Are Your Personal Care Products Poisoning You?

By Cindy Kennedy | Hashimoto's Articles

Are your personal care products poisoning you?

Are your personal care products poisoning you?

There are many theories being bantered about these days as to why many illnesses such as cancer and autoimmune disease are on the rise. One that keeps rearing its ugly head over and over is exposure to chemicals. We know that there are many more chemicals in our modern day environment – everything from pesticides on our food to flame retardants in our carpets. But the real question is, which ones should we be worried about, and more importantly, which ones can we actually reduce our exposure to?

Today I’m going to talk about 3 chemicals that are commonly used in personal care products. From deodorants and body sprays to shampoos and hand sanitizers.

Although there are literally hundreds of dangerous chemicals out there, I’ve picked what I deem to be the big 3 – especially if you have some sort of endocrine dysfunction such as hypothyroidism.

So without further ado, here are the 3 main Endocrine Disruptors; Phthalates, Triclosan and Parabens, what they are, what they do, and where to find them so you can avoid them!

PHTHALATES

What are they?

  • Emulsifiers – to make liquids feel thick and creamy
  • Plasticizer – increase flexibility

What type of products are they used in?

  • Nail polish
  • Lotions
  • Fragrances
  • Hair products
  • Deodorants
  • Soaps & body washes

What health problems have they been linked to?

  • Thyroid disorders, including in children (Wu, Wu, Chen, Chen, Chen, Shiea, & Wu, 2013)
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Some cancers
  • Precocious puberty
  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
  • Premature ovarian failure (Costa, Spritzer, Hohl, & Bachega, 2014)
  • Lowered intelligence in children (Li, Tang, Hang, Cheng, Gao, Cheng, & Cui, 2013)
  • Endocrine cancers
  • Endocrine Disruptors
    • Affect thyroid, gonads, adrenals
  • Females:
    • Early puberty
    • Endometriosis
  • Males:
    • Abnormalities of the reproductive organs
    • Cryptorchidism (non-descending testes)
    • Hypospadia
    • Shortened anogenital distance
    • Malformation of the seminal vesicles, prostate and epididymis (Bajkin, Bjelica, Icin, Dobrić, Zavisić, & Stojanoska, 2014)

What are they commonly labelled as?

  • Fragrance
  • Parfum

TRICLOSAN

What is it?

  • Anti-bacterial agent
  • Preservative
  • Deodorizer

What type of products is it used in?

  • Toothpaste
  • Soap & body wash
  • Hand sanitizers

What health problems has it been linked to?

  • Inhibits uptake of iodide by the sodium-iodide symporter in the thyroid gland (Wu, Beland, & Fang, 2016)
  • Oestrogenic & Androgenic (Gee, Charles, Taylor, & Darbre, 2008)
  • May contribute to antibiotic resistance
  • Allergies
  • Immune dysfunction (Bray, 2016)

What is it commonly labelled as?

  • Triclosan
  • Triclocarban
  • 2,4,4′-TRICHLORO-2′-HYDROXY DIPHENYL ETHER
  • 5-CHLORO-2- (2,4-DICHLOROPHENOXY) – PHENOL
  • 5-CHLORO-2- (2,4-DICHLOROPHENOXY) PHENOL
  • PHENOL, 5-CHLORO-2- (2,4-DICHLOROPHENOXY) –
  • PHENOL, 5CHLORO2 (2,4DICHLOROPHENOXY)
  • 2,4,4′-TRICHLORO-2′-HYDROXYDIPHENYL ETHER
  • 5-CHLORO-2- (2,4-DICHLOROPHENOXY) PHENOL
  • CH 3565; IRGASAN
  • IRGASAN DP300
  • PHENOL, 5-CHLORO-2- (2,4-DICHLOROPHENOXY) – (Environmental Working Group. 2016b)

PARABENS

What are they?

  • Anti-microbial preservative

What health problems have they been linked to?

  • Endocrine disruptors (Bray, 2016)
  • Oestrogenic
  • Frequently found in breast tumors (Darbre, Aljarrah, Miller, Coldham, Sauer, & Pope, 2004)
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction (Soni, Burdock, Taylor, & Greenberg, 2001)
  • Decreased testosterone in males (Oishi, 2002)

What type of products are they used in?

  • Hair care products
  • Soap & body wash
  • Lotions
  • Facial cleansers

What are they commonly labelled as?

Isopropylparaben

  • 1-METHYLETHYL ESTER 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID
  • 1-METHYLETHYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-
  • 1-METHYLETHYL ESTER SODIUM SALT BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY
  • 1-METHYLETHYL-4-HYDROXYBENZOATE
  • 4-HYDROXY- 1-METHYLETHYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, 1-METHYLETHYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY, 1-METHYLETHYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, 1-METHYLETHYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, 1METHYLETHYL ESTER
  • ISOPROPYL 4-HYDROXYBENZOATE
  • ISOPROPYL ESTER PARAHYDROXYBENZOATE

Methylparaben

  • 4-HYDROXY- METHYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, METHYL ESTER
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, METHYL ESTER, POTASSIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, METHYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, METHYL ESTER, POTASSIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, METHYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, METHYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, METHYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • METHYL 4-HYDROXYBENZOATE
  • METHYL ESTER 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID
  • METHYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-

Propylparaben

  • 4-HYDROXY- PROPYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, PROPYL ESTER
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, PROPYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, PROPYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, PROPYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, PROPYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, PROPYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • POLYPARABEN
  • POTASSIUM PROPYLPARABEN
  • POTASSIUM SALT PROPYLPARABEN
  • PROPYL 4-HYDROXYBENZOATE

