Reported in the latest paper on Recognition of MCS, the commissioner of Social Security Administration said on Oct. 31 2007 that SSA recognized MCS a medical determinable impairment. He said this in a legal memo submitted to a federal court that had demanded a clear statement of SSA's position on the subject. For a copy of the legal memo, send a SASE to MCS R&R. To order the whole recognition paper (now 23 pages) call: Albert Donnay, MHS, Exec. Director, MCS Referral & Resources, Inc. 508 Westgate Road, Baltimore MD 21229-2343. Phone:410-362-6400, Fax:410- 362-6401, ==========================================================================
Disability and Fragrance in the Workplace. "The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued an administrative decision . . . that upholds MCS as a disability and states that a fragrance free workplace is not an accommodation that can be simply dismissed as unreasonable." Our Toxic Times, Volume 12, Number 5 Issue Number 131, May 2001. Chemical Injury Information Network Newsletter.


When you use "perfume" you are using powerful chemicals regulated by the industry that sells them. They may not affect you now, but it doesn’t mean they won’t affect someone next to you. The chemicals go directly into the blood stream when applied to the skin, and absorbed into the skin from clothing. Inhaled chemical fumes go straight to our brains where they can do major harm, and many of these chemical fumes have a “narcotic” effect.

Contact Dr. Raymond Singer, Ph.D.
Our mission:To provide the highest quality clinical and forensic services for the evaluation and diagnoses of neurobehavioral, neuropsychological and neurotoxic illness from chemicals, injuries and drugs.
Our experience: Evaluating neurobehavioral function and the effects of toxic chemicals, drugs and substances (neurotoxic agents) on the nervous system since 1979; serving the Courts (federal, state and administrative) as a forensic expert witness in both civil and criminal matters since 1983.
Symptoms of neurotoxicity: Toxic chemicals can damage the nervous system and brain. Such chemicals are neurotoxic. A person may or may not be aware of neurotoxic damage when it occurs. =============================================================================
An Overview of MCS by Cynthia Wilson

Back when doctors believed their patients and before psychosomatic illness and stress became a catch-all for illnesses doctors couldn't diagnose, there is evidence to suggest that doctors were diagnosing chemical sensitivities as vapors. Vapors were described as an exhalation of bodily organs held to affect the physical and/or mental condition or as a depressed or hysterical nervous condition. Then in the early 1950's, Theron Randolph, M.D., recognized that people were getting sick from their environment, hence the original name Environmental Illness. Read at


Saturday, 16 August 2008

Natural Consumer Products Found Contaminated with Cancer-Causing 1,4-Dioxane in Groundbreaking Analysis Released by OCA

A cancer-causing compound called 1,4-dioxane has been found in some of the most commonly used petroleum-based cosmetics by a study commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association, including products from Kiss My Face, Nutribiotic, Jason, Ecover, Citrus Magic, 365, Alba, Lifetree, Giovanni, Seventh Generation, Method, Earth Friendly Products, Sea-Chi Organics and many other brands . 1,4-dioxane (often just called dioxane) is a clear, colorless, organic compound that's a liquid at room temperature and is a known human carcinogen.

Fragrances in Common Household Products Contain Many Toxins

(NaturalNews) Every day, we all try hard to do what is best for ourselves and our families, so it is very disconcerting and worrisome when we discover that everyday products such as laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, soaps and cosmetics, air sanitizers and sprays, etc. contain carcinogenic chemicals and harmful substances.

According to a study that was posted on the Environmental Impact Assessment Review and reported by CBS, there are many different kinds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in laundry detergents, air fresheners (in solid, spray and oil form), dryer sheets, and fabric softener. VOCs are small substances that evaporate into the air.

The study worked by isolating the products in a designated area in the laboratory at room temperature. By using mass spectrometry and gas chromatography, the investigator, Anne C. Steinemann �- who was prompted to conduct the study because of the 200 complaints she received about such common products -� was able to evaluate the amount of VOCs in the air. With an arbitrarily selected ceiling number of 300 micrograms, Steinemann was able to detect 100 VOCs in the air at the ceiling number. This is important because the threshold that she set was selected because it is the level at which it is considered dangerous to have VOC levels in that high range. She was able to identify some of the VOCs, discovering that 10 of those that she found were considered toxic under the U.S. federal law. Furthermore, three out of ten of the VOCs were considered air pollutants: acetaldehyde, chloromethane, and 1,4 dioxane.

