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Toxic Shampoo and Bath Chemical: Cocamidopropyl Betaine

25 Apr

April 25, 2011 – A common chemical found in bath products, shampoos and other personal care products is cocamidopropyl betaine. It is used as a foam booster, as an antistatic agent, as a cleansing agent and as a skin conditioning agent. It is also toxic and can cause allergic reactions.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine or Coco Betaine, in Shampoo, Soaps and Bubble Bath

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is also known as Coco-betaine. It is used as a cleansing agent and promotes lathering and foaming. It is often found in shampoos, soaps, bubble baths, dish soaps and any other cleaning agents.

Health Risks of Coamidopropyl betaine or coco-betaine

This chemical is known to cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs. It is also suspected to be harmful to the environment. Under high temperatures and acidic conditions, it can also produce nitrosamines (carcinogenic compounds).

The American Contact Dermatitis Society named cocamidylpropyl betaine Allergen of the Year in 2004.

Products Containing Cocamidopropyl Betaine or Coco-Betaine

Many commercial products contain toxic chemicals, so it’s best to read the labels and do some research. Products known to contain this chemical are:

  • Avalon Organics (yeah, don’t let the word “organics” fool you! It’s

    just a word.)

  • Giovanni
  • Physicians Formula
  • Aveeno
  • Maggie Blue
  • Essence of Wellbeing
  • Aura Cacia
  • Weleda
  • Kiss My Face
  • Burts Bees

Burts Bees as a Natural Product and Safety Levels

I’ve been asked countless time, “Is Burt’s Bees” a safe and natural option. The answer to that is “it depends”.

Some of Burt’s Bees products are ok, they contain safe ingredients and no known toxic chemicals. However, items like their bubble baths do have coco-betaine listed on their labels which can cause irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs.

Burt’s Bees biggest con is their use of “fragrance/parfum”. Most of their products contain synthetic fragrances which we know cause allergies and sensitivities and are composed of countless chemicals in their chemical makeup. They often contain phthalates which have a slew of health concerns.

My advice to all consumers is “read the labels”! If you aren’t sure about an ingredient or two – look them up! Just because a product says “natural” or “organic” or “essential oils”, does not mean they don’t contain toxic chemicals! Chemicals go under alternate names too, so write them down, look them up and go from there. Also, just because a company has a couple of “safe” products does not mean they are all safe – so keep reading those labels!

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74 responses to “Toxic Shampoo and Bath Chemical: Cocamidopropyl Betaine

  1. tamaralaschinsky

    April 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    What shampoos or washes do you use and do they contain this ingredient?

     
    • Wendy Doran

      September 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      my dad was just diagnosed with being allergic to cocamidopropyl betaine and to anything with a fragrance in oh and carmine. Is there a soap wash soap, shampoo, dish soap, or laundry soap you can recommend that does not have these products in them. He has a rash from head to toe and has been in to see the derm. and this is what we found out but finding products are a little more difficult. can you help?
      thanks
      Wendy

       
      • tamaralaschinsky

        September 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm

        Hi Wendy,

        It’s hard with laundry detergents and dish soaps but regular body washes, soaps and shampoos get a bit easier. You can view a whole bunch here: http://www.shopNaturaleGREENonline.ca and check out ingredients there. There’s also quite a bit of info there too for sensitive skin and skin conditions. Hope that helps. Avoid SLS too as that is a big irritant. Organic Shea Butter is good as well as Rocky Mountain’s Unscented Body Butter.

         
      • Dene Godfrey

        September 28, 2011 at 9:50 am

        Given that so many products are based on cocamidopropyl betaine, SLS or SLES, unless your dad actually IS allergic to SLS (or SLES) (and this was not listed – it would probably have been tested for by the dermatologist), I would not suggest that he avoids them, as there is no point. Why make it even more difficult to find a product he can use if he isn’t even allergic to SLS?

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        September 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm

        Good point Dene, If he visits a natural products store though he could find a variety of soaps and products that use less irritating ingredients than conventional products. I mentioned the SLS/SLES only because 1. It is a skin irritant and those with already sensitive skin conditions often find they react to it and 2. It is quite common in soaps & washes.

        When it comes to dealing with skin conditions and clearing them up, I always encourage people to go with “less is best” and get the skin cleared up asap, then you can reintroduce things and see if reactions occur or not (same as treating a food allergy!)

        Glad to see you posting again Dene, it’s good to have a balancing force here! :)

        In your opinion, because I know you work with all these ingredients, is it common for people to be allergic to Cocamidopropyl Betaine and not SLS or SLES? I ask because it’s often SLS or SLES that is considered to be more of an irritant. What have you found in your studies about people’s reactions to the ingredients?

         
      • dene62

        September 28, 2011 at 9:13 pm

        Thanks Tamara :-). I would not claim to be an expert in their use, but the main observation I would make is that SLS is not usually an ALLERGEN. It can be an IRRITANT, but that is very different. An allergic response is much more severe and, to the best of my knowledge, SLS is more usually an irritant problem if you get it in your eyes, rather than on the skin, although I am not saying that it won’t ever irritate skin, but you would have to use it a lot for it to be a major issue. I am fairly sure that SLS would have been tested by the dermatologist, but the bottom line is that, if Wendy’s dad doesn’t have any sort of reaction to SLS, then it is perfectly safe for him to use, even if there may be “milder” products. If he doesn’t have a problem, he doesn’t need them, and it would make life much easier from having much more choice of product available.

        In terms of finding products that don’t contain the “offending” ingredients, rather than just the ones you offer, I would suggest that the Skin Deep database (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/) is a good starting point, but ONLY in terms of checking the ingredient lists, because, as you know, it is useless in terms of offering a realistic evaluation of the safety of any specific product, so the “hazard scores” should be totally ignored! This is the ONLY time I have ever actually recommended Skin Deep!

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        October 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm

        Thanks Dene, the EWG is a good database to check yes, as they have a pretty good list of ingredients for a variety of products. I agree with you on the toxicity scores of course as one can not totally base their decisions on the toxicity scores alone(However something with a 0 or 1 score is usually pretty darn good! But you do have to still look @ all the ingredient listings.) Thanks for clarifying the SLS position. I think one of the hardest things to find truthfully are products without fragrance or parfum. Even some unscented products can contain ingredients to mask the smell and I know many people who are hyper-sensitive and they have a bugger of a time not only with their own products but just being around others who use fragranced products. Thanks again for your input Dene and congrats on your first Skin Deep recommendation! :)

         
      • dene62

        October 2, 2011 at 7:34 am

        I can’t agree with your assessment that a Skin Deep “rating” of 0 – 1 is of any value, any more than ANY of the hazard ratings are of any value, and due to the same logic – hazard alone gives NO indication of safety in use. There are many flaws in this database (flaws of logic as well as just basic errors), and this is one of them. Irrespective of the actual value of a score based solely on hazard, the next time you look at an ingredient with a hazard score of 0 or 1, just check on the “data gap” value (if they still do this, as they changed the setup earlier this year) – you are highly likely to find that there is a 100% data gap. In other words, they have made a decision on hazard based on NO data whatsoever. How does that work? Does some guy in the EWG office look at the name of the ingredient and think “yes, that looks safe enough for a zero rating”, and then it becomes set in stone, because Skin Deep is followed blindly by thousands of “believers”? The scary thing here is that there are many companies formulating products solely using ingredients with zero hazard ratings on Skin Deep. This means that there are many companies that are formulating products using ingredients FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO SAFETY DATA! This from companies who are claiming to have the safest products on the market! (To their credit, Skin Deep now make a statement about the wisdom of relying on zero ratings, and actively discourage this tactic – but that won’t stop these companies making the claim that all their ingredietns are zero rated). This is grossly misleading the consumer and gives a totally false sense of security in safety terms – how can untested ingredients be known to be safe? If you have difficulty sleeping, you may like to try reading an article I wrote exposing the flaws within the Skin Deep database: http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/05/skin-deep-scratching-below-the-surface/

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        November 6, 2011 at 2:28 am

        Hi Dene,

        Sorry for the delay in reply, been super crazy busy!

        Agree that the data gap is big and even EWG seems to be acknowledging it and taking a bit more of a neutral stand point. Many comapanies (advocate group) speak to the same batch of ingredients and only time and testing will yield a final verdict!

        I do approve of consumer advocacy groups though, in that they push companies to be more responsible and accountable for the ingredients they use in their formulations. Take 14, Dioxane for example. P&G were forced to reformulate Herbal Essences awhile back because they exceed the limits of 1,4 Dixoane (recommended no more than 10ppm recorded at 23ppm.) Now Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo is under fire and is ‘taking steps’ to make the baby shampoo safer by removing the 1,4 Dioxane altogether. The sad thing is, these products are marketed as ‘safe, safe and safe’ and truthfully some of these products are linked to health risks (thus the warnings and/or restrictions by FDA etc.) If consumers aren’t told of these ingredients they get very upset when they learn about them. Only time & testing will yield final verdicts of course but the green movement is strong. (Of course, the green movement also opens the door for green-washing, which many companies like doing today for marketing purposes. This of course only confuses consumers more when they see something saying ‘natural’ and ‘paraben-free’ and yet it contains fragrance which of course can contain a variety of ingredients that can cause all sorts of reactions etc.)

        As for your article it is very well-written and informative. I don’t agree with advocacy groups putting the big scare into people. “Provide consumers with knowledge instead of just scaring them” is my theory! Lead and other metals may not be deliberately added bu they do exist and are not supposed to be there – period. The FDA agrees that it is up to the manufacturer to ensure the products are safe.

        Taken from FDA’s website:

        Manufacturers are not required to register their cosmetic establishments, file data on ingredients, or report cosmetic-related injuries to FDA. However, companies are encouraged to register their establishments and file Cosmetic Product Ingredient Statements with FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP).

        FDA is not authorized to require recalls of cosmetics but does monitor companies that conduct a product recall and may request a product recall if the firm is not willing to remove dangerous products from the market without FDA’s written request.

        So it’s obvious the FDA is quite helpless with ensuring the integrity of cosmetic ingredients are up to par. They are over-worked and not able to keep up with the market. They have no authority to pull products by themselves and while they do test products and send out letters, I can’t imagine how much stuff is on the shelves that contains things people don’t know about. Heck, no one is perfect and consumers just want knowledge. They don’t want to be ‘scared’, nor do they want to be ‘lied to’. They just want to make well-informed decisions and choose products that are safe for themselves and their children.

        Until better standards get into play and longer testing on humans can be documented, there will always be a big divide here. One side will adamantly say the ingredients are safe because they have not ‘yet been proven to be unsafe’, and the other side will refuse to believe them, saying that the products ‘have not yet been proven to not be harmful’. Many consumers will read between the lines and realize that no one side is 100% correct. Advocacy groups will push on and big companies will change their formulas to ensure they meet public standards (face it – we don’t need 1,4 Dioxane in baby and kids products do we?) Will this cost companies more – yep. Will this cost push down to consumers mroe – possibly. But if you have consumers like I do, who are willing to pay more for the ‘natural’ products, then it’s not money they are worried about. They are more concerned with safety than paying a bit more and big companies need to think the same way. As for the FDA – they need to buck up and hire more people so they can monitor the industry better. Until recently the FDA thought BPA was safe and finally changed their viewpoint after the NIH released their report on BPA effects. (http://www.suite101.com/news/parabens-in-cosmetics-and-bpa-may-aid-breast-cancer-development-a388837)
        -

         
      • DeeInKc

        January 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm

        Hi, Wendy.
        I too have been diagnosed by a highly regarded dermatologist as being alergic to cocamidopropyl betaine.
        I suffered for 1 1/2 years before I found a doctor that did alergy testing to see what I was alergic too. I had a horrible rash on my face that felt like a severe sunburn. It dried my skin out and it burned to put any kind of lotion on it. It was terrible.
        Finally, Dr Anthony Belsito, in Shawnee Mission, KS, diagnosed me. He has now moved to NY to teach students in dermatology at John Hopkins University.
        Now I avoid this toxic chemical and no longer have the allergic reaction.

