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15 Toxic Trespassers

15 Toxic Trespassers

Harmful Chemicals to Avoid in Everyday Products

Did you know that there are toxic trespassers lurking in some of the products we use every day? Some of these chemicals are getting into our bodies and may be causing health problems. The following chemicals are of concern, particularly to women’s health.



Where It’s Found

Potential Health Problems

Avoiding It


No More Toxic Tub

Products that create suds, like

shampoo, soap, bubble bath, hair relaxers

Cancer, birth defects

Read labels to avoid chemicals that may signal the

presence of 1,4-dioxane, like sodium laureth sulfate,

PEG, “ceteareth”, and “oleth”.


Household Hazards

Glass cleaners, all-purpose spray cleaners

reduced fertility, low birth weight

Make your own non-toxic cleaners with WVE’s

recipes, or buy from the few companies that disclose

all ingredients on the label and look to avoid it.

Alkyl phenol ethoxylates


Household Hazards

Laundry detergents, stain removers, and all-purpose cleaners

reproductive harm

Make your own non-toxic cleaners with WVE’s

recipes, or buy from the few companies that disclose

all ingredients on the label and look to avoid it.

Ammonium quaternary


Disinfectant Overkill

Some disinfectant sprays, toilet

cleaners, alcohol-free hand sanitizers

occupational asthma, decreased fertility and birth defects

Reduce your use of disinfectant products; download

WVE’s Reduce Your Use of Disinfectants fact sheet

for ideas.

Bisphenol-A (BPA)

No Silver Lining

Plastics like baby bottles, sippy cups,

water bottles, and children's toys; can linings

breast cancer, early puberty, hormone disruption

Opt for fresh or frozen foods instead of canned, look

for plastics labeled “BPA-free” and never microwave plastic.

Formaldehyde Glossed Over

The Blowup on Blowouts

Some nail products, shampoos, body

washes, chemical hair straighteners

Cancer, skin and respiratory diseases.

Look for nail polishes and hardeners labeled “threefree”

or “formaldehyde-free” and avoid chemical hair straighteners.


Toxic Products Marketed to

Black Women

Skin lighteners

Cancer, immune system damage, reproductive/developmental harm


Avoid skin lighteners with hydroquinone listed on the label.

potential increased risk of breast cancer

Lead A Poison Kiss & Pretty Scary


Some lipsticks and other cosmetics,

sunscreens, whitening toothpastes,

children’s face paint

reproductive /developmental harm, nerve, joint, and muscle disorders, heart, bone, and kidney problems

Contact the company and ask if lead is a contaminant in the


Monoethanolamine (MEA)

Household Hazards

Some laundry detergents, all-purpose

cleaners and floor cleaners

occupational asthma

Make your own cleaners with WVE’s recipes or buy from

the few companies that disclose all ingredients on the label

and look to avoid it.

PBDEs (Flame retardants) Flame Retardants in Baby Products

Polyurethane foam padding in furniture,

children’s products

reproductive /developmental harm thyroid hormone disruption

Avoid products containing polyurethane foam which

indicate “TB117 compliant” on the label.

Look for products stu‑ed with cotton, polyester or wool

instead of foam.


Glossed Over

What’s That Smell?

Not So Sexy

Fragrances in cleaning products,

personal care products, cosmetics & nail


reduced fertility, increased risk of breast cancer, genital malformations in baby boys, increased allergic symptoms and asthma

in children

Avoid products with synthetic fragrance; look for fragrance

with essential oils or products labeled “fragrance-free.”

Look for nail polishes labeled “three-free” or “phthalatefree.”

Sodium laureth sulfate

No More Toxic Tub

Soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, and

products that create suds

Products containing these chemicals may

contain 1,4-dioxane

Read labels to avoid products containing sodium laureth


Synthetic musks: galaxolide

and tonalide

What’s That Smell?

Fragrances, such as in cleaning products

and personal care products

Hormone disruption, breakdown of the body’s defenses against

other toxic exposures, increased risk of breast cancer

Avoid products with synthetic fragrance; look for fragrance

with essential oils or products labeled “fragrance-free.”

Toluene Glossed Over

Nail salon products

headache, dizziness, fatigue, eyes, nose & throat irritation, reproductive/developmental harm

Look for nail polishes labeled “three-free” or “toluene-free.”

