The average American is exposed to more than 100 chemicals from cosmetics, soaps, and other personal care items before leaving the house in the morning, according to Harvard's School of Public Health.
How can we tell which chemicals are hazardous and which ones are safe?
Although these goods' labeling may present them as safe, their chemical components are primarily untested and controlled, and some formulations still contain known carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting substances.
Fortunately, there are several websites and applications that let you look up the names of substances and items that could be bad for the short- and long-term health of you and your family.
The list of frequent dangerous substances in everyday items is condensed here, along with suggestions for safer substitutes.
Fragrance formulae are classified as "trade secrets" under federal law and are protected from disclosure. Companies effectively utilize the term "fragrance" through this loophole to avoid disclosing the hundreds of potentially dangerous chemical compounds in their product.
Allergies, hormone disruption, and cancer can all be brought on by prolonged exposure.
You are better off using fragrance-free products or those that use herb extracts and essential oils as alternatives to these fragrances.
Talc in Makeup and Powders
Some cosmetic products, pressed or loose powders, and body powder include talc. It is banned in Europe, and anything outlawed anywhere in the globe should raise some red flags.
Long-term exposure can result in cancer, serious breathing issues, and lung inflammation.
You can consider alternatives with rice, tapioca, or corn starch.
Lead in Lipsticks
Other heavy metals, including chromium, cadmium, aluminum, manganese, AND lead, have also been found in lipstick. Even though the amount is small, the cumulative and long-term exposure adds up. Especially chemicals like lead can build up in the body.
Long-term exposure can cause fertility issues, hormone disruption, and neurotoxicity, contributing to learning and behavioral problems.
As an alternative, you can use lipsticks that use plant-based waxes such as candelilla or carnauba wax.
Formaldehyde in Various Products
Formaldehyde is a result of mixing many different preservatives, not something that is added directly to goods. Chemicals like bronopol, quaternium-15, and diazolidinyl urea break down and produce formaldehyde. Because of it, leukemia, pancreatic, and skin cancer are all connected to long-term exposure.
Look for products that use proteins such as sericin and keratin instead. There are also those that use food extracts like lemon, green tea, and honey as preservatives instead of formaldehyde.
Ammonia in House Cleaners
Both packaged hair color and home cleansers include ammonia. This is one of the most typical harmful home chemicals that is corrosive, unpleasant, and may be identified by its strong odor. When used in close proximity, ammonia fumes instantly irritate the nose, lungs, and throat.
The cardiovascular system and mucosal membranes may be harmed by prolonged exposure.
Go for cleaners that use a vinegar base instead of ammonia.
Sodium Lauryl (Ether) Sulfate in Body Wash and Shampoos
One of the most prevalent potentially harmful compounds in skincare is SLS and SLES, frequently used in products like face/body wash and shampoos. This added ingredient improves a product's spreading and wetting capabilities, making them foam and lather. Both are regarded as irritants and can produce carcinogens when combined with other compounds.
You can go for natural herb bars or brands that use jujube bark extract for a lather instead.
There are several dangerous substances in the cleaning and cosmetic products we use daily. Some of these substances can cause cancer, while others can cause skin irritation and allergies. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of these substances and avoid using products containing them.
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