         
      • BebeautySmart (Dina)

        May 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        Hi Wendy,

        Your dad should wash his clothes with soap nuts. And there are many good USDA certified organic brands just with safe and natural ingredients. Check this out: http://www.bebeautysmart.com/2012/05/my-personal-favorite-certified-organic.html

         
  2. Dene Godfrey

    May 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    To paraphrase your own statement in the article – don’t let the word “toxic” fool you – it’s just a word. And it’s a word that you grossly misuse. The hazards you quote for cocamidopropyl betaine are those stated on the MSDS – a document used for handling the neat material, NOT applicable at the concentrations used in cosmetics. There may be a few people unfortunate to have a skin reaction to this material, but I challenge you to prove that there are “toxic” effects in cosmetics.

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Hi Dene,

      Thanks for the feedback, I always look forward to both sides of the debate and the debate about the toxins in cosmetics and personal care products is certainly a big issue and one without tons of clinical data for sure. Not sure about your paraphrase there as I recall my quote of “don’t let the word “organics” fool you, it’s just a word.”

      Cocamidopropyl betaine is one of many ingredients that can cause allergies and skin irritation and for that reason alone, I write about it so consumers can watch for those ingredients. Having tried many products without these “chemicals in question” I can say that safer options do exist that do not cause issues. Many people have sensitive skin and chemical sensitivities (Multiple chemical sensitivity MCS) and it is more than “just a few”. Avoiding these ingredients that are known to cause such reactions in individuals is simply a recommendation for those who are looking to feel better, to try something without that ingredient to see if their condition improves.

      As for your challenge: “to prove that there are ‘toxic’ effects in cosmetics’, unfortunately this is the governments and manufacturers standpoint as well – to prove the DO cause health hazards. But what they should be working on are test studies (with humans) to prove they DO NOT cause health hazards.

      40-50 years ago, no one had to prove there were health hazards to smoking cigarettes so everyone did it, in the home, the car, around kids, while pregnant etc. Only years later did the question of safety arise and only then did studies begin to show relationships between cigarette smoke and health hazards. Only then did restrictions begin and warning labels made mandatory. The cosmetic industry is quite similar in that many ingredients used are used in “acceptable concentrations” and with “certain restrictions” but of course, very few, if any, studies exist to show the long-term effects as well as the accumulation both in the human body and environment. The “green movement” is more to ensure that the protective government agencies start “proving” that these ingredients ARE safe to use and that they do not accumulate in the body or react with other substances to produce harmful by-products.

      Science is always learning new things and substances once deemed “acceptable” are suddenly finding themselves on the “non-acceptable” list. Consumers trust both the gov’t and manufacturers to offer “safe” and “tested” products and important they do not abuse that trust.

       
  3. Perry

    May 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I’m curious how you can recommend a shampoo that contains Potassium Oleate.
    (http://www.shopnaturalegreenonline.ca/Kogi-Shampoo-Rosemary-Mint-p/kogi_sh__rm.htm)

    A quick look at the MSDS reveals the danger of exposure to this chemical…

    SKIN: IMMEDIATELY flood affected skin with water while removing and isolating all contaminated clothing. Gently wash all affected skin areas thoroughly with soap and water. If symptoms such as redness or irritation develop, IMMEDIATELY call a physician and be prepared to transport the victim to a hospital for treatment.

    “EYES: First check the victim for contact lenses and remove if present. Flush victim’s eyes with water or normal saline solution for 20 to 30 minutes while simultaneously calling a hospital or poison control center. Do not put any ointments, oils, or medication in the victim’s eyes without specific instructions from a physician. IMMEDIATELY transport the victim after flushing eyes to a hospital even if no symptoms (such as redness or irritation) develop.

    INHALATION: IMMEDIATELY leave the contaminated area; take deep breaths of fresh air. If symptoms (such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, or burning in the mouth, throat, or chest) develop, call a physician and be prepared to transport the victim to a hospital. Provide proper respiratory protection to rescuers entering an unknown atmosphere. Whenever possible, Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) should be used; if not available, use a level of protection greater than or equal to that advised under Protective Clothing.”

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      Hi Perry and thanks for your feedback. I always welcome both sides of the debate and like many, am always learning new things for sure. The MSDS as you know, speak mainly to high concentration, raw materials and even table salt contains similar warnings. That is not to say that potassium oleate does not carry warnings of its own and like many, I will continue to watch and monitor studies and research done on this property. I get much of my data from government sites and studies and aim to provide the safest options out there with the lowest health hazards known so far. Nothing is perfect and I’m sure more will change as time and studies prevail.

      I do thank you for your feedback though and appreciate you bringing this to my attention. It is all about choosing the safest products available to us and doing our best to avoid those that are not yet proven safe. Every compound out there is toxic in the right concentration of course, drink too much water and you’ll suffer health hazards as well. But it’s good to ask questions and keep on top of things. Even those with good intentions don’t always know better and I’ve come across many “natural” companies whose products contain some not-so-good ingredients – so it’s a learning curve for everyone. The more questions we ask, the more answers we receive and the more information we filter through to get the truth!

      Cheers!

       
    • Claudia Williams

      September 11, 2012 at 10:31 am

      I have been making potassium soaps as a crafts(wo)men for about 10 years.Potassium oleate is basically vegetable oil soap made from olive oil using potassium hydroxide as a processing aide,
      (a lye) once it’s done it’s job, the potassium hydroxide has been used up and what is left is soap and it’s byproduct glycerin. It is the safest and most environmentally friendly soap or foaming agent available. as soap made from vegetable oil is 100% biodegradable and I would not consider it a chemical. An MSDS has always been written with the worst case scenario in mind and in this case is a total over statement . Potassium soaps like DR Bronners are a safe natural alternative for a lot of people that are now becoming allergic to chemical based or petrochemical based cleaners or surfactants.

       
  4. tamaralaschinsky

    May 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Note to all readers: I appreciate ALL feedback and provided there is no profanity or self-promotion links, I will approve all comments to this board – even if they go against what I write.

    I am not perfect or all-knowing and while I will defend what I wrote and why, I will admit there are many unknowns and that I actively seek answers and clinical studies to help us get the information we need to make our safe decisions!

    Please feel free to reply or comment – good or bad: just remember to keep it clean and polite (or I simply won’t approve it and it will be deleted!) :)

     
  5. Colin

    May 14, 2011 at 8:18 am

    The comparison with smoking is pretty much in favour of cosmetics being safe. They have been used much longer and nobody is suffering any ill effects that have been noticed yet. If you stop smoking you notice some benefits almost immediately. If you stop using cosmetic and personal care products your health will not change one way or the other.

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Well Colin, I can’t say I agree with you there! For those who suffer allergies, skin irritations, eczema and break-outs that are caused by harsh ingredients that irritate the skin, eyes and mucous membranes, yes -they do notice health improvements immediately after ceasing use of product! As for the other effects, boys growing boobs and lower sperm counts for example, are noticed later in life and can be irreversible -even after product is no longer used. Certain damages can be done depending on what ingredients we are talking about and those damages can be irreversible. 1,4 Dioxane for example, present in most products and banned by the EU, flagged by CEPA, is not allowed to be put in products but often shows up as a by-product (therefore it is allowed). 1,4 Dioxane is known to cause cancer. So in this instance, if you use enough 1,4 Dioxane which causes cancer to form in your body – stopping use of the product will not make the cancer go away – thus, it is irreversible.

      The reference to smoking was that even the government supported and endorsed smoking as acceptable and safe – without ever proving it was. The same is said with cosmetics, they have not been proven safe and have not had proper tests to prove they do not cause illnesses both short-term and long-term (cancer, hormone disruptions, allergies, sensitivities, migraines etc.)

      Any one with chemical sensitivities will immediately notice a chance in their health once they stop using the chemical ingredients that cause their allergies. As for the long-term health effects, avoiding these ingredients asap will better a person’s chance of preventing ill health. But by using these toxic ingredients on newborn babies a dozen times a day for 30 or 40 years, the accumulation and long-term exposure leads to other health concerns that the government must address.

       
      • Perry Romanowski

        May 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm

        “The same is said with cosmetics, they have not been proven safe and have not had proper tests to prove they do not cause illnesses both short-term and long-term (cancer, hormone disruptions, allergies, sensitivities, migraines etc.)”

        Which of the products that you sell or endorse have been proven safe? For example, where is the study that proves the shampoo made with Potassium Oleate is safe and not causing environmental damage or increasing people’s risk of cancer?

        The problem with bashing the safety of products while endorsing other products is that there is no way to adequately prove anything is completely safe. What standard do you use?

        What evidence would you accept that products you bash are safe? And similarly, what evidence would you need to see that would make you stop endorsing a product?

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        May 17, 2011 at 9:11 pm

        Good points Perry and the sooner our governments start doing their job the better it will be for everyone! Your Kogi example is one of very few that contains any ingredients that have very little research beside it. Most of my products contain saponified oils, essential oils and so on. Some essential oils are thought to cause allergic reactions too, so it really depends on the issues. The bottom line is choosing the lesser of the evils and really pushing for stronger testing and better guidelines.

        None of my products contains SLS, parabens, MI, synthetic fragrances or contaminated with carcinogens. No coal tars, BHA, BHT, DEA, MEA, TEA or other “common” chemical ingredients that are on the radar. For the most part, I stick to and will continue to stick to the natural ingredients that are found in nature and do not have any direct links to bad side effects. Synthetic and man-made ingredients are not allowed on my “safe” list and the way I see it: If the government allows these ingredients but places “restrictions” on their use, concentrations and the other ingredients they may be used with -then there is a reason and what exactly is that reason?

        The whole point here is for manufacturers to smarten up and spend the money on making sure their products are safe. Instead of making an insane profit, spend a little and ensure the garbage is taken out. The most recent kafuffle is the toxic metals found in cosmetics as reported by Environmental Defence. Sure, they are contaminants, but that doesn’t make it ok does it? It’s about making sure the products out there are the safest they can be and helping consumer decide. Some ppl don’t care and for them it’s easy. Other, especially parents, want to give the safest products to their kids and how do they do that when big companies green-wash their products and are allowed to mislead consumers into thinking just because they say “organic” or “natural” that they must be ok because otherwise the gov’t wouldn’t allow it right?

        I’m always learning Perry, as are most of us and I hope for clinical studies to help rule out harmful products and make the changes we need. Sure, it’ll be costly for companies to change but it’s about safety for many people and they’d rather pay more than put products on their skin and their kids’ skin that allow ingredients into the body and set the stage for health risks down the road.

