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There are tens of thousands of chemicals in our everyday personal care products, many of which pose serious health threats.  Xenoestrogens, respiratory toxins, neurotoxins.  We do our own independent research on every chemical that we post so you have the latest information available.

Thursday
Apr142016

1,2-Hexylene Glycol

Today's Chemical:

1,2-Hexylene Glycol

EWG Risk Score:

1

What is it?

1,2-Hexylene glycol is a chemical relative to the more-known propylene glycol. It's a clear viscous liquid used as a humectant, filler, thickener, and conditioning agent. 

What are its risks? 

  • 1,2-Hexylene glycol is a penetration enhancer, meaning that it has the ability to cross the skin's barrier and also bring other chemicals in to the body. (Source)
  • While it's considered to have a low-toxicity (ie it doesn't make you sick or immediately kill you upon ingestion) it is broken down in the body through oxidation, a process that releases free radicals. (Source)
  • 1,2-Hexylene glycol can be a skin irritant. (Source

Bottom line: 

While 1,2-Hexylene glycol isn't acutely toxic, it certainly isn't a beneficial ingredient that would nourish or benefit the body in any way, and only creates free radical damage as its absorbed in the body and broken down. 

Tuesday
Apr052016

Sodium Coceth Sulfate

Today's Chemical:

Sodium Coceth Sulfate

EWG Risk Score:

1 (Should be higher)

What is it?

Sodium coceth sulfate is a surfactant/detergent similar to sodium laureth sulfate. Instead of isolated lauric acid (used in sodium laureth sulfate) it uses the full spectrum of coconut fatty acids.

What are its risks? 

  • Sodium coceth sulfate is created with the carcinogen ethylene oxide, traces of which and its carcinogenic by-product 1,4-dioxane can remain in the finished product. 
  • Generally milder, but a potential irritant. (Source)

Bottom line:

Sodium coceth sulfate is to sodium laureth sulfate as sodium coco sulfate is to sodium lauryl sulfate. Sodium coceth sulfate may be more gentle on skin than sodium laureth sulfate, but it poses the same contamination risks.  

Tuesday
Mar152016

PEG-100 Stearate

Today's Chemical:

PEG -100 stearate

EWG Risk Score:

3

What is it?

PEG-100 stearate, also known as polywax, is used primarily as an emulsifier in cosmetics and foods. 

What are its risks? 

  • PEG-100 stearate is an ethoxylated chemical, meaning that it's been created using the carcinogen ethylene oxide, traces of which, and its carcinogenic by-product 1-4,dioxane can remain in the product. 
  • Can be a skin irritant when used on broken skin. (Source)

Bottom line:

May be listed as "made from coconut" but don't believe that this ingredient is "natural." 

 

 

Thursday
Mar032016

Propanediol

Today's Chemical:

Propanediol

EWG Risk Score:

1

What is it?

Propanediol is a clear, thick liquid used in formulas to control viscosity. Also known as 1,3 propylene glycol, it is an isomer of the more widely-used chemical, propylene glycol. 

Is it a risk?

Propanediol does not appear to pose any significant risks when used diluted in a cosmetic formula, based on current research. However, the manufacturing of propanediol does pose potential environmental and health concerns. It can be produced from acrolein, a compound found in cigarette smoke that may contribute to lung cancer. (Source) While this wouldn't pose a risk in the finished product of propanediol, there may be exposures to workers and the environment, especially if produced in countries with less-than-stringent working and environmental regulations. 

You may also see propanediol created from "natural" sources. The most widely-distributed form is made by DuPont Chemical, created from (most likely GMO) corn syrup and a genetically-modified strain of e coli bacteria. (Source)

It can also be produced from fermenting glycerol with genetically modified bacteria. (Source)

Can be a skin allergen. (Source)

Steph's Opinion:

Propanediol as a finished ingredient doesn't pose significant health risks unless you have an allergy to the ingredient. However, when you see propanediol in a product marketed as "natural," think GMOs because it has most likely been created with either genetically-modified bacteria or from GMO corn (or both.) 

Monday
Sep292014

Methylisothiazolinone

Today's Chemical:

Methylisothiazolinone

EWG Risk Score:

6

What is it?

Methylisothiazolinone  is a synthetic cosmetic preservative.

Why is it a risk?

  • Methylisothiazolinone is a known neurotoxin.  In 2004, the European Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCNFP) suggested that companies limit the maximum concentration to 0.01% (100 ppm).  However, US companies are not required to follow this guideline.
  • It is known to be absorbed through skin.  A study at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine concluded that "Prolonged exposure to low levels of MIT and related compounds may have damaging consequences to the developing nervous system." 
  • Is a developmental toxin.  (Source
  • Is a known contact allergen.  (Source)

Steph's Opinion:

Although concentrations of this ingredient are typically very low in a formulation, I personally suggest avoiding this ingredient.