaughterhouses, and those that have died on farms (deadstock), in transit, etc. The most common animal sources are beef, pork, sheep, and poultry. During the rendering process the fat is separated and processed, put into containers, and sold to the cosmetic industry as a base for their product.
A similar situation takes place with oil refineries.  There are numerous by-products produced from crude oil and sold off to cosmetic manufacturers for cleansing and disinfectant agents. While there are many safe alternative substances available that work far better, the large corporations refuse to change because there isn’t enough consumer demand yet and they aren’t willing to sacrifice profits to switch.

One of the worst practices going on in the industry deals with manufacturers using deceptive marketing tactics to actually fool consumers into thinking that their products are natural or that they will moisturize your skin.  Beware of bold words on the front of packaging claiming that products are made with “natural” ingredients or some exotic ingredient that will moisturize your skin.  This is usually just label hype! What manufacturers do is sprinkle a tiny dose of vitamins into a product or a small amount of Aloe Vera or other natural ingredient and then claim on their label that it is fortified with natural ingredients. The consumer then sees that and thinks they are getting a terrific product and in actuality, they have been scammed. That, I believe, is one of the worst dirty tricks of the trade occurring. This is all done to simply confuse and deceive consumers.

The best way to make a difference is to make a commitment to stop purchasing any products that could contain potentially toxic ingredients and animal fats. It’s time you became an informed consumer. Your health is worth it and so is your family’s. It’s time we turned off the spigot on this money machine that makes billions of dollars every year for international corporations that care more about the bottom line than putting out a high quality product that truly benefits consumers.  It’s time to stop polluting your body with chemical toxins that can endanger your health. It’s also time to stop bathing in dead animal fats.

Don’t Be Deceived By Antibacterial Soap!
In addition to everything I’ve just reported there are also some very serious health risks posed by the use of antibacterial soaps. Researchers have proven that antibacterial soaps are no more effective against germs than common soap.  Frequent hand washing is the real answer.  Ironically, the massive use of antibacterial soap is leading to stronger drug-resistant germs and mutated bacterial strains. According to Myron Genel, a chairman of the AMA’s Council on Scientific Affairs: “There’s no evidence that they do any good and there’s reason to suspect that they could contribute to a problem.”
The fact is antibacterial soap kills beneficial bacteria on the skin and it has the potential to also get into the body and cause harm.  Why is that a concern, you ask? Because not all bacteria is bad! Thanks in part to lies woven by big pharma and the medical community, many tend to think that all bacteria is bad and that we need to go to war against it by killing it off with antibiotics, chemicals, and antibacterial soap. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you were to examine your skin under a microscope you would find a variety of bacterial strains. Many of them work in synergy with your body to actually protect you in the environment and from the damaging effects of the sun. Researchers who have looked into the safety of antibacterial soap contend that the increased usage of it poses the risk of creating germs that are resistant to antibacterials and antibiotics.

When a doctor prescribes antibiotics, it is generally for a very short period of time and for a specific infection that won’t go away on its own.  Many doctors and scientists today are becoming increasingly concerned about the consequences of long-term use and abuse of antibiotics. It’s strange how manufacturer’s of cosmetic products and all the people using them don’t make the same association with antibacterial soaps that are now being used by billions around the world every day as though they are somehow being protected using them. It’s a huge lie!

In a memo to FDA advisory committee members the agency said, “A search of the medical literature did not reveal any studies that were able to demonstrate a link between the use of a specific consumer antiseptic and a reduction in infection rate…”

In an article that appeared in USA Today on 10/25/05, they quoted Tufts microbiologist Stuart Levy who was invited by the FDA to speak about anti-microbial resistance. Levy said, “There is no place for antibacterial chemical additives in the healthy household.”

The main antibacterial additive being used is triclosan in liquid soaps and triclocarban in hard soaps. Triclosan is a strong inhibitor of an enzyme present in many microorganisms. This enzyme is also “potentially important” as a target for new antibiotics, raising concerns that the use of triclosan may make these drugs ineffective. Conducting follow-up testing that closely mirrored typical dishwashing habits and conditions, researchers found that triclosan reacted with free chlorine to generate more than 50 parts per billion (ppb) of chloroform in the dishwater.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota reported as far back as 2003 that: “Sunlight can convert triclosan, a common disinfectant used in anti-bacterial soaps, into a form of dioxin, and this process may produce some of the dioxin found in the environment, according to research at the University of Minnesota. The researchers said that although the dioxin was a relatively benign form, treating wastewater with chlorine could possibly lead to the production of a much more toxic species of dioxin. The study is in press in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry.”

Triclocarban is a close cousin of tricolsan and is known to be just as toxic and dangerous.  In the book “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients” it says that, “In May 1983, it was revealed that tests for this soap ingredient (Triclocarban) were falsified and that rat deaths were not reported. The reasons for the deaths were not confirmed.”

Since your skin is your body’s largest organ, the antibiotic agent (s) can absorb into your body and adversely affect your immune system, lymphatic system, endocrine system, reproductive system, and neurological system. Is it worth the risks? Parents need to be especially concerned about using antibacterial soap with young children since they tend to always put their hands in their mouth.  If a child’s hands are regularly washed with antibacterial soap, their salivary glands can easily pick up these antibiotic chemicals and deliver them straight into the bloodstream while also killing off beneficial flora in the gut that functions as a major component of the immune system.

By now you may be feeling a bit frustrated and perhaps even angry.  My goal has not been to put fear into you. I want to simply identify the problems and then point you in the direction of some safer alternatives. If I have convinced you that there are definite risks with a majority of the personal care products on the market, then I urge you to go through your home or office with a fine tooth comb and identify the products you have that contain questionable ingredients. Make sure you read all product labels thoroughly.  If you can afford it, I would throw everything out. If money is a concern, use what you have and make a commitment to get the rights products when it’s time to replace them.

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