        As for your comment on “no way to adequately prove anything is completely safe”, you are absolutley right! Nothing is 100% safe. But again, it’s about having the information to make the safest choices we can and avoid the synthetic garbage that is just not necessary. Even as a chemist I’m sure you can agree that the label ingredients on the back of a baby or kids shampoo is outrageous and contains a slew of ingredients that are sketchy and really not necessary to do their job. They are added for other reasons (cost, scent, texture, etc.) and make the safety questionable.

        When I learn of something that is likely not safe, I stay away. I used to sell a non-toxic nail polish and I loved it, as did my customers. It was one of my biggest sellers. Unfortunately they changed the formula to include Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and since that’s on the questionable list, I did not bring in any of the new formula. My goal is to offer the safest that I know and if I come across any information that says something I sell is not good, I look into it and discontinue that product – end of story.

         
    • BebeautySmart (Dina)

      May 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Colin, the problem with these skin care products is their effect in the long term. You won’t be sick after a month, but when you will have cancer when you are 50 years old, you won’t understand why do you have it.

      Maybe you won’t feel any changes when you stop using these products but there is a chance that you stopped a process that could lead you to have serious health problems in the future.
      And don’t forget: You don’t use just 1 product, but many. Each one has harmful ingredients.

      I have a client (I am an esthetician) and she had always acne in her forehead. Once I asked her what does she use for her hair. She told me what she uses and I told her try to avoid it to see what happens. Her acne disappeared. Miracle? No. A product with mineral oil caused her acne.

      I hope you can see now what I am talking about.

       
  6. Perry Romanowski

    May 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    “Even as a chemist I’m sure you can agree that the label ingredients on the back of a baby or kids shampoo is outrageous and contains a slew of ingredients that are sketchy and really not necessary to do their job. ”

    No, I don’t agree with this. I’m satisfied that the testing of the ingredients in kids shampoo demonstrate that they can be safely used. I’m also satisfied that parabens can be safely used. My standards are in line with what the majority of professional, independent toxicologists say.

    The point is that manufacturers have smartened up. They do test their products for safety. As a formulator, I was involved in doing that testing. It’s just that your standard of what constitutes safety is different than professional toxicologists.

    It’s why I asked the question. What evidence would you accept?

    If you look at your own Baby products, they contain lots of “toxic” chemicals. For example, http://www.shopnaturalegreenonline.ca/All-Things-Jill-Baby-lotion-p/atjbabylotion.htm

    Citric Acid & Stearic Acid? Look at the MSDS for citric acid. It says “Severe eye irritant. Skin and respiratory irritant. Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause allergic reaction in some individuals” The MSDS for Stearic acid is even worse.

    You endorse putting these “toxic” non-natural acids on babies?

    I believe these ingredients can be used safely. I just don’t understand how you (based on your standards) think they are.

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Well Perry, this is where we sit on opposite sides of the fence then because when I look on the back of a shampoo or lotion product on store shelves I see a slew of ingredients ending in -eths, and a buncha “cones” and a wide varray of numbers (-40 – 20, 1-4) etc and so one and I don’t, for one second consider those safe ingredients. As for manufacturers testing for safety – where? On who? Did you test the health effects using human test subjects who were using parabens and ethyloxylated compounds on daily basis for 20,30 or 40 years and if so, what were your findings? Did you test them on animals even?

      Recently there was an explosion on heavy metals being present in cosmetics that I’m sure you heard about – the report issued by Environmental Defence. And yes, you could take the viewpoint that others have taken which is those metals are very small in quantity and are generally accepted as safe in those levels. Of course, there is the brand that exceed the amounts of lead by 10x – so it’s there that I ask about testing. It’s not that I doubt you Perry, it’s other manufacturers who are supposed to do their testing but fail to do so (as was obvious in this case of lead levels being 10ppm whereas the guidelines are set at 1.07ppm).

      Again, it’s about choosing the lesser of the evils until we get further information and hopefully making the safest choices we can. With advocate groups pushing for change and some even funding their own research, perhaps that change will happen sooner rather than later. Until that time, you and I will not see eye to eye because I refuse to believe that parabens and other contaminated ingredients are safe – whereas you feel there is nothing wrong with them. We will have our own opinions until clinical research provides us with enough information to either change our opinions or enforce the ones we already have!

      My standards are not solid or set in stone, I go with general information and further refine the findings from reading various information and research. I do not use MSDS as the basis for any ingredient, because as I pointed out before – even table salt looks nasty in the MSDS! It’s all about concentrations, use of product, duration of use and whether or not the ingredient is accumulative – either in our bodies or the environment. All we can do is hope that someday soon, better clinical data comes out that is not skewed in any way, done by independent testers who have not been influenced by cosmetic companies and we can use that information to move forward.

       
    • BebeautySmart (Dina)

      May 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Not to argue, but if we like a product we use it for a long time. Those low concentrate ingredients (that consider to be “safe”) will added and added through the years, which means it will be harmful at the end.

      Companies use synthetic ingredients, not because they serve beneficial purpose for the skin, but to preserve the product (mostly). If you take a look of any well-known brand, like Nivea, Dove, Aveeno, etc. what you’re going to see is just synthetic ingredients with no benefits. And if you will see 1 or 2 ingredients that actually have some benefits for the skin, they will be natural. If you don’t believe me, go and check by yourself. I am sure you have some skin care products in your bathroom.

      The FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors has a very limited role in policing the manufacturers of body care products. So much so that over 90% of the ingredients used in every day cosmetics (like shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, perfumes, fingernail polish, moisturizers, makeup, etc.) have never been tested for safety by any publicly accountable organization.

      The FDA states on their website that it relies on the manufacturers themselves to test their products for safety before marketing. The FDA also expects them to properly label their products.

      What do you think? Can we really trust the companies that are selling these products? I don’t think so.

       
      • Perry

        June 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm

        Just because you say something doesn’t make it automatically true. What evidence do you have that low concentrations build up over time? How do you know that natural ingredients aren’t going to build up and cause cancer?

        And what product have you ever formulated? How would you know why a company uses synthetic ingredients. I do formulate products and I can tell you that there are lots of reasons to use synthetic ingredients. Primarily, they work better. There is no better moisturizer than Petrolatum. Conduct a transepidermal water loss study and you will see for yourself.

        If you are afraid of cosmetics, don’t use them. They are not natural & not required to live a healthy life. But there is zero evidence for them being unsafe.

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        June 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm

        Hi Perry – long time no see!

        I kind of lean towards Coconut oil as a kick butt moisturizer but that’s just me!

        I wouldn’t say there is ‘zero’ evidence though, which is why many ingredients have ‘restrictions’. However, in the petrolatum (and yes, our Grandmas’s used it for years as did our moms for our little baby bottoms and to prevent frostbite!) The EU does classify it as a probably carcinogen, due to the likelihood of it being contaminated with PAHs. So these are valid consumer concerns of course but as Dene and I just discussed, there is just too much scaremongering and denial on both sides that consumers are so darned confused!

        Personally, I stick with coconut oil! :)

        Referral link for Petrolatum Concerns: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics—petrolatum/

         
      • BebeautySmart (Dina)

        June 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm

        @Perry:

        You’re right, just because I say something doesn’t make it automatically true. So if I follow this theory, just because you say something doesn’t make it automatically true either.

        But tell me: is it true, or not true that we (mostly women) use many products for a long time through the years? And if yes, then every single product with harmful ingredients can build up as one?

        My evidence is in my questions, but read my latest answer for Dene62 .

        Natural ingredients are always much closer to our body organs than synthetic ones. They can be both very effective in promoting healthy skin and more environmentally friendly. If it’s the right natural ingredient than it won’t cause harm over time and won’t build up in the body (in a negative term), but you can do your research about it.
        Natural ingredients don’t work instead of your skin, but helps the skin to do its job itself.

        The answer is simple why companies use synthetic ingredients: because they are cheap .
        The real issue here is how much benefit are you getting from a product without less investment.

        Or do you really think that companies care about your skin and health? If you don’t have problems with your skin that they can’t sell their products. If they can’t sell their product, how they can make money?

        Marta from Truth in aging said it well: “One chemical requires another. So, the chemist puts in one ingredient and needs another to stabilize it, the stabilizer needs something to thicken, the thickener needs a preservative, the preservative will irritate so an anti-inflammatory is required and so on and so on.”

        If petrolatum that good, why all of my clients who used it had break outs from it?
        The ability of petrolatum or white petroleum to moisturize though, is extremely limited. The major advantage of white petroleum in skin care products is that it is extremely cheap. That’s an advantage to the companies that make the products, not to you. You can tell that petrolatum doesn’t moisturize because it doesn’t penetrate the skin.
        To moisturize successfully any ingredient needs to penetrate the skin, if it doesn’t it cannot add moisture.

        Rather what it does is to coat the skin with an oily film which may help protect against some moisture loss, but by doing that, you have to suffer from many side effects.

        It creates an “invisible”, non-absorbable layer on the skin, which prevents the skin’s respiration (breathing) that accompanies with the evaporation, namely the water loss, which is essential for the healthy skin’s heat balance. (“Interestingly” companies indicate this as a benefit, they say it will lock the moisture in the skin, when it’s not true: the hydratation of the skin depends on the work of the natural moisturizing factors (NMF) and how much water gets into the body (basically how much water you drink)

        Concerns about petrolatum are that it can become contaminated in the manufacturing process with substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. (PAHs). PAHs are given a score of 10 out of 10 as a high hazard by the Cosmetic Safety Database and have been linked to a wide range of health concerns including cancer, immunotoxicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, bioaccumulation, endocrine disruption and much more.

        In the European Union, petrolatum can only be used in cosmetics “if the full refining history is known and it can be shown that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen”.

        Companies use synthetic ingredients because their products are water based. If a product is not water based, then there is no need for 10 different preservatives in it, because water causes mold. And 2: there are many natural preservatives, like wheat germ oil, tea tree, etc.
        You know when I used well-know body washes, in 2 seconds I had red, itchy, flaky spots on my arms.
        Why? Because of SLS. When I switched to natural one I didn’t have this problem. So I am not afraid of cosmetics (I am an esthetician, so it would be funny), but I am afraid of chemicals. Bug difference!

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        June 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm

        Awesome points and agree. There are many concerns including processes used to derive ingredients. Petrolatum is not a great ‘breather’ in that it doesn’t allow the skin to breathe.

        No, skin companies and gov’t don’t much care about consumers, just the bottom line (Look at the Monsanto thing with GMOs and antibiotics on our foods). Money, money, money. But consumers are getting smarter and demanding change which will make it harder for companies to avoid certain issues.

         
      • Perry

        June 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

        Hello Tamara – it’s good to hear from you again too.

        Coconut oil is ok but if you did a transepidermal water loss study, you would find that petrolatum is much better for moisturization. That’s why companies use it. If coconut oil performed better I would tell people to use it.

        As far as safety goes, there is zero evidence of cosmetics being unsafe. Your link to a story about a contaminant in petrolatum only demonstrates the safety of cosmetics that use petrolatum. Manufacturers specifically remove those concerning ingredients before petrolatum is allowed for use in cosmetics.

        Now, there are no restrictions on coconut oil and the way it is processed. How do you know that the coconut oil you are using doesn’t contain carcinogens? In fact, if you heat coconut oil you will produce PAHs. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20687968

        The producers of coconut oil are unregulated and could easily be providing you PAH containing coconut oil. So, who do you trust more…a company regulated by the government and required by law to remove PAHs from their ingredient, or an unregulated company who can do whatever they like?