Fragrances May Emit Potential Toxins

Study Shows Fragranced Products Emit Chemicals Considered Hazardous; Industry Says Products Are Safe
By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News

Fragranced laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals, including some regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal law, according to a new study.

Yet none of the potentially toxic chemicals is listed on the product labels, according to researcher Anne C. Steinemann, PhD, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and public affairs at the University of Washington, Seattle. She says consumers should be given more information about such products.

"I didn't find a brand that didn't emit at least one toxic chemical," says Steinemann, who analyzed six different products.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Tell the FDA to make sunscreens safe!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has promised sunscreen safety standards since 1978. Last year, they finally wrote a draft, but the process has stalled. We're still waiting.

Send an email to Dr. Jeff Shuren, who heads up the sunscreen standard process, and tell him you want safe sunscreen--and you don't want to wait another 30 years.

Sign the petition at environmental working group

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Our Stolen Future
The science of sperm count declines

Humans are exposed quite commonly to substances, such as phthalates and dioxin, that are known to cause sperm count declines in experimental animals. Data from the CDC released in September 2000 indicate that within the US one of the subpopulations with highest exposures may be women of child-bearing age. The mixture of exposures varies significantly among areas and demographic groups.

Serious epidemiological work on phthalates is now underway. Studies published in 2003 link phthalate levels to DNA damage in sperm and to sub-optimal sperm characteristics (sperm count, mobility and deformity). Other links to low sperm count are also being found, including exposures to certain PCB congeners and to maternal smoking during pregnancy.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Don't think dads use cosmetics? Think again. Traditional Father's Day gifts like aftershave and cologne are cosmetics, and just like personal care products marketed to women and kids, men's products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or any other government agency. As a result, they often contain chemicals linked to serious health problems. Look, for example, at safety ratings for men's fragrances and aftershaves, including well-known brands Calvin Klein, Burberry and Stetson.

It's perfectly legal for many of the products men use daily to contain chemicals with health risks, chemicals that have never been tested for safety, or chemicals that are not on product labels. Not on the Father's Day gift list, but still in men's bathrooms:

• Just for Men hair color gel for facial hair contains P-phenylenediamine, which even the industry-funded Cosmetics Ingredient Review board – a panel that's allowed to make safety determinations because the FDA isn't – classifies as a known skin toxicant, and yet also finds the ingredient safe to use in cosmetics.

• Everyday products like Gillette shave gel and Head & Shoulders shampoo contain ingredients linked to cancer, hormone disruption and nervous system effects.

It's time for Congress to empower the FDA to regulate the cosmetics industry so that products marketed to dads (and everyone else) are free of unsafe and untested ingredients. We want this $50 billion cosmetics industry to be honest about what's in products, and required to make products safe before they hit store shelves.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Friday, 2 May 2008

Suit accuses cosmetic makers of organic ruse

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A long-simmering dispute over the definition of organic personal care products boiled over into court Monday, when Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps filed a lawsuit charging many of its competitors with deceptively marketing their soaps and lotions.

The lawsuit - filed in San Francisco Superior Court - targeted many widely known cosmetic manufacturers including Estee Lauder, Kiss My Face, Hain Celestial and Stella McCartney America. It also named smaller firms such as Mill Valley-based Juice Beauty.

In the suit, Dr. Bronner's accused the firms of false advertising by labeling products "organic" that contain relatively little organic material, that contain synthetic chemicals, or that use petrochemicals in processing.

"This is the corrosive marketing of the cosmetics industry that hollowed out the meaning of 'natural' and now is doing the same with 'organic'," said David Bronner, president of the 60-year-old company.

The lawsuit is evidence of the growing clout of green consumers, particularly in the arena of personal care products. Sales of natural body care products grew from $499 million in 2004 to $685 million in 2006 - an increase of 37 percent, according to the consumer products research firm Mintel.

Chasing consumers

Both large and small companies have been wooing eco-minded consumers, with big corporations including Estee Lauder acquiring brands such as Aveda that market themselves as natural or organic.

At the same time, though, there are no federal regulations governing either natural or organic personal care products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets strict standards for organic food. But it doesn't have a similar standard for soaps, shampoos and cosmetics.

Some firms like Dr. Bronner's have voluntarily adopted the USDA's organic food standard for their body care products, which requires that 95 percent of the ingredients be organic if a product is to call itself organic.

Some other firms like Juice Beauty adhere to California's standard for organic body care products, which is less demanding than the USDA food standard.

And still other firms simply label their body care products organic without trying to meet any external guidelines.

