The Essential Homemaker
Toxins in the cosmetics industry ~ Part 2 1,4-dioxane
To recap from Part 1 on Phthalates, many products list “fragrance” on the label, but very few actually list what chemicals make "fragrance." This lack of disclosure made me very curious. What is in this ingredient fragrance. The answer to this question is downright frightening, and has made me angry. Little is known about the chemicals that make up fragrance, what we do know, from individuals who have sent products into laboratories to be tested is that some of these chemicals are linked to serious health conditions and problems such as cancer, reproductive and endocrine issues, allergies and other sensitivities.
What does endocrine disruptors mean?
Endocrine disruptor is a term scientists use for chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system, aka our hormones. Any system in the body controlled by hormones can be impacted by hormone disruptors because these chemicals may turn on, shut off or modify signals that affect the normal functioning of tissues and organs. The endocrine system keeps our body in balance, maintaining homeostasis and these chemicals are comprising that delicate state.
Where are these fragrance chemicals found?
Most personal care products on the shelf today contain the ingredient “fragrance,” from shampoo and conditioner, soap, body wash and face wash, to deodorant, body lotion, makeup, cleaning supplies and laundry detergents and softeners, and of course perfume. This is just a very short list, there are so many more products that contain this ingredient.
What exactly do you need to look for when it comes to avoiding this deadly ingredient?
Fragrance is not only listed as fragrance, but it can also be listed as perfume, parfum, essential oil blend and aroma. Yes, even essential oils are recognized as a perfume because they are not regulated, which is why it is of utmost importance to choose a brand that has rigorous in-house testing as well as being third party tested including making those purity reports public for us to see. I choose to use this brand because I can check to see what chemicals are in them for every single bottle. Using any other brand runs the risk of continuing to use products that contain these terrible chemicals, damaging my body further, under the false premise that “essential oils are good for you.” Be aware friends. Know what you are using.
Now to move onto the chemical 1,4-dioxane, what is it?
It is a byproduct of petroleum processing, that is also a human carcinogen. It is in up to 46% of personal care products!!! So right now, nearly half the products in our homes contains a chemical that is damaging our liver, kidneys as well as being a carcinogen. What is shocking is that it is very easy to remove this chemical from products but manufacturing companies fail to follow through with its removal. Testing data shows significant cause of concern as 1,4-dioxane levels were tested and showed up to 1,410 parts per million in cosmetics, 279 parts per million in personal care products, and 85 parts per million in children’s shampoo. The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that even trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane is cause for concern. This is in our baby products!!! The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recommends limiting children’s exposure to consumer products that may contain this carcinogenic impurity and yet it's not even listed on the label clearly so that we can make the choice to avoid it. This is no longer about me, this is about my friends’ future children, and MY future grandchildren. I am not okay with this ingredient “fragrance” at all. There are too many hidden dangers.
The more I dig and learn, the more angry I become. The FDA doesn’t regulate any of the chemicals found in fragrance because they do not want blame to found in a product or chemical they have approved that causes people to become sick. Not only that companies don’t even have to tell the FDA what is in their magical fragrance mixture as they can claim it’s a proprietary trade secret. So here we PAY products that are literally making us sick, be that allergies to cancer. In fact, when asked about the health impacts of these dangerous chemicals, especially for pregnant women and children, companies will either say ‘it’s just a small amount used’ or have no comment at all. These chemicals are so dangerous to our bodies that other countries have banned their use, except when making products for the U.S. because our regulations are so lax! Our country is a chemical garbage can, and we pay to have this done to us and our families.
My biggest concern at this point is not just that companies willingly use chemicals that damage my body, but that these chemicals are used in SO MANY common household items that it’s not an acute exposure that my body can easily manage, but it’s chronic. Day in, day out, around the clock I am exposed to dangerous chemicals at a rate that the human body cannot manage. Our bodies are reacting to these chemicals by developing issues, saying ‘hey lady! I don’t like this and I’m trying to tell you I don’t like it!’ by breaking out in rashes, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, to even cancerous growths and more. This is scary. I’m scared because I can’t fully avoid them, but I have hope because I can reduce the exposure.
I am working on a blog post of my tried and true recipes for body wash, laundry soap, dishwashing soap and hand soap in hopes it helps you should you decide to make changes to the products you use and want to know where to start for non-toxic or at least to reduced the toxic load for you and your family. You should note that I do have city water and use a water softener. I know that matters when trying recipes. Just because a recipe works for me in my situation, it might not work for someone with well water, or city water without a softener.