Triclosan- Disinfectant Overkill

Antibacterial hand & dish soaps, some

disinfectant products, tartar-control

toothpastes, fragrance

Hormone disruption, potential increased risk of breast cancer

Avoid antibacterial hand soap, and read labels to avoid

products containing triclosan as an active ingredient.


Look through our Personal Care category to find alternative products without these harmful chemicals.

Bathroom Card

Bathroom Card

Bathroom Card

Toxic and hazardous materials are present in almost all personal care products. Some of which are listed here.

Buy products from companies committed to manufacturing safe and effective formulas to avoid these ingredients.

Check for toxic ingredients by looking for the following decoders.

Hair care- Shampoo and conditioners

SLS, SLES, Quaternium, coal tar, DEA, TEA, alcohol, propylene glycol, formaldehyde, tallow, isopropanol.

Hair sprays and styling aids

DEA, BHA, TEA, alcohols, methylene chloride, toluene, fluorocarbons. The content of aerosol sprays can penetrate in the lungs and bloodstream.


Fluoride, SLS saccharin, propylene glycol, artificial colors and flavors.

Shaving cream

SLS, propylene glycol, DEA, TEA, MEA, PEG


Alcohol (more than 25% content is linked to mouth, tongue and throat cancer.) SLS, artificial colors and flavors. The lining of the mouth is the quickest way to the bloodstream.


Aluminum- linked to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, propylene glycol, alcohol, triclosan

Baby products- wipes and lotions

Alcohol, BHA, propylene glycol, talc, SLS, SLES

Bubble Bath and baby washes

SLS, SLES, DEA, TEA, MEA, quaternium, PEG, alcohol and fragrances.


Tallow, some caustic soda( may lead to dermatitis and eczema), lye 


PABA, Benzophenones, dibenezolmethane (may cause cancer)

Nail Treatments

Acetone, acetonitrile (forms cyanide with water) toluene, formaldehyde, isopropanol

Skincare- cosmetics and makeup

DEA, TEA, propylene glycol, 2-bromo2-nitropropane1,3diol (BNPD), BHA, coal tar, glycerin, formaldehyde, alpha hydroxyl acids, lanolin, mineral oil, SLS, SLES, petrolatum, PEG, bentonite, kaolin.

Talc is frequently used in make-up. It blocks the skin pores and causes ovarian cancer. It is dangerous if inhaled by children.

Decoder Key

Linked to cancer

Contaminated with carcinogens and readily form carcinogenic nitroamines

May cause irritation and allergies in skin and eye

Chemical toxins accumulating in organs

Causes respiratory problems

Damage the central nervous system, affects the embryo, induces genetic mutation


Check to see the dangerous ingredients in your bathroom


Chemical Ingredient



Alpha Hydroxy Acids



BHA- Butylated Hydroxyansole

BHT- Butylated Hydroytoluene



Coal tar dyes

DEA- Dibenzoylamine


Ethylene oxide





MEA- Monoethanolamine

Methylene Chloride

Mineral Oil

PABA- Para Amino Benzoic Acid




Propylene glycol

Quaternium Pthalates





TEA- Triethanolamine



























































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Glossary of Terms – Personal Care Ingredients

Glossary of Terms – Personal Care Ingredients

A strong smelling liquid that is clear.  Maybe used as a painter thinner, but also fingernail polish remover.  Poisionous if consumed as the major ingredient is ethyl alcohol.

A clear liquid that varies in it’s potency.  In minimal quantities, such as a glass of red wine (which contains antioxidants) in the evening may be beneficial.  However, in general, alcohol is “empty calories”. This leads to weight gain, will disturb sleep, and if consumed in large quantities can cause liver disease. 

Another use may be a deterrent to infection, when it is defined as rubbing alcohol (however, it may be somewhat painful when applied to an open wound).

AHA’s are well known for use in the cosmetics industry.  Although the results have not been proven to be successful, the chemical is generally used to reduce the signs of aging.

A light, silver metallic ingredient in antiperspirants, antacids and antiseptics.  It is also used in cooking equipment, including pans and aluminium foil. Aluminium has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.

Natural preservatives work as well or better than artificial alternatives.

An impure, absorbent clay, which typically forms from weathering volcanic ash.  Bentomite may be in skin care products or as a bulk laxative.

This chemical prevents UV lights from damaging products’ colours such as those found in soaps and perfumes.

Aerosol propellant. Flammable and in high doses may be narcotic or cause asphyxiation. Very damaging to the environment.