Voluntary standards

"Companies are all over the board with what the word organic means," said Stacy Malkan, the Berkeley author of "Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry."

For several years, cosmetic companies and consumer groups have started trying to sort things out by coming up with voluntary standards.

But they haven't managed to reach a consensus. A nonprofit standard-setting group called NSF International released draft rules for organic personal care products in January. Then in March, 30 cosmetic companies, including Estee Lauder's Aveda, came out with their own set of rules called Organic and Sustainability Industry Standards (OASIS).

"This particular industry seems incapable of coming to any agreement about it," said Ann Blake, an environmental consultant in Alameda.

In Monday's lawsuit, Dr. Bronner's accused OASIS as well as 10 individual companies of misleading consumers by watering down the term organic.

Who decides what's organic?

Among the issues raised in the suit are whether organic personal care products must contain a certain percentage of organic ingredients, whether they may contain petrochemicals and whether they may contain synthetic preservatives.

An OASIS spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit because she hadn't yet seen it, but denied trying to mislead anyone.

Meanwhile, some companies questioned Dr. Bronner's right to define organic.

"We meet the standards of the California Organic Products Act, which is the only regulation in place for organic skin care," said Karen Behnke of Juice Beauty. "The last we know, Bronner was not appointed by any government agency to set a standard. I'm not sure why we would have to follow a standard set by him."

For now, it's unclear how or when a clear definition of organic body care products will emerge for consumers to rely upon.

It's possible that a new administration in Washington might take a more active role in setting organic standards. Or one of the competing industry efforts at standard-setting may win out.

Or - with the Dr. Bronner's lawsuit - the courts may end up deciding what constitutes an organic soap or skin lotion.

"The question that needs to be answered," said Malkan, "is, 'How organic is "organic" going to be?' It will be interesting to see how this plays out."

For more information

To read a copy of Dr. Bronner's lawsuit over organic labeling of personal care products, see

For information on OASIS, a new organic standard for personal care products that is criticized in the lawsuit, see

Another proposed standard for organic body care products, by NSF International, is at

The Organic Consumers Association has a list of personal care product companies that meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture's existing organic standards for food at

Source: Chronicle research

E-mail Ilana DeBare at

Don't water down standards for organic cosmetics & bodycare products!


Promoting Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards

The OASIS seal

  • provides assurance to the consumer of credible value
    for Organic and Sustainable claims.
  • tells buyers throughout the world that your product has met
    the highest international Standard for the Health and Beauty industry.

OASIS stands for "Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards".

It is a 501(c)6 Mutual Benefit Trade Association designed to represent the concerns and goals of companies that make sustainable and organic products for the health and beauty industry.

Organic SealOASIS announces the first organic standard for the US beauty and personal care market, bringing clarity to consumer confusion around organic product claims - with a certification seal that will become the internationally accepted seal representing verified Organic standards for personal care. The only "industry consensus" standard with the support of 30 founding members.

According to Nutrition Business Journal, the organic beauty and personal care industry has been growing rapidly, at 15% for the past 15 years. At the end of 2007, US sales of organic personal care products approached $9 billion representing approximately 15% of the personal care market.

As more and more products claim to be ‘organic’, the potential for consumer confusion also rises. This is compounded by the existence of disparate regulatory seals in the marketplace.

OASIS is an industry consensus standard, the result of a deeply committed group of people – suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, etc. – working to set standards and clarity in the dynamic and fast-growing field of organic beauty and personal care products. Its members range from large, global brands and private label manufactures to smaller, specialty brands and raw ingredient suppliers.

Until today, the USA has not had a dedicated organic standard for the beauty and personal care industry. In absence of a true industry standard, companies attempted to apply the USDA NOP (National Organic Program) Organic food standard for beauty and personal care ingredients and products. But the USDA’s food standards were never designed for this industry, and limit certain types of "green chemistry" posing significant challenges for those seeking to create certified organic products.

ECOCERT is the current prevailing European standard and certification is predicated on a minimum of 10% certified organic content. At launch time, OASIS will require 85% certified organic content - which will likely increase as "green chemistry" continues to evolve.

OASIS has benefited from their experience with ECOCERT and USDA-NOP and aims to improve standards to the benefit of the manufacturer, the consumer, and, most importantly, to our living planet Earth with Global standardization of the organic and sustainable beauty and personal care industry an end goal. OASIS will take an active roll in the development of an industry standards at the international level.

