Butylatedhydroxy Anisole-Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Often referred to as BHA and BHT. Synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.
Coal Tar Dyes (C.I. followed by 5-digit number)
Coal Tar is a human carcinogen. The dye, produced from the coal tar (or synthetically) can potentially cause cancer. The colours may also be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals which are toxic to the brain.
Surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.
Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others)
A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.
Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives
Used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
A class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Easily penetrate the skin, a Category 1 priority substance, that interferes with hormone function. Can mimic estrogen and is detected in human breast cancer tissues. May also interfere with male reproductive functions. Methylparaben applied to skin reacts with UVB and increases the rate of skin aging and DNA damage.
Synthetic flavor or fragrance
Complex mixture of dozens of chemicals (about 3000!). Most not tested for toxicity and many of these unlisted ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma. Some of these ingredients, like DEP, are hormone disruptors or can cause liver and kidney failure in young kids if ingested in large amounts.
PEG Compounds (Polyethylene glyocols)
Petroleum-based compounds. May be contaminated with detectable amounts of ethylene oxide (EO) or 1,4-dioxane, with the former being a known carcinogen and the latter a possible carcinogen. EO can also harm the nervous system. Because purifying PEG Compounds of these two contaminants cannot be ensured, consumers are at risk of exposure to these substances. There is also evidence of PEG’s being able to cause DNA damage.
This petroleum product can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which, upon long term exposure, can cause cancer.
Siloxanes (silicone-based compounds, i.e. Dimethicone)
D4 and D5 siloxanes are toxic, persistent, and can bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms. D4 has also been show to interfere with human hormone function. High exposure to D5 has also been shown to cause uterine tumours and harm the reproductive system and immune system.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES)
SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
Triclosan and Triclocarban
Antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
A chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.