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        June 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm

        I think that’s the clincher there Perry – making sure the PAHs are taken out. So long as they are taken out, then there is no concern. As for coconut oil, I only use that certified organic and that has not been expelled by any means of solvent or heat.

        However, I can see many companies claiming to be natural and offering things like coconut oil that may likely be contaminated and even less healthy than alternatives. This is why there is such a huge need for more testing and tighter regulations of disclosure and procedures.

        The clincher of course is knowing where ingredient has come from and the processes used to determine if it has any contaminants or not.

         
      • Perry

        June 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm

        1. I didn’t say that you should believe what I say just because I said it. You made a specific claim, “low concentrations of synthetic chemicals build up over time.” I asked for your evidence.

        Evidence would be some type of controlled, scientific study which demonstrates a higher concentration of a specific synthetic chemical in your body over a number of years (as you claim). It’s a simple matter of taking blood samples of people at year zero and then taking samples X years later and comparing the results. For example, evidence like this study which reviews all of the published literature related to methylparaben. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691502001072 The conclusion…”There is no evidence of accumulation.”

        I’m not saying that you should believe it because I said it. You should believe it because this is the conclusion of hundreds of scientists who have actually done studies specifically to answer this question. The conclusion from these independent scientists is that “there is no evidence of accumulation.” Now, what evidence can you provide that there IS accumulation?

        2. “Natural ingredients are always much closer to our body organs than synthetic ones.” I have no idea what you mean. Do you believe they are more chemically similar? This is easily shown to be mistaken because I can chemically synthesize human sebum which will be identical to natural sebum. This would be much closer than say coconut oil. What do you mean?

        3. “Companies use synthetic ingredients: because they are cheap” – Have you ever formulated a cosmetic product? I have and know first hand that cost is a minor factor. Performance is what drives the choice of chemicals used. Just do the math and you’ll see. A skin lotion contains about 10% oil. This can be mineral oil or coconut oil. Mineral oil costs about $0.60 a pound. Coconut oil costs about $1.38 a pound. So the mineral oil would add 3 cents a bottle to a lotion that contain mineral oil. The same exact formula that uses coconut oil would add 6 cents a bottle. Do you really think a company is going to notice a 3 cent a bottle difference? They aren’t.

        4. How are companies who use “natural” ingredients different than companies that use “synthetic” ingredients? Both of them are in the business of selling products so they can make money. Both companies benefit when their consumers have skin problems so I see this as a non-point.

        5. Marta is a journalist and if that’s what she said, she does not know what formulating chemists do. I am a formulating chemist so I would know.

        6. Why do your clients break out from petrolatum? This is explained through confirmation bias. You already believe it so you make the connection. Here is some scientific evidence to demonstrate that Petrolatum does not cause break outs. http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc1996/cc047n01/p00041-p00048.pdf If it does, how do you explain this scientifically controlled study?

        And as far as petrolatum goes, it is the positive control ingredient that we cosmetic chemists use to test for skin moisturization (trans epidermal water loss). We use it because it is the most effective ingredient tested. You are just mistaken about the way skin moisturizers work. I encourage you to do a little research so you can understand the topic better.

        7. Skin does not breath. The lungs breath, not skin.

        8. “I am afraid of chemicals” – Everything is a chemical. Water (H2O) is a chemical.

        @tamaralaschinsky – You run a skin company. Does this mean you don’t much care about your consumers? Why should we think that you are different than other companies? Do you sell products for zero profit?

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        June 27, 2012 at 9:02 pm

        Oh Perry, you got me! :)
        Ok, skin doesn’t breathe….take the words literally! Petrolatum is a great barrier and does ‘block the pores’ making it hard to remove dirt and grime. Anyone with acne knows this! But you are right Perry, the skin does not breathe! Point taken!

        @Perry – Point 8. Yes, we’ve had this discussion before and everything is a chemical and too much of one will be dangerous. ie. too much water will make us drown. I must remember to word my statements correctly!

        Okay,”I am wary of man-made, synthetic and combined ingredients that do not have enough scientific research to prove to me that they are safe both for short and long term use. ”

        As for my company, you are correct I run a company, though not just skin care, but a company for profit yes. If you saw my bank balances you would see I am sometimes pretty darn close to zero profit but I do make enough to keep things going yes! Of course I care about my consumers, which is why I bring in these ‘specialty’ products that are quite costly, offer them at prices that are affordable rather than hike the price up by 3x. If I didn’t care I’d just offer whatever P&G is putting out there and mark it up and make a huge profit! I wouldn’t lump it in by saying I run a skin company though, I run a “Health & Wellness” site which does include a store as well an information and articles(free). I do research when customers ask for certain things/topics(free) and I bring in products that are safe alternatives to what is on most store shelves, but at prices that are lower than many ‘organic and speciality’ stores offer because I don’t want to rip off consumers. Which is why I write my books and articles, to supplement my income so I can still keep my business going. I could charge way more for the products but that would make it harder for many consumers to keep buying these products for themselves and their kids so I’ll do what I can to keep the prices low and the products affordable.

        Do I care, of course I do! One of my best sellers used to be Piggy Paint. I was devastated when they suddenly added Methylisothiazolinone (Neolone 950) to their product (without even telling retailers or customers) and I knew I couldn’t sell their new formula to my customers. I was asked by other businesses if I could just ‘reposition’ or ‘downplay’ the ingredient since it’s in such ‘low concentration’ but when you stick to a mission statement you stick to it. I wasn’t sure what would happen to my business since I was going to lose one of my best sellers but I took the chance because I’d rather be honest and true to myself and my customers than green-wash something and sell out.

        One other quick note: As for your 3 cent difference I know I wouldn’t miss 3 cents but if I was P&G and sold millions of products that 3 cents kind of adds up! We all know big companies look at bottom lines and try to save every penny they can, why wouldn’t you? Any business will review numbers and do things as effectively and price smart as they can. It’s not smart business to do it otherwise! (And that being said, I don’t run Natural e GREEN as smart as I could and I could do things differently to make more money, but that’s not my goal! Having good debates with you is one of my goals though, keeps me sharp!) :)

         
  7. Perry Romanowski

    May 18, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    “I refuse to believe that parabens and other contaminated ingredients are safe”

    This is where your position becomes irrational and one that becomes impossible for cosmetic manufacturers to follow.

    You call for more testing but then say you refuse to believe (insert ingredient you think is toxic) could ever be proven safe. Don’t you see the problem with that?

    Regulations can not be written to satisfy irrational & arbitrary standards. They have to be supported by specific scientific standards. An independent, scientific organization (in the EU) has reviewed the published studies on parabens and has determined that they can be safely used in cosmetics at the level in which they are used. This isn’t enough for you? Why?

    Why don’t you use the MSDS? These are real effects of the chemicals. If it’s all about concentrations, then what is the concentration level of Parabens or Lead that you accept in the cosmetic products you endorse?

    What I’d like to see are numbers and rational standards developed by professional toxicologists that everyone can agree on.

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      Edit ( I should have been more descriptive) – I refuse to believe (for now) with the amount of information that is provided and the test data that has been done so far.

      I read those studies as well and while a couple paraben types were deemed to be safe, two other types were “inconclusive” and the results were not “scientifically acceptable” which leaves that questions “unanswered”. So do I trust the researchers who did some measure of testing that lead to inconclusive and non-scientifically acceptable results – nope! Give me proper research – using good control methods and a long period of time (decades) to prove or disprove both short and long-term effects of parabens (and the other toxic chemicals of concern) and then I will listen.

       
    • BebeautySmart (Dina)

      May 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      Perry, if you want scientific proof, here it is: After being exposed to the sun, studies show that 19% of the skin cells treated with Methylparaben had died. In a 2004 study published by the Journal of Applied Toxicology, 18 of 20 malignant breast tumors showed high concentrations of parabens, which are known to mimic estrogen in the body and affect the growth of breast tissue.

      Dr. Darbre, one of the chief scientists on the study, acknowledged that “One would expect tumours to occur evenly, with 20 per cent arising in each of the five areas of the breast … But these results help explain why up to 60 per cent of all breast tumours are found in just one-fifth of the breast – the upper-outer quadrant, nearest the underarm”. Butylparaben showing the most potent activity among methyl-, ethyl- and propyl esters in in vitro recombinant yeast assay and in in vivo uterotrophic assay.

      Parabens are also linked to ecological harm; low levels of butylparaben can kill coral, according to Roberto Danovaro and a team of researchers from Polytechnic University of the Marche in Italy. Previous studies have found that parabens can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, reproductive health problems and cancer, depending on the form of paraben. Butylparaben, isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben and propylparaben are long chain parabens, which means they can mimic the hormone estrogen and disrupt normal function of the hormone system.

       
      • dene62

        June 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm

        @Dina – sorry, but you have used one of the worst “scientific” studies of recent years to try to support your argument. Darbe’s study does NOT provide any proof of anything. It is incredibly flawed on so many levels – http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/11/parabens-in-perspective-part-ii/

        There is NO evidence that any of the parabens mimic oestrogen, indeed a study carried out by Darbre herself demonstrated that mimickry doesn’t happen. Oestrogenic activity (only measurable in BUTYLparaben) is not the same as oestrogen mimickry – http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/11/parabens-in-perspective-part-iv/

        The study apparently demonstrating sun damage leaves a lot to be desired in terms of being the slightest bit realistic – http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/01/parabens-in-perspective-part-ix/

        I have never seen the study on butylparaben and coral, but I can tell you that environmental levels of butylparaben are so low, that whatever levels were used in that study, they would be far higher than would ever happen in reality. I realise I take a risk in not having seen the actual study, but check out this link, and then tell me if I am wrong! : http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/11/parabens-in-perspective-part-iii/

        The fact that the parabens you mention at the end of your comment are “long chain” (this is very much a relative term, btw) doesn’t mean any such thing. There is good evidence that butylparaben has no effect on reproductive parameters, and the SCCS consider this to be the case in their Final Opinion : http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/01/parabens-in-perspective-part-x/

        There is NO evidence of any link between any parabens and cancer. To claim otherwise is simply misleading. Visit any cancer research site, and you will find a statement to this effect.

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        June 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm

        I can’t wait until someone re-does the Darbre Study! :)

        Anyways, as the FDA says itself, not enough conclusive evidence on the paraben/estrogen/cancer debate. Parabens are allowed up to a set level and the level in most cosmetics is low but I think what the question is that consumers wonder (and rightly so) “What is the TOTAL accumulation in the body at the end of the day?”

        I mean, if all these parabens were found in the breast tissue samples, it’s safe to assume they accumulated and don’t easily filter though and out of the body. So over what period of time could the percentage of parabens exceed the allowable 25% (as stated by FDA) and at what accumulation ‘could they’ become dangerous?

        As we all know, the average women uses A LOT of cosmetics and personal care items and just like 1,4 Dioxane, how much are they exposed to on a daily basis? That is the 64 million dollar question!

        One of the most recent studies/findings here (though not isolating ONLY parabens) is how BPA and Parabens inhibited the breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen, from killing the cells. The possibility (though further testing needing of course) is that either one or both ingredients (BPA and/or Methylparaben) turned non-cancerous tissue cells into having cancer properties that did not react to Tamoxifen at all. (Tamoxifen is designed to kill both cancerous and normal cells.)

        Too many questions but hopefully leading to more research and more understanding. Personally I’ve seen enough cancer and suffering and if we can start to live better and see those instances reduced, it would be a fine, fine day!

