There are 80,000 synthetic chemicals currently registered by the EPA being used today in a variety of consumer goods. (1) Only a handful of these potential environmental toxins have been tested adequately for safety. Exposure to toxins can come in many different methods including the air we breath, the food we eat, the buildings we live and work in, pesticides and the vast array of consumer products we use everyday.
Perhaps one of the most common methods of exposure is through our personal care items such as hair care products, skin care products, many cosmetics as well as fragrances we love to spray all over before we go out. The average adult uses nine cosmetic products in a day; this is the equivalent of 126 to 170 synthetic chemicals being applied to the body in ONE day. There are around 10,500 synthetic chemicals being used today in our cosmetics and personal care items. (3) Only about 10 percent of these chemicals have been tested, while the other 90 percent have not been tested or evaluated by any publicly accountable institution.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety has identified 900 personal care ingredients to have toxic effects. (4) The European Union has banned and prohibited the use of 1,100 synthetic chemicals to be used in cosmetics that are known or suspected of having carcinogens, mutagens, or reproductive toxicants, while neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by the FDA before they are sold to the public in the United States. Meanwhile the FDA has banned only 9 synthetic chemicals for use in consumer products!
There are very few regulations placed on manufactures regarding the ingredients used in their products. It is up to manufactures to decide which safety and efficacy test to perform on ingredients and the finished products. Companies are not legally obligated to submit safety data on their product formulas before they are sent out to the shelves for consumers to buy. Under current law raw ingredients used are not subject to any kind of safety review or approval process before use. Manufacturers also are not required to test ingredients for contamination even though many common personal care ingredients contain hazardous contaminants. Only after the public reports an injury or a problem will investigations begin on products and their ingredients and this is a very timely process.
The most problematic illnesses and disorders caused by the ingredients in personal care products typically take years to manifest themselves because of chronic exposure. It is very difficult to investigate the link between cosmetic ingredients we suspect to cause these illnesses and disorders. No clear cause and effect relationship between the products and the disease can be definitively shown to exist because too much time has passed between exposure and the end result. To many years are needed for low doses of a given chemical to do their dirty work.
Studies have shown there can be anywhere from 400 to 800 toxic materials stored in our bodies at a given time. Major organs that can be affected by this accumulation of toxic materials are the liver, kidneys, brain, and some of our glands such as the adrenals and thyroid. (2) Other common diseases associated with body toxins are nutritional deficiencies, brain chemistry damages, imbalance of hormones, autoimmune deficiency, enzyme dysfunction, neurological disorder and chronic disorders just to name a few. Over long periods of time we are exposed to myriad of toxins and very little is known about the accumulative effect of these toxins and chemicals on the human body. All we do know is that many disorders and problems are starting to become epidemics in our society.
Health issues are on the rise in a drastic way and children have been affected even more so than adults by the exposure of toxins. Children’s exposure begins at conception, chemicals cross the placenta in a pregnant woman’s body affecting the embryo or fetus during critical periods of development. Studies of the umbilical cords of newborns revealed the presence of approximately 100 synthetic chemicals. Children’s bodies are immature, with underdeveloped detoxification mechanisms and immune systems to protect them from toxins such as phthalates making them more susceptible to the affects of synthetic chemicals. Adolescents have also been found to have high levels of phthalates from personal care products. (5) Phthalates are just one example of a multitude of chemicals and toxins that adults and children are exposed to on a daily basis.
Toxins such as phthalates can cause major problems, they have been linked to cancer, developmental delays, birth defects, asthma as well as being an endocrine disruptor, and to top it off there are major environmental concerns. Meanwhile an estimated 11 billion pounds per year of phthalates are produced throughout the world despite having this knowledge. Phthalates are banned by the European Union yet not much federal action has taken place in the United States. Other major toxins in our consumer products to be aware of are Acetone, Synthetic colors and fragrances, Diethanolamine (DEA), 1,4-Dioxane (a contaminate), Ethanol, Ethyl Methacrylate (in fragrances), Formaldehyde, Lead Acetate, Mercury, Nitrosamines (a contaminate), Parabens (a preservative), Petrochemicals, P-Phenylenedeamine (in hair colors), Propylene Glycol, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Silica, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Triethanolamine (TEA), Toluene and Triclosan. These are some of the chemicals to really avoid, but the less exposure to any synthetic chemicals the better.
Degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and Osteoporosis, just to name a few, have continued to increase despite our advances in medical technologies. How can these diseases continue to rise when our advances in science keep getting better and better? The only answer that makes sense is we are not getting to the route of the problem; we are merely putting a band-aid on the symptom. Degenerative is defined as illness marked by gradual deterioration of organs and cells along with loss of function. Gradual deterioration is the key phrase, gradual meaning developing slowly by steps or degrees. These diseases begin to form long before the actual symptoms occur. The answer lies within the way we are living, what are we doing day to day that is causing these problems? We must change our lifestyles to a more natural chemical free way not only for us but also for our planet and future generations.
Toxins such as phthalates, dioxins, synthetic fragrances and colors, parabens, DEA, TEA and others are beginning to be linked to many health issues ranging from cancer to organ system toxicity to birth defects. The human body is designed to handle a small amount of toxins. It can intake a small amount, filter them through the system and excrete the toxin. As mention earlier there are different methods in which we are exposed to toxins, our bodies are becoming overwhelmed and simply cannot handle the high levels of exposure. Therefore the body becomes sick and begins to break down.
It is impossible to completely avoid exposure to synthetic chemicals but there are things a person can do to keep their exposure to a minimum. Using fewer products that contain synthetic chemicals, avoiding heavy scented products, buying organic products whenever possible, reading product labels and becoming familiar with common synthetic ingredients to avoid are a few steps to take in limiting exposure. There are consumer products out on the market that focus on using natural and organic ingredients. At BTrue Naturals we have created strict guidelines to follow when choosing companies and their products to insure you are getting safe and effective products.
To stay as healthy as you can use natural personal care products, natural cleaning products, eat organic, unprocessed foods, exercise and educate yourself and your family about the importance of avoiding chemicals and toxins. You can check the campaign for safe cosmetics website at safecosmetic.org to see if your favorite products are safe choices.
We need to start getting to the route of what is causing these diseases and illnesses. Taking the steps mentioned above to avoid toxins is a start in the right direction to keep you from chronic exposure. Focusing on prevention and limiting exposure can help from major issues arising and possibly becoming life threatening. Your body is all you have in this life so take care of it!
(1)Morrison, Blake; Heath, Brad; Jervis, Rick. “Young students often most vulnerable to toxic air”. USA Today 22 December 2008. < http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2008-12-21-youngkids_N.htm>
(2)”Most Common Toxic Materials & Their Effect in Our Body”.