Sunday, December 17, 2017

Where are women exposed to chemicals

Typical chemicals in cosmetics

Shampoos & bath additives

Daily showers or long foam baths can dry out and irritate sensitive skin. This effect is mostly caused by surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate. Also certain preserving agents and fragrances are potentially allergenic, hormonally active or carcinogenic.

Toothpaste & mouthwash

Toothpaste contains mechanical abrasives and surfactants, fragrances, flavors, sweeteners, and preserving agents, as well as fluoride which supposedly prevents cavities. Preservatives are used to prevent dental plaque. The potentially harmful substances are triclosan or chlorhexidine. Also mouthwash can contain preservatives and alcohol.


Sunscreen provides protection from UV radiation that can cause skin cancer. In sun lotions, chemical filters and mineral pigments are responsible for that protection. Some chemical filters like benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone) disrupt the endocrine system and accumulate in the body. Mineral UV protection can contain nano titanium dioxide or nano zinc oxide.

Lotions, creams & oils

Skincare products often contain synthetic mineral oils that can accumulate in the body and be damaging to one’s health. Allergenic fragrances are problematic as well. Preservatives like parabens can disrupt the hormone system. Many vanishing creams are supposed to protect the skin from UV damage. Some of those UV filters can accumulate in the body and also disrupt the hormone system.

Deodorants & perfumes

Deodorants act against the bacteria responsible for odour development using preservatives like formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasers and alcohol. Alcohol can irritate and dry out sensitive skin and some odour covering fragrances are allergenic. Musk compounds are persistent, so they can accumulate in the environment and in the body. Deodorants and perfumes can contain endocrine disrupting phthalates which are used as denaturants.

Skin lightening creams

Mercury is still found in a number of consumer products, including bleaching skin creams. In India, 61 per cent of the dermatological market consists of skin lightening products. The main adverse effect of the inorganic mercury contained in skin lightening soaps and creams is kidney damage. Mercury in skin lightening products may also cause rash, discolouration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infection.


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