        FDA Link:http://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productandingredientsafety/selectedcosmeticingredients/ucm128042.htm
        Tamoxifen Link: http://suite101.com/article/parabens-in-cosmetics-and-bpa-may-aid-breast-cancer-development-a388837 (yes Dene, my article but it does cite the original sources!) :)

         
      • dene62

        June 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm

        @Tamara – the whole point is that study is so deeply flawed that it didn’t provide ANY proof that parabens were truly present in those tissue samples. If you read my article, hopefully you will see that logic and evidence suggests that they were only present due to exactly the same source of contamination that led to paraben being detected in the BLANKS! It does not constitute valid evidence, and is, in fact, counter-intuitive, as parabens are known to be largely broken down by skin and blood enzymes and excreted in urine. None of this (and there are plenty of studies in evidence) suggests any real possibilty of accumulation. At best, there may be a tiny (nanograms per gram) transient presence. The problem is with many of the arguments presented here and elsewhere is that there is an assumption that the “problem” substances accumulate. There is NO evidence of accumulation, so the “issues” of long term use are redundant. The BPA situation is not so clear, either, as there are plenty of studies that find no adverse effects, although I don’t intend delving further into BPA – I have enough on with parabens! :-) Also the levels of 1,4-dioxane are beyond miniscule and are being exaggerated in a similar fashion.

         
      • tamaralaschinsky

        June 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm

        I agree with the study being flawed which is why I can’t wait for it to be re-done in a controlled fashion. It’s not good to have flawed studies out there as it feeds the fire for fear-mongering and consumers don’t need that. I would just like to see more human long-term studies done.

        BPA, yeah we don’t need to get into that! It’s a no brainer. Was deemed safe for years by Health Canada and FDA despite the National Institute of Health indicating it wasn’t. Finally positions were reversed and BPA is now considered un-safe. It’s things like this, understandably, that cause consumer concern. Nothing like reading FDA statements like “We assume this is generally safe but will continue monitoring the siuation” to make consumers wonder how much the gov’t really knows! I mean c’mon, it wasn’t that long ago that cigarette smoking was fine and accepted! Oooops! :P

        Too many questions, vague answers, conflicting evidence and rise of health issues like there’s no tomorrow. Consumers want answers and will listen to whatever makes the most sense to them – whether or not the evidence is there to back it up or not.

        Despite my agreement with the Darbre study being flawed I still avoid parabens like the plague and ‘ain’t no one gonna change my mind!” (Imagine me with arms crossed over my chest in my stubborn defiant stance of determination!) :) (Now I have to go get some work done – have a great weekend though everyone!)

         
  8. Perry Romanowski

    May 18, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Ah progress!

    So, you are ok with the use of Methylparaben and Ethylparaben in cosmetics?

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      Not progress yet! :) I can not put faith in that study since they left the other paraben types question: unanswered. But if they were to re-do the tests with proper control studies and do them for the long-term, I would certainly listen! I also could not understand how different types of something could be so different – ie. How methyl and ethyl parabens could be considered safe and yet butyl and propyl parabens possibly dangerous. But only time will tell and hopefully the study re-done to provide more conclusive results. (“The SCCP is of the opinion that, based upon the available data, the safety assessment of Propyl and Butyl Paraben cannot be finalized yet.”)

       
  9. Perry Romanowski

    May 18, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Your response demonstrates a misunderstanding of the science and this is the problem. Methylparaben is a different chemical than Butylparaben. Just like water (H2O) is different than hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) even though they are chemically related.

    The SCCP opinion is not based on one study. It is based on multiple studies. http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/docs/sccs_o_041.pdf

    There is no study on methylparaben or ethylparaben to be redone. It has been done as you’ve asked and both of these materials have been deemed safe for use by professional, independent toxicologists. The only question that remains is why do you think your evaluation of the available data is superior to the independent experts in the field?

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      For sure I don’t understand the difference between chemical makeups of these compounds, I’m not a chemist and never claimed to be one. That is why I said there is much to learn yet and understand. The opinion is inconclusive, regardless of how many studies it is based on. No studies have been done yet for the long-term, that is to say, testing to see if parabens affect the body over a 5-10 period (or longer.) Estrogen is known to stimulate tumor growth and parabens are accused of causing hormonal disruption, so that study needs to be done: over the long term and accounting for accumulation in the body and exposure to various types and concentrations of parabens that would represent the average teen-age girl and women who uses many, many cosmetic and personal care products each day.

      As to why I think my evaluation is superior – I wouldn’t say it exactly like that, it makes me sound like a hard-a** individual! :P But – why I I trust my own opinions over those who have done the testing? Quite simply: ” I am not influenced by the big companies!” I don’t know the testers but see where they can be influenced to come to certain conclusion or rather, not come to any at all!

      In my business, I am not influenced by any of my suppliers – if they make products that have questionable ingredients, I drop them and find someone else: simple.

      But again Perry, this has a lot to do with the overall safety of cosmetics and personal care products and the FDA’s standard of testing (or lack of really.) The heavy metals in products that are allowed are insane and many of these ingredients are allowed in “certain concentrations” which are not really monitored and that needs to change. Even in the case of the Benetint lipgloss that contained 10x higher than allowed levels of lead – I haven’t seen any recall notices, and this is where the problem lies.

      We need more testing, stricter testing and better repercussions from manufacturers who fail to adhere to those policies. We need long-term studies done on the ingredients that are allowed in these products to ensure they are safe. Face it, we lather a crap load of stuff on newborn babies whose bodies are not mature enough to filter out toxins like adults bodies do and with all the increases in illness and diseases, we need to ensure that every product we use is a safe as it can be. There are enough toxins in the world that we can’t avoid (environmental, new houses etc.) so we need to make sure we limit the amount of toxins our bodies have to work at filtering out. We make our bodies work too hard and that’s where our problems begin.

       
  10. Dene Godfrey

    May 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Tamara, I certainly respect your willingness to engage in debate, but I have to question almost everything you say (and I would do so, were it not for Perry and Colin already having covered many points). One example is your statement “parabens and other contaminated ingredients”. Parabens are NOT contaminated ingredients – on what basis can you possibly make that statement? What are the contaminants in the various parabens? Your beliefs (and they are ONLY beliefs) are not substantiated by any hard science. You admit that you are not a chemist yet you feel qualified to write a book condemning chemicals with no understanding of what you are saying; only your beliefs. Is that really a good basis for sharing information? Your inability to accept the conclusion of an independent panel of experts (the SCCS referred to by Perry) suggests that you will only accept information that fits in neatly with your beliefs – in which case your book doesn’t really hold much water in terms of credibility, although it will certainly appeal to those who share your beliefs, in exactly the same way that a professor of history recently decided that he was also sufficiently qualified to write a similar book. I wonder how he would feel if I decided to write a history book? Your views are so typically USA-centric, and only focus on the shortcomings of the FDA in terms of cosmetic regulation, but much of what happens in the European Union is reflected in the US market, and the regulations there are widely admired in the USA – the end result is the same – safe cosmetics. Please spare us the “toxins” story – it is simply not accurate. Of the thousand or so different natural substances in a cup of coffee only 28 had been tested for carcinogenicity (in 1998) – 19 of them tested positive so, on this basis, you really should be also writing a book about the dangers of coffee. I suspect that you won’t, but it is exactly the same situation you are describing for cosmetics. There are no long term studies on those carcinogens in coffee such as those you propose for every synthetic substance. Will you now stop drinking coffee (and eating the many foods than contain higher levels of formaldehyde than most cosmetics; most of which never enters the body anyway)?

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks Dene and as my debate with Perry and Colin show – there will be individuals on both sides of the fence until concrete, unbiased, long-term studies are done and that’s all there is to it. I am not asking you to jump on my side of the fence and I think it’s good that you debate with me because it asks questions and only through questions do we find answers. Many advocate groups are asking questions (EWG, David Suzuki Foundation, Green Patriot Working Group, Organic Consumer Association etc.) and through those questions we will find answers. I am one of many concerned consumers who read the works and words of these advocate groups and reflect the same questions. I have done what I can to reduce these “questionable” toxins from my everyday products and let those who ask, know what products I avoid. I am not shoving this info down anyone’s throat, nor do I tell anyone I am an expert by any means. I am a mom. I am a consumer. I have seen enough disease, illness and suffering to know that I want to try to do something for healthier living and that means starting with what goes on/in our bodies.

      Once a study is done in a controlled setting over a long period of time I will be satisfied. Darbre’s study showed parabens in all the breast tumor biopsies – does this mean parabens CAUSED beast cancer? No. The study wasn’t done correctly and therefore, it can’t be conclusive one way or the other. But any scientist and observer would note the coincidence and wonder. The fact that parabens are not being eliminated from the body, the fact that these compounds/chemicals/whatever – are being left in the body, can not be good but it’s up to science to the proper studies.

      Further studies are being recommended for the rat/mice study to determine what role parabens played in elevating the likeliness of carcinogenic activity as there was a big difference between rats and mice and the male and females. Parabens are thought by many to be an endocrine disruptor and those studies must be done properly to provide acceptable data. If these do mess with hormonal levels, and raised estrogen levels are linked to activating tumor growth, then A=B, B=C therefore A must also =C.

      What I’m getting at is that there is not enough evidence. It’s not about “studies prove they are ‘not expected to be harmful to human health’ “. It’s about proving they are safe – period. Prove to Me, that these chemical compounds do not cause health issues, prove to me that controlled studies have been done to ensure that organs are not affected by these ingredients. The FDA gives guidelines on what is ‘expected to be safe’ and places restrictions on what the acceptable allowable concentration is for these ingredients. Well, I ask you: If they (chemicals) are not harmful – why are there restrictions? The SCCS is one study that points towards certain parabens being fine, but other parabens questionable and requiring further testing, yet no indication of when that testing will occur! Yet other studies point towards possible health concerns, but again, no word of controlled, long-term studies to answer these questions.

      The problem with this market is $$$$$$. It’s all about money, money, money. How can consumers believe researches and testers that may be paid off to skew results or word their analysis in favor of the manufacturers? Not all manufacturers follow guidelines do they? As is the case with Benetint who had very high levels of lead in their lip gloss – but it was allowed to be sold on the market anyways and I didn’t hear of any recalls yet either. THIS is why consumers are confused and wary of anyone who defends these manufacturers. It’s time to get the proper studies done and provide full disclosure – consumers are demanding it! They are smart, concerned and are quickly learning how to read between the lines.

      As for writing books – anyone can write books Dene! You could write a history book, sure, professors of history may disagree with you, but so what? Many people wrote their own versions of religion years ago – so who’s right? I could write a book about coffee, and food additives that are not safe but it will have to wait until I finish my other book. There are so many things to write about, so many things to learn and research, but only so many hours in the day!

      I do appreciate the comments though, seriously I do! Trying to knock me off my foundation is pointless though because I do believe and listen to the big advocate groups and while I don’t take each thing they say seriously without further information, they do largely influence my position. So if you, Perry and Colin, and any other pro-chemical people, want to get people to stop believing the “green-hype”, you need to address your comments to the big groups like EWG, Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Green Patriot, Safe Cosmetics and so on.