The Organic Standard is the first of several standards (i.e., packaging) that OASIS plans to create to support and protect organic and sustainable consumer goods.

OASIS will bring credibility to the current chaos in the organic beauty and personal care industry. Look for the OASIS Organic seal - your assurance of a verifiable, Certified Organic personal care product.

Friday, 18 April 2008

The Health Risks of Perfume

(and Other Scented Products)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

ask EWG: what is "fragrance"

A study by one of our founding members revealed that one third of cosmetic products on the market contain chemicals that are linked to cancer.

Of the more than 10,000 chemical ingredients in personal care products, 89 percent have not undergone safety testing.

On average, American women use 12 personal care products a day, and men average six products daily. That means an adult is likely to be exposed DAILY to 126 unique chemical ingredients in personal care products alone.

We know that the skin is not a solid barrier – it's a penetrable organ that can easily absorb chemicals, especially with repeat exposure. Derman absorbtion is commonly used to transmit chemicals to the bloodstream, notably with nicotine and birth control patches.

Toxic chemicals find their way into our bodies, our breast milk and our children. And diseases linked to synthetic chemicals – including breast cancer, testicular cancer and reproductive problems – are on the rise.
In response to pressure from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, some of the world's largest cosmetics companies, including Revlon and L'Oreal, agreed to globally reformulate their products when they work to meet European Union safety standards, which ban many carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins from cosmetics and other personal care products. In addition, 600 companies have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a pledge to phase out EU-banned chemicals and other chemicals of concern and replace them with safer alternatives.

These are great steps forward, but there is much more to be done. We need the support of organizations like yours to ensure that all the products we use on our bodies and our children's bodies, and that we release back into the environment, are safe.

Please show your support by endorsing the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Platform. We look forward to exploring other ways that we can work together moving forward!

Thank you, and we look forward to working with you on this important campaign!

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Platform

We call on all manufacturers of personal care products and cosmetics to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, and thereby agree to the following:

* Meet the standards and deadlines set by the European Union Cosmetics Directive.

* Agree to make safe, non-toxic, reformulated products readily available in every market they serve – both domestically and globally.

* Complete an inventory of potential chemicals of concern in products (or by-products) to determine their toxicity to living things, their persistence in the environment, their ability to increase in concentration in the food chain, their contamination of our bodies or qualities they possess that pose hazards.

* Develop an aggressive substitution plan and timeline to replace emerging chemicals of concern with safe alternatives.

We call on the Food and Drug Administration to:

* Prohibit the marketing of all cosmetics and personal care products containing known or probable human carcinogens, reproductive toxins or mutagens.

Does your non-profit organization wish to officially endorse the Campaign? Use our online form »

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

How toxic is your bathroom?

Monday, 24 October 2005

Be warned: your daily beauty regime could be taking years off your life. Pat Thomas reports on the chemical timebomb in your cosmetics cabinet

Earlier this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did something amazing. It issued an unprecedented warning to the cosmetics industry that it was time to inform consumers that most personal care products have not been safety tested.

Where the US goes, the UK inevitably follows. If the FDA starts the ball rolling by flexing its muscles, it is possible that in the not too distant future 99 per cent of personal care products could be required to carry a caution on the label: "Warning: The safety of this product has not been determined."

What concerns scientists at the FDA and at environmental health organisations throughout the world is the "cocktail effect" - the daily mixing of many different types of toxins in and on the body - and how this might damage health over the longer term.

On average, we each use nine personal care products a day containing 126 different ingredients. Such "safety" testing as exists looks for reactions, such as skin redness, rashes or stinging, but does not investigate potential long-term problems for either humans or the environment. Yet the chemicals that go into products such as shampoos and hand creams are not trace contaminants. They are the basic ingredients.

Absorbed into the body, they can be stored in fatty tissue or organs such as the liver, kidney, reproductive organs and brain. Cosmetics companies complain of unfounded hysteria, but scientists are finding industrial plasticisers such as phthalates in urine, preservatives known as parabens in breast-tumour tissue, and antibacterials such as Triclosan and fragrance chemicals like the hormone-disrupting musk xylene in human breast milk. Medical research is proving that fragrances can trigger asthma; that the detergents in shampoos can damage eye tissue; and that hair-dye chemicals can cause bladder cancer and lymphoma. An even greater number of substances in personal care products are suspected to present potential risks to human health from this known effect on animals.

