SEARCH FOR CHEMICALS
Contact

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.

Monday
Feb112013

Oleamide DEA

Today's Chemical:

Oleamide DEA

EWG Risk Score:

1 (Should be higher)

What is it?

Also known as Oleic Diethanolamide, it's used as a foam booster and thickener in shampoos, bubble baths and shower gels. 

What are its risks:

  • Oleamide DEA, due to the way it's processed, can contain and release a group of carcinogenic chemicals called nitrosamines. "Alkanolamides  are  manufactured  by  condensation  of  diethanolamine  and  the methylester  of  long  chain  fatty  acids.  Several alkanolamides (especially secondary alkanolamides) are susceptible to nitrosamine formation which constitutes a potential health problem. " (Source)
  • Skin irritation, can exacerbate dermatitis and other conditions. "Repeated exposure may cause skin cracking, flaking or drying following normal handling and use. In products intended for prolonged contact with the skin, the concentration of cocoamide DEA should not exceed 5%. Fatty acid diethanolamides (C8-C18) and monoethanolamides are classified by CESIO as irritating." (Source)

Steph's Opinion:

Cocamide DEA and oleamide DEA are created using the same method and are practically the same chemical. Oleamide DEA is created simply using oleic acid, a fatty acid found in many oils like coconut, whereas cocamide DEA is made with whole coconut oil instead of just the oleic acid. That's the only difference. So, oleamide DEA is actually present in cocamide DEA. The EWG Hazard Score for cocamide DEA is a 6, whereas oleamide DEA only scores a 1. This is due to lack of data on oleamide DEA because it is used less frequently. However, it poses the exact same risks as cocamide DEA and should score as such.  

Saturday
Feb092013

Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate

Today's Chemical:

Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate

EWG Skin Deep Hazard Score:

2 (should be higher)

What is it:

Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate is a surfactant (detergent) used in shampoos for cleansing and foam boosting.  

What are its risks:

  • DLS is created using the carcinogen ethylene oxide, traces of which can remain in the product, along with its carcinogenic by-product 1,4-dioxane. 
  • Skin irriation (source)
  • Eye irritation (source

Steph's Opinion:

There is not much information out there about this chemical, however, accoring to current sources it is fairly biodegradeable and not a reproductive toxin.  While it may be more gentle on hair and skin than SLS, the main concern with disodium laureth suflosuccinate is the fact that it's an ethoxylated chemcial that may contain traces of carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane and/or ethylene oxide.

Thursday
Feb072013

Butylene Glycol

Today's Chemical:

Butylene glycol

EWG Skin Deep Hazard Score:

0-1

What is it:

Butylene glycol is a solvent, humectant, and skin conditioner.  Butylene glycol is added to formulas because it helps draw moisture from the air and bring it to your skin (called a humectant).  It's also used as a solvent, helping essential oils or fragrances mix in to water-based formulas.  It's most commonly synthetically produced through the catalytic hydrogenation of acetaldehyde. (source)

What are its risks: 

  • Can cause skin irritation and dermatitis in certain individuals.  (Source)
  • Extreme eye irritation (source)
  • Carcinogenic impurities (see below)

Steph's Opinion: 

Butylene glycol itself appears not to be terribly harmful. It has low toxicity, and low risk of irritation, and no known reproductive or developmental effects.  (However, data is limited on the subject.) But, cecause it is typically derived from petroleum sources, it is possible that it can contain traces of a class of carcinogenic chemicals called polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). 

Tuesday
Sep252012

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate

Today's Chemical:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate

EWG Risk Score:

1

What is it?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is a relatively newer chemical to the market.  It is increasingly becoming a replacement for sodium laureth and sodium lauryl sulfate.  It is a surfactant used to clean, de-grease, and create lather. 

Safety Info:

There is not a wealth of information available on this ingredients, however, the EPA has provided some on this pdf.

  • Considered to be moderately irritating to skin
  • Moderately irritating to eyes
  • No evidence of reproductive toxicity in humans
  • Not considered to be readily biodegradable
  • Moderately toxic to fish and aquatic life

Steph's Opinion:

Although it seems to be a "safer" alternative to sodium lauryl sulfate, it still does pose the risk of skin irritation.  Additionally, it's not an environmentally-friendly option, as it takes a long time to bio-degrade and does pollute aquatic ecosystems.

Thursday
Jun282012

Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

Today's Chemical:

Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

EWG Skin Deep Hazard Score:

2

What is it:

Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate is a cosmetic preservative used shampoos, baby wipes, cleaning agents, cleansing bars, lotions and many other household products.  

What are its risks:

  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate works as a preservative by slowly releasing formaldehyde.  This can be a problem for a number of reasons.  First, being that formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.  Second, it's a skin irritant and sensitizer.  (Source

Steph's Opinion:

While EWG only gives it a "2" hazard score, I would rate it much higher.  It should be rated the same as other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like DMDM Hydantoin (7-8) and Diazolidinyl urea (5).