02 June 2008

so, anyway...

'tis but another one of those, "why do they do that" moments. not sure why i still have them at this point, but i do.

see, i got some fun streaky colors put on my hairs last week. me likey. the lovely stylist kicked me down some samples of a shampoo and conditioner for me to try that will make the color stay longer. i told her that a bunch of those products either make me sneeze or give me a head ache. i have an aversion to real perfume-i-licious stuff, historically. i got them home and gave 'em a sniff.

as bebe would say, "bleeeeeeeeeeeech."

good links
plan b.

luckily, there are alternatives.

all this got me thinking about a list that a friend of mine painstakingly compiled recently after doing some research. i had meant to pass it along earlier, but never did. now is the time. :) thank you, catherine!!!

i found myself reading through it after she sent it around the first time in what could amount to horror. i knew about some of the ingredients listed, but not many of the others. why they are even used in products that many use daily is beyond me. i also started wondering if my heavy use of such things for most of my life has contributed to the cancerous cells that i've battled on and off for years. or if they even contributed to that "rare" tumor i had removed last february... i do know my allergies miraculously disappeared when i started eating organic food years ago, but i digress.

what follows is a list of ingredients to be on the look out for (and why) - that are commonly used in personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, make-up, lotions, etc.

following that, i'll throw in some alternatives that i use (or have used) that i heart, so i'm not all doom and gloom about it. if you have any alternatives to share - bring it! also, since make-up kara is long gone, i can't really help there.

in kara land, if we support the companies that aren't putting potentially (and known to be) toxic junk in stuff we buy - the rest will follow suit. that's my story and i'm sticking to it. oh, yeah! these places don't test their stuff on animals, either. BONUS!

AMMONIUM LAURYL SULFATE: (see Sodium L, L, M Sulfate)
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) Synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives.
BUTYL CELLOSOLVE, and ISOBUTENE: (Fantastic, Windex, and Formula 409) A neurotoxin. Damages the central nervous system, kidney and liver. Listed as a pesticide.
CARMINE: (found in lipsticks, glosses blushes, and eye shadow) This extract from the carmine beetle in South America, has been connected to heart problems.
CETEARETH#: Used in cosmetics as an emulsifier and lotion. Dries out the skin and causes numerous allergic reactions. •Not safe for use on injured or damaged skin •Penetration enhancer - alters skin structure, allows other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin •May contain harmful impurities
DEA, MEA, and TEA: (on this list also under full names...may be listed as either way on product) Repeated use of these chemicals leads to a major increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancer. Restricted in Europe.
DIETHANOLAMINE: More commonly known by its abbreviation, DEA. One of many artificial detergents that may be contaminated with nitrosamines and should be avoided.
DIMETHICONE: Gives a smooth feel to a cosmetic cream or lotion. Various allergic reactions and internal problems make them questionable as cosmetic ingredients. Although they're still widely used, they should be avoided. Many herbal oils, such as vegetable glycerin, can easily replace this chemical.
DIMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DIAZOLIDINYL UREA: These are the most commonly used preservatives after the parabens. They are well established as a primary cause of contact dermatitis (American Academy of Dermatology). Two trade names for these chemicals are Germall II and Germall 115. Neither of the Germall chemicals has a good antifungal, and must be combined with other preservatives. Germall 115 releases formaldehyde at just over 10°. These chemicals are toxic.
DIOXIN: Lysol disinfectant. Carcinogen, 500,000 times more deadly than DDT Ethyl Alcohol.
DMDM Hydantoin & UREA: Preservatives that release FORMALDEHYDE into the body. Funeral directors are now saying that there is such a high concentration of formaldehyde present in the human body at death that they are using 50% LESS formaldehyde than they used to.
FD&C DYE: The synthetic colors used to supposedly make a cosmetic "pretty" should be avoided at all costs, along with hair dyes. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Synthetic colors are believed to be cancer-causing agents. If a cosmetic contains them, don't use it.
FRAGRANCE (including FRAGRANCE OILS: Synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are, since on the label it will simply say "Fragrance." Some of the problems caused by these chemicals are headaches, dizziness, rash, hyper pigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation by a cosmetic that has the word "Fragrance" on the ingredients label.
ISOBUTENE: (Gas used for shaving cream, mousse, etc) •Sensitizer - can instigate immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin •Irritation (eyes, skin, or lungs)
OXYNOL: Contamination concerns with ETHYLENE OXIDE, 1,4-DIOXANE Other moderate concerns for this ingredient: Persistence and bioaccumulation, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
PARABENS: Methyl and Propyl and Butyl and Ethyl Paraben — Used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend shelf life of products. Widely used even though they are known to be toxic. Have caused many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Methylparaben combines benzoic acid with the methyl group of chemicals. Highly toxic. Preservatives that deposit in the human system and disrupt normal enzyme activity.
PARRAFIN (see Petrolatum)
PEG-100 Stearate: One or more animal studies show skin irritation at very low doses.
PETROLATUM: Mineral oil jelly. Mineral oil causes a lot of problems when used on the skin photosensitivity (i.e., promotes sun damage), and it tends to interfere with the body's own natural moisturizing mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping. Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.
PHENOL CARBOLIC ACID: Strong evidence of human neurotoxicity. Banned in Canada and Japan.
PHENOXYETHANOL: Classified as an irritant.
POLYETHYLENE: Possible human immune system toxicant