      Oh, and on my comment of ‘parabens and other contaminated ingredients’, apologies…..this was mis-worded. I did not mean to indicate that I believed parabens were contaminated ingredients, they are in a class of their own. I meant to convey that parabens are in the same questionable category of ingredients as others that are being accused of having health risks. The government agencies need to work hard to prove they are safe for consumers. The FDA hides behind the statements of:

      “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD&C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.”

      http://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productandingredientsafety/selectedcosmeticingredients/ucm128042.htm

      That statement and type of message tells the public that right now we believe it’s ok but we could be wrong! Mixed with the fact that the FDA allows other harmful ingredients (like Coal-Tar, known carcinogen) into products – it’s no wonder consumers don’t believe the FDA! Why would you believe an organization that 1. Has already admitted they can’t police everything and 2. Allows toxic chemicals into products and still allows them to be sold to consumers? I know the FDA tries, but not hard enough and consumers, as I mentioned before, are skeptical and smart and the questions will not stop.

      There are many ‘natural’ products on the market that do not contain these ingredients and they work just as good, if not better. So why are these ingredients even necessary? I look on the back of kids shampoos and lotions and shake my head – the label is uber-long with many compound chemical names and numbers and why? Why are they necessary, why all the synthetic junk, fragrances and colors? For the short-term, it’s no wonder kids have skin problems and allergies when they use this stuff!

      But – it’s all about research and properly controlled and conducted studies. Get the EWG or Suzuki Foundation or Green Patriot or Environmental Defence of any big advocate green group involved and have them part of the research team when doing these studies. THEN you know consumers will believe the results. Until then, I will continue on my belief but also continue to read, monitor and learn new information. I have no problem learning new things and if I every do learn something is safe, I am totally fine making retractions. For now, I stand my ground and viewpoint for my children’s long-term health and hopefully soon we will all have the answers we look for!

       
  11. Perry Romanowski

    May 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    If cosmetics were determined to be completely safe, the EWG (or any other advocacy group) would be defunct. They have a financial incentive to keep the myth alive. They would never participate in such a study because doing so would lead to their own destruction.

    I still fail to understand how you can espouse the believes you do but then sell children’s products laced with toxic chemicals like Citric acid and Stearic acid. It seems inconsistent.

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Perry, If cosmetics were deemed to be completely safe many chemists would be out of jobs too! This is the problem, it’s hard to take someone’s word seriously when they have a something to gain from what they say or conclude. I don’t think any product is completely safe – but it’s about choosing the safest out there and hoping that one day we’ll get some good strong, unbiased, studies completed.

      I think EWG and other advocacy groups would LOVE to participate in research studies – it would keep a level playing field. Even the FDA does not close the door on the potential for harm in these ingredients and that’s why they indicate that if new evidence arises they will look at it. These studies are necessary because you are on one side of the fence, I’m on the other and neither will budge with the information at hand. I stand by my beliefs and will continue to do so until the big advocacy groups bring forward new information. I will believe them (especially those that do not get corporate sponsorship) before I believe others that may be corrupted. How can I put my trust in an organization who allows carcinogenic ingredients (Coal-Tar, Formladehyde etc.) to be in consumer products, even if it’s only allowed in “specific concentrations?” How can I trust that same organization who says they can not police the industry and even if something violates the guidelines, they can’t force mandatory recalls! Hello?

      This is why consumers are confused and uncertain, because what we once thought was safe, may not be but until further testing, there is no concrete evidence either way! Herbal Essences recently reformulated because they violated the allowable amount of 1,4 Dioxane. Whereas 10 ppm are allowed under proposition 65, Herbal Essences contained 23 ppm. Was it the government who noticed this level and demanded change? No. Was it the manufacturer who said “Oooops!” and prompted the change? No. Was it the testing companies the manufacturers hired, who said, “Dudes, not cool – you have to reformulate this, it’s violates proposition 65? No.

      It was green advocacy groups (Green Patriot, Organic Consumers Association, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Clean Water Action California) who stood up and made P&G take notice and action. This is the reason consumers follow this movement – because they expose interesting facts that are not normally available. Olay Complete Body Wash with Vitamins is also 23 ppm, Hello Kitty Bubble Bath is 12 ppm and Johnson’s Kids Shampoo Watermelon Explosion is at the highest allowable amount of 10ppm. (1,4 Dioxane for those readers who are not aware is strongly suggested to cause cancer as well as other health issues. It is currently banned in the EU and flagged for further investigation by the CEPA. It appears as a by-product so it’s not necessary to include it on the labels. It contaminates almost 50% of personal care products and is often found when ingredients like “PEG” or “eth” are used.)

      As for what I sell, I am always looking for safer products and try to offer the best that I can find. Nothing is perfect but there are certain ingredients that I vow to stay away from until proper research is conducted (long-term controlled unbiased studies).

      It’s the lesser of the evils, and like many consumers, I’m learning how to read between the lines. Hopefully soon there will be solid evidence one way or the other but until then, you and I will be opposite sides of our friendly debate! I do value the debate because it keeps me objective and with each question I find answers. Sometimes they are in my favor, other times they may make me reverse my position on something – I’m not afraid to say I was wrong, but I am afraid to readily believe what the gov’t says and put my kids health at risk just because the “big boys” said it was safe! :)

       
    • BebeautySmart (Dina)

      May 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Perry, do you really think companies care about our health? Don’t be naive. Companies use those harmful ingredients because they are cheap, not because they are so good for the skin. “They have a financial incentive to keep the myth alive.” They want profit.
      EWG doesn’t sell anything to you, they are a non profit organization.

      If you want money and profit on your products and you can do whatever you want, because the regulation (in the States) are not strict about chemicals and all the chemicals are cheap- would you care about if the chemicals are safe or not?

      Did you ever watch a commercial about any skin care product? They use words like “new technology” “innovation system”, etc. (I call it bullshit.)
      It’s called marketing tricks and misleading.

      Companies spend more than 60% of advertising and marketing, not for the product’s quality. This is why you can never see any real organic skin care products in the TV or in Wallmart, because they spend their money on the actual product.

       
      • dene62

        June 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm

        @Dina – you are so clearly baised against “companies” that you are unable to be reasoned with. Real people work in those companies who are so merciless in their apparent slaughter of innocent consumers! Do you really think that those people are so without conscience that this could happen anyhwere near on the scale you seem to be claiming? You talk in far too general terms to be meaningful. Not all “chemicals” are cheap, and cost is in no way related to toxicity. Your argument holds little logic – you seem to have an objection to companies (presumably mainly the large ones), so your argument is more about politics than safety. Those large corporations take far more care over the safety of their products than the thousands of tiny operations that sell at your Farmer’s Markets (known as Craft Fairs in the UK). There is far more bullshit (to use your own terminology) employed by those same small companies that claim 100% natural cosmetics – in 99% of cases, they are lying.

         
  12. dene godfrey

    May 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Again, you openly admit that you are not a chemist, yet you write a book that makes statements of “fact” based only on your uninformed opinions (tarnishing ALL ingredients that contain a certain combination of letters in the name, for example). Despite the fact that you state that they are your opinions in this blog discussion, people reading your book will take them as unassailable “fact”- “facts” that you are not qualified to claim or deduce. Even if you made it clear in your book that it is only your opinion and not fact, it will still get translated into “fact” by elements who believe this sort of misinfomation. As another example, and one close to my heart, you state that Darbre detected parabens in breast cancer tumours – and go on to make that into a very suspicious finding. But the FACT is that her work did NOT prove unequivocally that parabens were present in those tissues, in spite of many scientists also thinking they were (even if they don’t believe any connection between parabens and breast cancer) – not many scientists have actually read the entire study – even fewer have done any constructive thinking about it.

    I fail to understand how cosmetic scientists would also be out of a job if cosmetics were safe (in your response to Perry’s assertion that the EWG have a vested interest). You seem to imply that cosmetic scientists don’t have any consideration for the safety of the ingredients they use, and I find this quite offensive.

    It seems to me that you have written a book to demonise the sort of ingredients that are commonly used in products by your large competitors in order to boost sales of your own products. If the book was based on solid facts, I would have no issue with this, but it is not. You are putting your own OPINION up against the carefully-considered decisions of panels of experienced, independent scientists in some cases. I do not understand how you can make that type of judgement as a non-chemist. By all means, sell your products, but sell them honestly, on their own merits, not by spreading information of (at best) dubious validity to put other ingredients in a negative light.

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      May 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      You don’t have to be a fashion designer to write about fashion. My book is backed up by statements and facts from many organizations including but not limited to: FDA, NCBI, EWG, David Suzuki, MSDS and other books of the same. You will not change my opinion Dene and you can try to continue pushing forward your belief of the safety of these chemical ingredients but I’m not buying it or changing my beliefs. Not until, at least, HUMAN studies are conducted in controlled environments over a short-term and long-term period.

      The “Green” Movement is growing with more and more media around full disclosure on products. The AAD (American Academy of Pediatrics) is also pushing for better safeguards on products designed for pregnant women and for children. Can you argue with the AAD?Would you tell the doctors they are wrong in thinking these chemicals are harmful to fetuses and young children?

      It’s easy to battle it out with me because I don’t have a degree in chemistry – true. But I read, I research, I see the increase in ill health and have brains enough to see that what we put on our bodies goes in our bodies and it just can’t plain be good for us – fact! :)

      I know enough that manufacturers don’t want to put all the ingredients on products and love that anything with a “fragrance” ingredient is “protected” from disclosing the ingredients according to labeling guidelines. What’s in that secret formula is scary and dangerous and it’s no wonder consumers don’t believe or trust “the big guys”!

      Give me human studies, real studies, and disclose all the data – then we’ll be able to make sound decisions. Not just me – I’m a small fry! But the big advocates, the general public and even the FDA can say with certainty that this IS or IS NOT safe – period.

      As for book writing, I’m thinking of writing another titled “How to Enjoy Friendly Debates and Stand Your Ground.” I’m not a literary professional or a lawyer, but I think I could give it a go! :)

      Cheers,
      Tamara

       
  13. Dene Godfrey

    May 31, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Your comparison between fashion design and cosmetic science is simply not valid. Fashion deisgn is almost entirely subjective, whereas cosmetic science is highly objective. You state “I also could not understand how different types of something could be so different – ie. How methyl and ethyl parabens could be considered safe and yet butyl and propyl parabens possibly dangerous. ” Precisely – you don’t understand, yet you write the book! Please try to imagine the frustration of those who take great care to develop safe cosmetics when they see their work being criticised by a rank amateur with no scientific background. At the risk of labouring the point, you (with no science) choose to refuse to accept the findings of the SCCS; ignoring their cumulative (independent) expertise, feeling that, somehow, you are better qualified to determine what tests are required to ensure the safety of ingredients. What you ask is virtually impossible, as it will never be feasible (on many levels) to test any substance to ensure absolute safety. Most of the tests you seem to require could never be carried out on humans for ethical reasons (and many practical reasons), so you will never be satisfied. Most of the stuides carried out on cosmetic ingredients are NOT carried out by cosmetics manufacturers – and most are published in peer-reviewed journals, so your implication that the situation is otherwise is not accurate.

    For the record, I am not especially trying to change your mind – there is little chance of that, as you come from a position of belief, not based in fact – but I am trying to make sure that any “neutral” person reading this will see your book for what it is, and understand the position of the vast majority of the cosmetics industry, and not be fooled by the tired mantra about safety being sacrificed for profit. Most manufacturers DO put the ingredients on their products (fragrance is another separate discussion), especially the major ones who get the most vilifcation, as this is the law. If the consumers “don’t trust the big guys”, how come they ARE the “big guys”. Because most consumers DO trust them – they sell the majority of cosmetics! If consumers didn’t trust them, they would no longer have 90% of the market between the top 10 players. This is blatant distortion; stating your personal opinion as fact, when it is clearly not the case.