If these problems had been linked to pharmaceutical drugs, the products would have been taken off the market. At the very least, money would have been spent on safety studies. But because the cosmetics industry is largely self-governing, and because we all want to believe in the often hollow promises of better skin and whiter teeth, products containing potentially harmful substances remain in use and on sale. Think it can't be that bad? Consider what goes into some of the UK's most popular toiletries.


What they claim: Instantly improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

But watch out: To work, the product needs to be well absorbed, so Regenerist contains penetration enhancers like disodium EDTA. But these also drive toxins deeper into the skin. Watch out for hormone disrupters such as ethylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben and potential carcinogens such as polyacrylamide, triethanolamine (which can form cancer-causing nitrosamines), and the artificial colours CI 16035, CI 19140 and PTFE (Teflon). Regenerist contains the sunscreens butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (B-MDM) and ethylhexyl salicylate; not enough for an SPF rating, but potentially enough to irritate skin.


What they claim: A totally organic experience.

But watch out: It looks and smells appealing because it is coloured using four potentially cancer-causing dyes (CI 17200, CI 15510, CI 42053, CI 60730) and perfumed with synthetic fragrances that are known neurotoxins and skin irritants. Among its detergents, sodium lauryl sulphate can irritate skin and permanently damage eye tissue, and sodium laureth sulphate and cocamide MEA can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a hormone disrupter associated with breast cancer. Cocamidopropyl betaine, another detergent, is a penetration enhancer, as is the solvent propyelel glycol and the preservative tetrasodium EDTA; all allow other chemicals to pene- trate more deeply into skin and bloodstream.


What they claim: Best for baby, best for you.

But watch out: Children's skin is thinner and more absorbent than adults', so is a less effective barrier to chemical toxins. The rates of eczema and allergies among children are on the rise and the early introduction of toiletries on to sensitive skin may be a factor. When soap does the job, why expose your child to skin and eye irritants such as sorbitan laurate, cocamidopropyl betaine and acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, or PEG-150 distearate, PEG-80, PEG-14M and sodium laureth sulphate that can be contaminated with the carcinogens 1,4 dioxane and ethylene oxide, or hormone disrupters such as parabens? In addition, there's nothing here that naturally moisturises the skin - only synthetic polymers (plastic-like substances) like polyquaternium-7 and polypropylene terephthalate that coat it, merely giving the impression of smoothness.


What they claim: What the world needs now is love.

But watch out: Perfumes are made from the same neurotoxic solvents found in glues and adhesives and volatile chemicals common in garages and factories, albeit in much smaller concentrations. Eternity contains a staggering 41 ingredients, about 80 per cent of which have never been tested for safety in humans. The rest are known neurotoxins, allergens, irritants and/or hormone disrupters. Still think perfume is sexy?


What they claim: Spray more, get more.

But watch out: Lynx Dry contains three types of neurotoxins: solvents such as PPG-14 butyl ether; the propellants butane, isobutane and propane; and synthetic fragrance chemicals. It contains a preservative BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), which has been linked with cancer, and PEG-8 distearate, which can be contaminated with the hormone-disrupting carcinogens ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane as well as polycyclic aromatic compounds such as benzene and benz(a)pyrene. Aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY and aluminium chlorohydrate work by clogging pores, but long exposure to aluminium-containing deodorants raises the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer's.


What they claim: 12-hour fresh breath and antibacterial protection.

But watch out: Conventional toothpastes often contain irritating detergents like sodium lauryl sulphate, which can cause sore gums and mouth ulcers, and abrasives like hydrated silica, which can erode tooth enamel. Total contains a glue-like substance, PVM/MA copolymer, that sticks the active ingredients to teeth. Saccharin, a known carcinogen in animals, is also found. The colouring CI 42090 (banned in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden) causes cancer in animals. Total contains Triclosan, an antibacterial agent that can in certain circumstances combine with chlorine in tap water to produce chloroform gas, which is easily absorbed into the skin or inhaled and can cause depression, liver problems and cancer.


What they claim: The best a man can get.

But watch out: Helped by a global advertising campaign featuring David Beckham, Gillette shaving products have carved their way into the male psyche. If he thought about the ingredients, would the "epitome of the well groomed man" be so keen to promote the product? Mach 3 gel contains skin irritants such as triethanolamine, palmitic acid glyceryl oleate, three potential carcinogens (polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon), BHT, CI 42090) and three central nervous system toxins or pollutants (isopentane, parfum and isobutane).


What they claim: Natural-looking colour with complete grey coverage.