PROPYLENE GLYCOL: Ideally this is a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol, both of which are natural. Usually it is a synthetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant. Has been known to cause allergic and toxic reactions.
PTHALATES: (Used in nail polish, fragrance other products) Extremely toxic chemicals that reduce fertility, harm the male reproductive system, and are especially dangerous to pregnant women's fetuses. Found in products by Proctor & Gamble, L'Oreal, Lever Brothers, Maybelline, Pond's, Colgate, Elizabeth Arden, Kraft, and Revlon.
PVP/VA Copolymer: A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, wavesets and other cosmetics. It can be considered toxic, since particles may contribute to foreign bodies in the lungs of sensitive persons.
QUATERNIUM 15: (DOVE, Johnson's Baby Shampoo) FORMALDEHYDE, a carcinogen.
SODIUM LAURYL (Laureth, Myreth) SULFATE: Industrial surfactants linked to cancer. Strip the scalp and skin of necessary oils, leaving it dry, itchy and flaky. Originally designed to clean floors and engines and now are found in 95% of shampoos and body cleansers. SLS causes irritation and infection in the genitals of young children, yet is the main ingredient in baby shampoos and bubble bath. Frequently disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the parenthetic explanation "comes from coconut."
STEARALKONIUM CHLORIDE: chemical used in hair conditioners and creams. Causes allergic reactions. Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener, and is a lot cheaper and easier to use in hair conditioning formulas than proteins or herbals, which do help hair health. Toxic.
TALC: (contained in baby powder, foot powder, pressed eye shadow and blush, and foundation) Linked to uterine cancer and respiratory problems in infants. Literally "suffocates" the skin.
TOULENE: Known human immune system toxicant. Human skin toxicant - strong evidence.
TRICLOSAN: (found in ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAPS) Registered as a PESTICIDE with the FDA, linked to cancer, a hormone disruptor.
TRIETHANOLAMINE: used in cosmetics to adjust the pH, used with fatty acids to convert acid to salt, which then becomes the base for a cleanser. TEA causes allergic reactions including eye problems, dryness of hair and skin. Toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time
UREA: (see DMDM Hydantoin)

*as for the goodies, it truly saddens me to know that so many people don't have the option to choose products that are healthier for them, all because of lack of funds. it just ain't right.*

i have to say, i heart this biz! i've ordered shampoo and soap bars from them for years. they work wonderfully. they also make bebe's shampoo/soap bar. they don't add in that nasty pain deadening agent found in "no tears" solutions. it's a mom and daughter outfit in iowa. they aren't "local" - but they are to me. in my heart. http://www.prairielandherbs.com/

aveda is a solid company - every product is plant based. there are a couple of aveda concept salons in town - but i'm partial to this one:

these folks are local: http://www.indigowild.com/

***cleaning products can also be tricksy and rife with toxic chemicals. here are a few suggestions for alternatives:***

http://www.mrsmeyers.com/ - we use the window cleaner

http://www.seventhgeneration.com/ - we use the laundry/dish soaps, fabric softener in the winter, paper towels, t.p., all purpose cleaner, etc. they are not petroleum based products, to boot!

this is cool, too - on our dish soap it says that if every household in the u.s. replaced one bottle of petroleum based dishwashing liquid with seventh generation's vegetable based product - we could save 81,000 barrels of oil.

but wait! there's more!

i make our sink scrub. i just got a tin shaker with a holed lid, and poured in baking soda. a few drops of lemon, orange or grapefruit oil mixed in makes a nose party. you can find essential oils at herb stores or whole foods.

and lastly - vinegar works just as well as bleach for disinfecting. lavender is also a natural disinfectant.

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