    Finally, I will comment on your choice of title. “Toxic Shampoo and Bath Chemical . . . “That is nonsense, as there is no proof that this ingredient causes any toxic effect when used in shampoos. You may as well write an article entitled “Coffee contains at least 19 toxic substances, having been shown to be carcinogens”, because it is equally true, and I note that you have not directly responded on the point I made earlier. It makes as much sense to try to ban cocamidopropylbetaine as it does coffee, and I will end on the observation that this substance and many others used in “conventional” cosmetics have vastly more toxicity data available than the “natural” ingredients used in your products that you are using your book to promote.

    I appreciate that you have kept a cool head during this discussion, and I apologise for the terse nature of my comments, but this is due to my extremem frustration at the use of poor arguments and misinformation to sell a book. Thanks for your time and effort in engaging.

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      June 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      You are right Dene – we will never see eye to eye.

      Human studies for safety must be done, what I can’t accept is that these companies, our government says the products are “safe” but really – who knows? Tell me that Dene – “How do you know those chemical ingredients are safe both for short-term and long-term when they have not been studied both independently and in combination with other chemical ingredients?”

      They are the Big Guys because up until the last year or so, no one challenged them! Now, people are starting to ask questions and they want to know. Can you blame them? For years they used the toxic trio in nail polishes – why not? The gov’t said it was ok, the companies said it was ok, but guess what? It’s not ok. Now there is less and less of the toxic trio. Consumers wonder about the other chemicals and if those too will someday soon be banned because they were found to be dangerous.

      You make it sound as if I have a hidden agenda, when in fact I do not Dene. I wrote the book long after opening my store and have written it based on many customer questions and works done by EWG and David Suzuki Foundation. I wrote it as a quick guide for customers and for myself when shopping for my products and those for my children. The book was fun to write and I still refer to it to look up alternate names for chemical ingredients, but I would never lean too far to one side in order to sell it! You see, those are the companies you need to push to change their way of thought (EWG, David Suzuki etc.) because they are big and do their own research and consumers who don’t trust “The other guys” trust them!

      I understand your frustration and am equally frustrated by you and people like you. Pushing the safety of chemical down our throats and convincing us that they are safe and won’t hurt us – when in fact: You don’t really know do you? (I mean REALLY know – you have not done human studies to really know the short & long term effects.)

      Can I say my products are safe? No. You are right there is much less data on natural products and hopefully that changes soon too because we need to quite overloading our bodies with toxins and it can only purge so much at one time. I can say they seem to be safer than the alternatives and for someone like me, who’s hands break out in a rash if I so much as touch something with chemicals (SLS, Coco-betaine, fragrance etc.) I can say none of my products now cause that reaction on my hands.

      As I said earlier, you have the AAD pushing for better regulations on these chemical ingredients and this will have to be addressed. You have experts who are now on the other side of the fence and they too are pushing for answers. It’s time the FDA does some real work and quits being so wishy-washy: this is why consumers don’t trust them. They say they can’t monitor everything and use words like “generally assumed to be safe”…Huh? Assumed? Generally? Can you see why consumers are leary?

      Ah, and as for my fashion comparative – it was meant to be funny! :) But as I said before, it was largely based on researched works of companies such as, but not limited to: EWG, David Suzuki Foundation, FDA, Green Patriot and other health sites. The research I read was taken with a grain of salt because there are fanatics out there and I’m not one of them. I’m just a mom, trying to do the best I can and to find the answers we need. I don’t trust governments who say something is safe one day and then ban it the next – so yes, I’m on the “other side of that fence!”

      Again, I understand your frustration Dene and have enjoyed the debate with you as well. I’m not saying any one side is 100% right or wrong. I’m saying there are truths on both sides and it’s going to take time, arguing and talking to figure it all out! :)

       
  14. BebeautySmart (Dina)

    June 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    @Dene62: I didn’t say women get breast cancer from deodorant as your post says. I say: parabens in cosmetics can cause problems in the long term.
    (The problems with antiperspirants are different.)

    You are the editor all of your links and although they are very informative, it’s very subjective and reflects your thoughts.

    That said, it appears the dermal route is the most significant form of exposure. In the featured editorial, Philip Harvey and David Everett explain why:

    “… [T]he dermal route of exposure is considered more plausible when intact esters are detected, and other authors reporting human exposures and body fluid concentrations of paraben esters consider cosmetics of some form or another as the likely sources… This is because the metabolic esterase activity of the gut and liver (relevant to oral exposure) is considered to greatly exceed that of the skin, and oral exposures would result in rapid liver metabolism of the esters to produce the common metabolite p-hydroxybenzoic acid… Paraben esters typically used in cosmetics pass through human skin in vitro/ex vivo, and Ishiwatrai et.al. (2007) has shown persistence of unmetabolized methylparaben in the skin”

    One of the key observations by Harvey and Everett is that:

    “The tenet that there “is no evidence that personal care products (antiperspirants or deodorants) are related to breast cancer” is technically correct, but only because studies have not been conducted to investigate any relationships. Such arguments provide false assurance by masking the inadequacies of empirical evidence and knowledge.”

    Marisa Weiss, MD, does not believe in taking chances with breast health. Weiss, the president and founder of Breastcancer.org and director of Breast Radiation Oncology and Breast Health Outreach at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, Pa., is a breast cancer survivor.

    “There are parabens in many personal products that can be taken into the body in different ways and can stay in you,” she says. “Our tissues can be storage lockers for chemical such as parabens.”

    “Better safe than sorry,” she says. “Avoid products that contain hormonally active ingredients, including parabens.”

    You say: the environmental levels of butylparaben are so low that there is no risk. I say: it’s true if you use 1 product once, or maximum twice in your life. But how many product an average woman uses with this low concentration of butylparaben? And how long?

    My only problem with this “most companies are putting less than 1% in their formulations…” is we don’t only use one product, but many and all those 1% concentrations accumulate. Not to mention if we like a product we use it for years.
    You can find parabens in almost everything: body wash, shampooo, conditioner, leave-in hair treatments, makeup, moisturizer, hair spray, lip balm, etc.
    So it’s already not 1%…

    The FDA states on their website that it relies on the manufacturers themselves to test their products for safety before marketing. The FDA also expects them to properly label their products.

    I don’t trust the government, I don’t trust the big pharma and yes, I believe that the pharmaceutical industry has no interest in healthy people, because then their profit will cease. Thus, I will choose natural skin care brands and organic foods from local farmers.

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      June 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      This is the big issue – how much are we getting ‘in total’ and how much stays in.

       
    • dene62

      June 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

      And you are the “editor” of your own comments, Dina! Whilst I may be the “editor” of my own articles, I actually rely on published evidence and reasoned discussion.

      Your claims about 1% “accumulating” are not based on any scientific evidence, but pure supposition. Parabens are not proven to accumulate – they are demonstrably excreted!

      Your comments about “big pharma” are totally irrelevant to a discussion on cosmetics – there is no comparison in the way the industries operate – and you will see if you check out my heavily-edited link: http://personalcaretruth.com/2012/03/cosmetics-pharmaceuticals-tobacco-no-comparison/comment-page-1/
      :-)

       
      • Bebeautysmart (Dina)

        July 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm

        Yes Dene, but I do research just as you do. The only difference between you and me is that I don’t send a link to you about my site…as you do…

        “Since 2000, thirteen studies have shown that parabens display estrogenic activity.
        Other studies have also shown that parabens have accumulated in breast cancer tissue. Although paraben supporters claim that the body breaks the chemical down quickly, these studies show that complete parabens accumulated in the tumors, not being broken down at all. It has been proven that excess estrogen does lead to reproductive cancers (like breast and uterine cancer), and it has been proven that parabens act like estrogen and accumulate in the body. The dots haven’t been officially connected by the FDA, but the case for parabens looks pretty grim. The European Journal of Cancer Prevention reported that “Frequency and earlier onset of antiperspirant/deodorant usage with underarm shaving were associated with an earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis.”
        (Stephanie Greenwood-chemist)

        Or check out this site: http://mademoisellenature.blogspot.ca/
        She has a PhD in Biochemistry/Cell Biology and she has worked in Cancer research for a few years. She says the same thing: parabens are bad.

        Big pharma:

        I guess you never read The Medical Mafia by Ghislaine Lanctot…Or never watched this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQAlY7p7GKE&feature=related

        I really suggest you to read that book and watch that documentary and do more research about it…

        I would be the most happiest person if “big pharma” cared about our healthy. :)

         
      • dene62

        July 24, 2012 at 10:12 pm

        @ Dina – I don’t seem to be able to reply directly to your comment, Dina, so I will have to add my thoughts here. The links are not to MY web site – they are to articles that I have written. I see no problem with this – it saves me writing everything here.
        It’s not only “paraben supporters” that claim parabens break down – that is not an argument. There is NO study that proves that parabens accumulate in breast tissue – none whatsoever. At best Darbre’s shockingly bad study may demonstrate a presence – to infer accumulation from that study is to ignore scientific process. To claim accumulation, an increase must be seen over time – otherwise, only a presence may be claimed – you are taking too many steps and missing out some logic.
        There is no proof that parabens mimic oestrogen – indeed the only study to have looked at the effect on global gene expression demonstrated unequivocally that parabens behaved differently to oestradiol – the claim cannot be substantiated – you are relying only on internet noise, and this is heavily distorted.

        Stephanie Greenwood is NOT a chemist. She only has a very basic level of knowledge, and frequently gets fairly simple things wrong, as you would see if you read some of the blog posts in which I have commented. She is a very nice lady. and tries to get things right, but she is NOT a reliable source of information. If things look so “grim” for parabens, perhaps you could explain this to the SCCS, who I have mentioned previously.

        MademoiselleNature may have a PhD, but she doesn’t know much about cosmetics. Being highly qualified in one field doesn’t automatically mean you know everything about science.

        Again, “Big pharma” is of absolutely no relevance to this discussion, so I fail to understand why you have mentioned it.

         
  15. BebeautySmart (Dina)

    June 28, 2012 at 2:04 am

    @Perry:
    1. Here is the evidence that you wanted from me (but this conversation doesn’t go anywhere, because it’s the same when atheist and believer are talking about God: no one can convince each other even with evidence):
    “Laura Vandenberg, PhD,is a postdoctoral fellow of biology at the Center for Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Tufts University in Massachusetts. She and her team just published a landmark study in the journal Endocrine Reviews showing that the way we test chemicals for health effects on humans is ineffective and in desperate need of revising. In fact, when it comes to hormone-disrupting chemicals, tiny doses could actually be more harmful than the higher doses commonly tested. Read the whole article: http://ht.ly/bQafx
    This is also scientific evidence for the accumulation.
    Btw: Did you read my comment to @Dene62? I mentioned there also some scientific facts.

    2. Take as an example natural Vitamin C and synthetic Vitamin C and you will get the answer. (Evidence: http://www.foodkills.org/synthetics.html)

    It has become clear that the identical natural materials/substances made by cosmetic chemists don’t quite behave the same as the agents of the real plants in which there is harmonious interaction.

    The experience of recent years shows that the natural products (herbs, vegetables, fruits, beeswax, thermal water, thermal soil, etc) are less foreign and toxic for the body and they have less side effects than their counterparts which has produced in the laboratory.