But watch out: All hair dye sold in the EU containing phenylenediamines, resorcinol and/or 1-naphthol must carry a warning: "Can cause an allergic reaction. Do not use to colour eyelashes or eyebrows." Other hair dye ingredients - including coal tar dyes, 4-chloro-m-phenylenediamine, 2,4-toluenediamine, 2-nitro-p-phenylenediamine and 4-amino-2-nitrophenol - have proven carcinogenic in at least one animal species. In humans, intensive longer-term use of permanent hair dye is associated with breast, ovarian and bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple meyeloma and rheumatoid arthritis.


What they claim: Soothes emotions, cleanses the body.

But watch out: Soaking in hot water increases skin permeability and helps vaporise chemicals in products, making them more easily inhaled. Radox Relax contains potential skin irritants (sodium laureth sulphate, cocamidopropyl betaine) potential carcinogens such as the preservative combo methylchloro-isothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone and synthetic dyes, and hormone-disrupting ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. It contains perfume ingredients that are capable of irritating (coumarin, benzyl salicylate, limonene) and disrupting the central nervous system (butylphenyl methylpropional, alpha-isomethyl ionone, linalool).


What they claim: Feel the essential care.

But watch out: Along with semi-synthetic fatty acids and waxes, Nivea Body contains denatured alcohol and glycerine, which can dry skin with repeated use. It also contains several estrogenic preservatives (methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben), contact allergens (phenoxy-ethanol, linalool, citronellol, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carcoxaldehyde) and a potential carcinogen (limonene). Film-formers like dimethicone keep undesirable ingredients next to the skin longer. About one-third of the listed ingredients are fragrances that are known irritants and sensitisers of human skin; chemicals that, with repeated exposure, can trigger allergic reactions.


What they claim: Clinically proven to help fight spots.

But watch out: A mix of strong detergents and surfactants (sodium lauryl sulfate, cetyl betaine, distearyl-dimonium chloride and steareth-21), chemical exfoliants (salicylic acid) and solvents (glycerin, alcohol, menthol) that are capable of removing the skin's natural oils, and synthetic skin conditioners for repairing some of the damage inflicted by the other ingredients. It contains two potential carcinogens (BHT and disodium EDTA) and fragrance ingredients among the most commonly reported contact allergens in the EU (behenyl alcohol, limonene benzyl salicylate, linalool and hexyl cinnamal). These so consistently lead to skin problems that they must now be listed separately on labels within the EU.


What they claim: Kills the germs that cause plaque and bad breath.

But watch out: This mouthwash is 21.6 per cent alcohol. Alcohol dries and changes the pH of the mouth and throat and long-term use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes increases the risk of mouth and throat cancers. Listerine also contains a mild detergent, poloxamer 407, that is soluble in liquids at low temperatures but turns to a gel at higher temperatures (ie, body temperature). That makes it a film-former, "glueing" other ingredients on to the surfaces of the mouth for longer. Fluoride in quantity is poisonous if swallowed, and the sweetener saccharin causes bladder cancer in animals. Finally, synthetic colours, aromas and flavours are made from volatile solvents that can alter the basic flora of the mouth and may cause dermatitis.

Pat Thomas is health editor of The Ecologist. Her series 'Behind the Label' appears in the magazine every month (

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The Body Map at ecology center
Petrochemicals and their byproducts, such as dioxin, are known to cause an array of serious health problems, including cancers and endocrine disruption. Of the more than 75,000 chemicals registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, only a fraction have gone through complete testing to find out whether they might cause problems for human health. Many that are produced in enormous quantities have never been tested at all. Usually, it takes dramatic episodes of workplace injuries or wildlife poisonings, combined with rigorous scientific proof of harm and public outcry, before the government will act to restrict or ban any chemical. And that is no accident. The current regulatory system allows synthetic chemicals into our lives unless proven beyond doubt to be dangerous.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Take Action! Send a Message

Antibacterial Products Aren't Squeaky Clean

Triclosan: It may not be a household word, but there is little to no chance that you haven’t come into direct contact with it in your home--while washing your hands, brushing your teeth or applying deodorant or face cream. Now that cold season is in full effect, the "antibacterial" soaps in which triclosan is often found may seem like a great idea. But hold it right there:

Researchers warn that triclosan, a chemical used as an antimicrobial and preservative, acts as an endocrine disruptor. Exposure to endocrine disruptors can lead to early puberty, serious reproductive issues and breast cancer. Triclosan's hormone-mimicking behavior could also be responsible for harming aquatic wildlife, since this chemical is washed into our waterways.