Butylparaben

  • 4-HYDROXY- BUTYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, BUTYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, BUTYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, BUTYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, BUTYL ESTER
  • BUTYL 4-HYDROXYBENZOATE; BUTYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-
  • BUTYL ESTER SODIUM SALT 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID
  • BUTYL ESTER SODIUM SALT BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-
  • BUTYL P-HYDROXY BENZOATE
  • BUTYL P-HYDROXYBENZOATE

Ethylparaben

  • 4-HYDROXY- ETHYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, ETHYL ESTER
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, ETHYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, ETHYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, ETHYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, ETHYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, ETHYL ESTER, SODIUM SALT
  • ETHYL 4-HYDROXYBENZOATE
  • ETHYL ESTER 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID
  • ETHYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-
  • ETHYL ESTER SODIUM SALT 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID

Isobutylparaben

  • 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID
  • 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-
  • 4-HYDROXY- 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER BENZOIC ACID
  • 4-HYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4-HYDROXY-, 2-METHYLPROPYL ESTER
  • BENZOIC ACID, 4HYDROXY, 2METHYLPROPYL ESTER
  • ISOBUTYL 4-HYDROXYBENZOATE
  • ISOBUTYL ESTER PARAHYDROXYBENZOIC ACID
  • ISOBUTYL P-HYDROXYBENZOATE
  • ISOBUTYL PARAHYDROXYBENZOATE
  • PARAHYDROXYBENZOIC ACID, ISOBUTYL ESTER (Environmental Working Group. 2016a)

So what can you do about it?

Just as you do with your food, start reading labels. If it lists fragrance or parfum, chances are it contains phthalates. Look for products that are scented with essential oils instead. Many paraben-free products now state it on the label, and watch out for triclosan in your anti-bacterial products.

If you are feeling really keen, you can even make your own soaps, deodorants and toothpastes.

Otherwise, the Environmental Working Group has a fantastic website called Skin Deep where you can look up your products, or even list the ingredients of your favourite one, and get a rating of its toxic profile.

References

  • Bajkin, I., Bjelica, A., Icin, T., Dobrić, V., Zavisić, B. K., & Stojanoska, M. M. (2014). Effects of phthalic acid esters on fetal health. Medicinski Pregled, 67(5-6), 172–175.
  • Boberg, J., Taxvig, C., Christiansen, S., & Hass, U. (2010). Possible endocrine disrupting effects of parabens and their metabolites. Reproductive Toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.), 30(2), 301–312.
  • Bray, K. 2016. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals. Choice: Marrickville. Retrieved from:https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/beauty-and-personal-care/skin-care-and-cosmetics/articles/endocrine-disrupting-chemicals
  • Costa, E. M. F., Spritzer, P. M., Hohl, A., & Bachega, T. A. S. S. (2014). Effects of endocrine disruptors in the development of the female reproductive tract. Arquivos Brasileiros De Endocrinologia E Metabologia, 58(2), 153–161.
  • Darbre, P. D., Aljarrah, A., Miller, W. R., Coldham, N. G., Sauer, M. J., & Pope, G. S. (2004). Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. Journal of Applied Toxicology: JAT, 24(1), 5–13.
  • Environmental Working Group. 2016a. Isopropylparaben. Retrieved from: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/search.php?query=paraben
  • Environmental Working Group. 2016b. Triclosan. Retrieved from: From <http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706623/TRICLOSAN/>
  • Gee, R. H., Charles, A., Taylor, N., & Darbre, P. D. (2008). Oestrogenic and androgenic activity of triclosan in breast cancer cells. Journal of Applied Toxicology: JAT, 28(1), 78–91. http://doi.org/10.1002/jat.1316
  • Li, A., Tang, C., Hang, H., Cheng, X., Gao, Y., Cheng, H., … Cui, L. (2013). [Influence of phthalates from Shaying river on children’s intelligence and secretion of thyroid hormone]. Wei Sheng Yan Jiu = Journal of Hygiene Research, 42(2), 236–240.
  • Oishi, S. (2002). Effects of propyl paraben on the male reproductive system. Food and Chemical Toxicology: An International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 40(12), 1807–1813.
  • Soni, M. G., Burdock, G. A., Taylor, S. L., & Greenberg, N. A. (2001). Safety assessment of propyl paraben: a review of the published literature. Food and Chemical Toxicology: An International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 39(6), 513–532.
  • Wu, M.-T., Wu, C.-F., Chen, B.-H., Chen, E. K., Chen, Y.-L., Shiea, J., … Wu, J.-R. (2013). Intake of phthalate-tainted foods alters thyroid functions in Taiwanese children. PloS One, 8(1), e55005. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055005
  • Wu, Y., Beland, F. A., & Fang, J.-L. (2016). Effect of triclosan, triclocarban, 2,2’,4,4’-tetrabromodiphenyl ether, and bisphenol A on the iodide uptake, thyroid peroxidase activity, and expression of genes involved in thyroid hormone synthesis. Toxicology in Vitro: An International Journal Published in Association with BIBRA, 32, 310–319. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tiv.2016.01.014
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About the Author

Cindy Kennedy is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner & Clinical Herbalist who lives and breathes Hashimoto’s on a personal and professional level. Her true passion lies in turning gluten and dairy-free living from a restricted diet into a delicious and abundant family-friendly lifestyle.