A preservative found in processed meats to keep it from going rancid. This would include food items such as hot dogs, bologna, sausage and bratwurst.

A preservative found in a wide variety of products, including (but not limited to): cereals, beer, gum, lipstick and shampoos/conditioners.

A carbon based chemical used to make plastics and dental sealants

A protein especially found in the joints of animals and humans.  Collagen is especially deficient in the genetic disorder of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) where hypermobility and joint laxity exist.  Collagen injections are used to enhance lips and make skin appear younger/smoother.

Brown or black colouration used in hair dyes, lipstick, junk food and sodas.  Salmon farms frequently use it in the form of red dye to make their salmon appear more appealing.

Causes allergic reactions, irritates the eyes and dries the hair and skin

Chemicals found in sunscreens which can cause allergic reactions.  In many cases, sunscreens advertised as hypoallergic are not necessarily so, despite the label.

Carcinogenic ingredient found in cosmetics, such as body lotion, which can potentially serve as a skin irritant.

A potentially carcinogenic by-product that results from the process used to bleach paper at paper mills. Dioxin treated containers sometimes transfer dioxins to the product itself.

A protein found in connective tissue.  Elastine helps your skin return to its’ natural state when stretched or poked.

A clear liquid used historically during childbirth (mid-20th century in the United States), but also as an aesthetic for surgery.  A common side effect was nausea.

Ethylene glycol can be found in hair care products and facial/body washes as a fragrance ingredient, a solvent, and as an aid in controlling viscosity. We use water and ingredients derived from corn, coconut and palm kernel oils, and sea salt to control consistency in our body washes, and natural fragrances in all of our products.

A chemical substance added to water, toothpaste and/or added to teeth in dental visits to keep them healthy.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye or barley. Some products can contain ingredients that are derivatives of these grains and can cause symptoms in those who are allergic to gluten.

A thick, sweet, and clear liquid often used in medicines and food to make them sweeter.  Also found as a cleaning agent in laundry and dishwashing soaps.  Additionally may be present in cosmetics, hair and skin products.

Fluorocarbons are commonly used as a propellant in hairsprays.

A chemical substance recommended by a great majority of dentists.  It is sometimes added to the general water supply and/or toothpaste.  It is believed to strengthen teeth.

FORMALDEHYDE: Imidazolidiny Urea, DMDM Hydantoin
These are both formaldehyde-forming preservatives. These have been found to be carcinogenic. They are used an embalming agents for deceased individuals.  Also used in the installation of carpet and plywood.  Some vaccines also include formaldehyde as well medications used to treat urinary tract infections (UTI’s).

A sweet or pleasant smell, such as that smell coming from fresh baked bread, lilacs or cinnamon.  It may also refer to the liquids we put on our bodies in order to smell better, such a perfume or cologne.

A chemical added to edible fats and fat containing foods to prevent rancification, which often causes unpleasant odours.  Also found in food packaging, cosmetics and some medications.  Concerning as it is known to be a human carcinogen.

Used as a solvent for coating for removing sticky residues from items such as tape or labels as well as cleaning computer drives and screens. 

A substance which contains a high percentage of fat obtained from wool.  It is used in skin creams and lotions to make the skin feel soft.

A carcinogen used in various personal care products such as (but not limited to): shampoo, facial cleansers, body wash, bubble bath, shaving cream, hair mousse and liquid soap.

A solvent and paint remover which contain carcinogens.

A derivative of crude oil (petroleum) that is used industrially as a cutting fluid and lubricating oil. Mineral oil forms an oily film over the skin to lock in moisture, but hinders normal skin respiration by keeping oxygen out. It does not penetrate.  Commonly found in baby oil for example.  Mineral oil has also been used for constipation and cleaning out ear wax.

Used in home care products such as detergent and cleaners.

Also known as octyl dimethyl, like DEA, a nitrosamine-forming agent. 

PARABENS: Ethyl Paraben, Methyl Paraben, Butyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben
Found in almost all skin care and cosmetics products including shampoos, toothpastes and baby products. Parabens are used as fragrance ingredients or as preservatives. We rely instead on natural preservatives and ingredients.

Mixture of chemicals that can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that, while many popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain trace amounts of natural essences, they also typically contain a dozen or more potentially hazardous synthetic chemicals, some of which are derived from petroleum.

A surgical procedure for inserting a feeding tube without having to have an open abdominal operation.  The result is having a no ability to take food via mouth for a very long period of time.  The purpose of the procedure is to directly insert liquids and nutrition directly into the stomach. 