    And don’t forget of course that organic/natural products are better for the environment too.

    3. In many product mineral oil is the 2nd ingredient (eg. body lotion), so yes, I did the math and mineral oil is more profitable than eg, argan oil. And then, the rest ingredients are all preservatives and stabilizers, thickeners, etc. anyways. So if we are talking about an actual agent, then for companies mineral oil will be cheaper and better. Besides mineral oil shelf life is endless anyways, so they love using it.
    And believe me they will notice a 3 cent/per bottle difference, because we are talking about thousands of products, so of course every penny matters. It’s called business.
    The point is it’s not only one ingredient that they save pennies on, but all of them. They won’t say to the manufacturer: use just one cheap ingredient.
    Bottom line: companies care about their dollars. Even tho only saving 3 cents on one ingredient may not look like a lot, however when you factor in the shier volume companies produce this 3 cents can quickly become millions of dollars. They don’t produce just one product, but millions.
    Because natural ingredients are expensive the profit margin is reduced. In addition, the natural materials can not be patented, but a patent can put billions of dollars in their pocket. Synthetic materials are cheaper. The plants have to be harvested by hands or machines. The extraction of the substance from them is expensive and complicated. How much easier to synthesize everything for pennies, right?

    (Either you are a very bad business man, or you are bad in math….sorry….)

    4. There are some differences between natural companies and synthetic companies :

    a, synthetic companies put their money in advertising, natural companies put their money in the actual product,
    b, natural companies (I am talking about the real natural ones) use just natural ingredients, even the preservatives are natural
    c, synthetics don’t have the same effects as plants, moreover, many of them are toxic, allergenic or carcinogenic.
    d, I use natural skin care products to prevent any skin problem (plus I eat healthy), they don’t cause me eczema as “big brands”, so you’re not right here. If a natural product doesn’t cause me dry, flaky, itchy spots, then I will buy that one over and over again
    e, people pay 40-60% for the advertising, not for the product (if it’s synthetic). For natural products you are paying for the ingredients. Which do you think is the better deal?

    5. I think Martha made good points even if she is not a chemist. Let’s face it: I had products that after 3 years were still good. This never happens with natural brands, because there is no synthetic ingredients in them.

    6. Believe me or not, I didn’t use always natural products, so simply say I already believe it so I make the connection is not true.
    I asked my clients about their skin care routine, diet and lifestyles, what kind of product they use. Slowly, but surely we discovered that there is a big connection between all their breakouts and petrolatum. I am sure many of them are allergic.

    I didn’t know that rabbit ear and human skin are the same…Hmm..They actually applied petrolatum to patients who already had acne. This is also interesting.
    I will do more research about it, but until then try on those who doesn’t have acne. But I guess it depends on the grade of the petrolatum too. Lower grade probably clogs, because that’s what happened to my clients.
    The hydratation of the skin depends on the work of the natural moisturizing factors (NMF) and how much water gets into the body (basically how much water you drink), not on the petrolatum. Petrolatum doesn’t stimulate the skin to do the “healing job” (moisturizing job) either.

    7. Skin doesn’t breath literally. When I say this, I mean pores are clogged or not. But I also read this somewhere: The skin is said to “breath” because it takes oxygen and discharges carbon dioxide. The amount of carbon dioxide released by the skin in one hour is about one percent of the carbon dioxide released by the lungs at the same time. That is why walking by the beach especially at nighttime is very beneficial for your skin health and well-being. I also learned about cell respiration and inner respiration (when the oxygen goes to the cells from blood vessels and and carbon dioxide back…). Maybe my teacher was wrong.

    8. I am afraid of man made, synthetic, harsh chemicals which has produced in the laboratory, like unnecessary additives. I didn’t know you won’t understand what I meant…

     
    • Perry Romanowski (@thejoggler)

      June 28, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      You are mistaken. You could convince me of any of your positions. You just need to show convincing evidence. You don’t show evidence. You ignore anything that would disagree with your point (e.g. the proof that synthetic methylparaben doesn’t build up as you’ve claimed) and focus on only things that agree with what you want to believe. I have no unmovable beliefs.

      For example, you could convince me that companies use synthetics because they are cheaper. But you haven’t provided any evidence except your opinion. I worked for a large cosmetic company who made Tresemme shampoo from synthetic ingredients. I personally formulated the product. No body told me I had to use synthetic ingredients. No body told me to replace natural ingredients with synthetic ones because they are cheaper. So, how do you explain that? It goes in direct conflict with what you have said is true. What is your evidence?

       
      • Bebeautysmart (Dina)

        July 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

        Perry, then I have no idea what kind of evidence you want from me and you are being rude by assuming I ignore anything that would disagree with my point. I could tell you the same, look at your answers.

        Check any synthetic ingredients on the market as a proof that they are cheap. You don’t believe me, do your reasearch, I don’t have to prove anything.

        You formulated the product from those ingredients that they probably told you to use. Unless that company who madeTresemme is your own company and you deicide about the ingredients, you barely have any saying. Or did you actually tell them what ingredients you want to use (then you made a poor job)? Did you pay for them, or the compay did?

        What do you want to prove with this anyway? It’s not an evidence of anything, just an example that you worked with synthetic ingredients. So what? I don’t even use anymore Tresemme, because it’s bad quality. Go and check what others (ppl who don’t care about natural stuffs) say about it too. Almost every Tresemme product got a very bad feed back. So…If I was you I wouldn’t be proud that you formulated it.

        Again: I don’t have to prove anything. You should prove me that synthetic ingredients are soo good and so effective. I can’t wait!:)

         
  16. Glowing Organics

    September 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks for this very interesting article Tamara. I am an internet marketer but i also Independently represent Miessence and i truly believe they have the purest organic skincare range available.

    Cocamidopropyl Betaine is what led me to your site as a couple of my non-miessence products contain this ingredient but it is actually on the list of miessences toxic ingredients.

    I market other organic products and during my on-going research of ingredients i have noticed that these labels organic, certified organic, made with organic ingredients are seriously being abused and the average shopper just would not have a clue. Not to say that the companies that use Cocamidopropyl Betaine are the abusers but i definately believe consumers need 100% clarification of ingredients so they can personally make the correct choice.

     
    • dene62

      September 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      Glowing Organics – I have just been looking at your web site with great interest. You seem to enjoy scaring your customers into buying your “earth-friendly” products. Your idea of 100% clarification of ingredients doesn’t appear to include mentioning the truth, more to spread the nonsense about synthetic chemicals that has increasingly invaded the internet in recent years. You espouse a “natural” lifestyle, yet you admit to taking vitamin and mineral supplements? Why would you do this if your “normal” diet was balanced and “natural”. Humans evolved in the total absence of “supplements” in any form. It is NOT “natural” to take supplements – eat properly and they are redundant. I realise that this is somewhat off topic, but your whole web site is based on dubious claims of various types. Any list of “toxic” ingredients is meaningless (Miessence), because most substances can be toxic – it depends largely on the dose.

      “Organic simply means that no chemicals were used in the manufacture of a product and in growing the ingredients that comprised it. Organic skincare products are made without using any preservatives, chemicals, or other synthetic materials.”

      No, organic does NOT mean this. Many “organic” chemicals are NOT natural. Organic products CAN and DO contain preservatives. Only this morning, I received notification from the Soil Association approving the use of benzyl alcohol (synthetic) as a preservative in a cosmetic product that was receiving their “organic” certification.

      “Studies show that almost 60% of chemicals found in conventional commercial skincare products and cosmetics find their way into the bloodstream. Although trace amounts of these chemicals may not pose significant threat, an accumulation can be potentially toxic. (Is it worth the risk?) By using organic skincare products, you eliminate the risk of chemicals seeping into your bloodstream”

      This is absolute nonsense and should be removed immediately from your web site. It is nothing more than pure scaremongering, because there is absolutely no truth in this claim in the form in which you are using it. For some truth on this issue, may I suggest that you take the time to read these articles:
      http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/01/skin-is-our-largest-organ/

      http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/03/skin-is-our-largest-organ-part-2/

      Sorry to be so blunt, but I am fed up of seeing the same nonsense on the internet time and time again. You are misleading your customers with your claims.

       
  17. Ann

    December 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Kogi Naturals has very good shampoos and conditioners from Canada.

    For general moisturizing, I use virgin coconut oil from the Philippines.

    To reduce wrinkles, I use unrefined Shea butter from Nigeria.

    Read more about bad chemicals: http://davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/dirty-dozen-cosmetic-chemicals/

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      December 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      I agree, I love their hair care products, as well as Carina Organics. They lather well (shampoos) and rinse nicely. No irritation or bad effects, shiny healthy hair. Also agree with Coconut oil and Shea butter – my hair and skin has never been better! Thanks for the comment!

       
      • dene62

        December 6, 2012 at 8:20 am

        @Ann – I am afraid that the David Suzuki Foundation simply perpetuates many common myths and general nonsense about certain ingredients (although there ARE some correct facts in there somewhere). Any site that states “Parabens are the most widely used preservative in cosmetics. They are also used as fragrance ingredients, but consumers won’t find that listed on the label” clearly cannot be trusted to know or or understand what they are talking about. If they DID know what they were talking about, they would not make the ridiculous claim that parabens are used as fragrance ingredients – none of the parabens have any any odour, so why would they be used as fragrance ingredients? I know that this is only one example (there ARE many others, however), but it is highly indicative of the nonsense published far too often by that organisation. And far too many people don’t understand enough about the science, or the reality to know that it is nonsense – but it is!

        And, whilst I am writing, I must express my disappointment that Glowing Organics haven’t bothered to respond to my comments. I haven’t checked their web site, but I will make the dangerous assumption that they are carrying merrily on their way with their misleading and inaccurate statements about, well, almost everything!

         
  18. dene62

    December 6, 2012 at 8:27 am

    And one small point to make in response to Dina – you may feel that you have got one over on Perry by rubbishing Tresemme, because he developed the product, but where your argument falls down is that simple fact that this brand is one of the largest-selling haircare brands globally. I don’t think Perry will particularly care about your rather childish attitude. Your claim that synethic products are all cheap indicates that you don’t buy any expensive synthetic products – no more than that – there are plenty of these around – I know, because I sell some of them! :-)

     
  19. Alonna Shaw

    January 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Tamara, thanks for this post. SLS and fragrance cause problems for me. Cut image to go with story, btw.

     
    • Alonna Shaw

      January 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      I mean “cute” image with story… oops!

       
  20. mac makeup uk

    January 31, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I blog frequently and I truly thank you for your information.
    This article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

     
  21. Louise

    November 7, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Everyone has it in their, products…inc MUKTI SHAMPOO,…its a synthetic…its from propyl family…its a naughty to avoid….its not organic, its not natural, its not a raw ingredient… Gypsy Rose shampoo is the only truly UN TAINTED SHAMPOO IN THE,WORLD…. And it works

     
    • tamaralaschinsky

      February 19, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say everyone has it in their products, Carina Organics does not, nor do many other companies I’ve come across. As for untainted, does Gypsy Rose ensure their decyl glucoside come from an uncontaminated and non-GMO corn source?

       
    • dene62

      February 21, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Louise – please can you explain what you mean by your statement “it is from the propyl family”. What is the “propyl family” and what is the significance of this statement?

      And, secondly, have you checked out the ingredients every single shampoo product that is available globally?

       

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