A petroleum based grease that is used industrially as a grease component. Petrolatum exhibits many of the same potentially harmful properties as mineral oil.

A very poisonous substance used in plastics.  Additionally, an ingredient found in aspirin, pharmaceutical drugs and herbicides. 

The main ingredient is sodium.  It is found in hair dyes to reduce the number of washings with fading of these dyes.   Phenylenediamine may cause irritation of the skin, increase allegories and/or be toxic when it comes into contact with skin. 

Phthalates are used to improve the performance of some personal care/cosmetic products (for example, to fix fragrance in a formula), but we have always avoided this class of ingredient.

A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze. In skin and hair products, propylene glycol works as a humectant, which is a substance that retains the moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) warn users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.

A petroleum-based ingredient used in hairsprays.

Flumeide/formaldehye releaser.  Found in shampoo and baby wash.  May cause allergic skin reaction and is a carcinogen.

A very sweet artificial substance used as a substitute to replace sugar.  It is typically used by people who wish to lose weight or who are diabetic.  Most commonly consumed via diet soda.  In high concentrated levels, has been found to found damage in lab rats.

Silicone creates a quick fix for frizzy, uncontrollable hair by giving it a slick, almost slimy feel, and instant comb-ability. In the long run though, hair is more fragile after consistent use of silicones which make it an odd choice to use in hair products that are made for the most fragile hair types.

Sodium is commonly known as salt.  Many food items contain high levels of sodium that consumers are not aware of when they purchase and/or eat foods.  A risk factor in individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure).

A substance that companies reort ot claim is all natural, but usually is not.

Closely related to SLS.  As a carcinogen, the effects are more severe, but longer in duration than those caused by SLS.  The chemical is not metabolized by the liver which may result in long term damage. 

It is used in laboratories to illicit skin reactions for testing. Check your label for; Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or Sodium Laureth Sufate' or simply SLS or Ammonium Laureth Sulphate (family of SLS). Found in toothpastes, most cleansers such as soaps, shower gels, shampoos and bubble baths and in baby products. Extremely harsh on hair and skin.

Coal-tar dyes are generally labelled as FD&C or D&C followed by a number. The only colors found in our products are from the natural ingredients themselves.

Usually petroleum-alcohol based

A soft mineral derive of magnesium. 00Typically used in the making of talcum powder.

If swallowed, it can result in liver and kidney damage.  If prenanr you child may have birth defects and retardation.

Included in antibacterial and anti-fugal soaps, but there is questionable results in their actually reducing bacterial levels.

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Be careful with what you want from cosmetics?

Be careful with what you want from cosmetics?

Beauty? Glamour? Healthy glowing skin? Youthfulness? Confidence that you look your best?

But what price are you prepared to pay? Are you aware of the hidden ‘bonuses’?


Allergy, watery eyes, reddened skin, irritation, inflammation, sensitization to various products, contact dermatitis, swelling, itching, asthma, eczema, & psoriasis, acne, premature aging, mood change, sagging skin, depression, wrinkles, lethargy, hair loss, restlessness, dandruff and scalp problem, irritability, anger, memory lapses, inability to concentrate, rashes, eye damage, muscle and joint aches, headaches, digestive upsets, contributing cancer, changes to skin pigmentation.


Why would this be happening?

Our world has become overloaded with chemicals and make up bag is a favorite place for them to accumulate. The production of synthetic chemicals has every 7 to 8 years since 1930 and this is having a huge impact on our health. Studies show as many as12-15% of the population are chemically sensitive. That’s only the people who have identified to the cause of the problem.

The chemical industry is huge and cosmetics, shampoos, perfumes etc are a major contributor to chemical overload at homes.

Of paramount concern is the fact that not many people are aware of this and continue to douse themselves with the same ingredients as used in industrial cleaners, anti freeze and rat poison.

The belief is that there couldn’t be harmful ingredients in products we rub on our skin everyday.

The fact is that very few of the chemical used in cosmetics is tested and there is well-documented evidence that many of the ingredients used is toxic.

The American Institute of occupational Safety and health in 1989 analyzed 2983 of the chemicals used in personal care products. They found that

778 caused acute toxicity

146 caused tumors

218 can cause reproduction problems

314 were mutagenic and 376 can cause skin and eye irritation


Sourced from Cosmetic Cover UP


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