Where Do Toxins Come From?
Here’s The Deal
In today’s world many products contain toxic chemicals. More and more people are becoming overloaded with toxins. Everyday products you don’t suspect of being laden with chemicals such as personal care items and laundry products have toxic ingredients.
Shampoos, cosmetics and deodorants as well as the detergent we use to wash our clothes can all contain potentially harmful ingredients. While these may only be small amounts used on their own, they build up in your system.
And we do not use only one of these products every day. We usually use many of them so it’s easy to absorb more than is safe. Just think about the number of items you use each and every day.
From that freshly scented body wash that wakes you up during your morning shower, the shampoo and conditioner to keep your locks in smooth and shiny condition, to toothpaste and all of the cosmetics and body lotion you use. They are all chock full of chemicals.
It Gets Worse……
Add to this the lingering chemicals in your clothing from your detergent, fabric conditioner and spray starch you use to makes ironing easier, and you’ve already surrounded your skin with a few layers of chemicals. All of this before you’ve even left home for work each day. Is it any wonder many of us suffer from body toxicity symptoms?
Instead of caring for your skin and hair, many of the chemicals found in these items will disrupt the health of your skin AND your overall health.
The surprisingly bad news is that the US FDA requires no safety testing to be carried out on personal care products. Only a very small percentage, around 20% of the ingredients used in skin care products are inspected and reviewed.
Even some products labeled ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ may contain a cocktail of nasty chemicals as the manufacturer does not have to include all items used on the ingredients list.
What Causes Toxins In The Body?
Toxins are man-made poisons or chemicals that harm your body. Almost everything we use today contains them such as:
- Personal care products
- Cleaning products
- Laundry products
- Water you drink
- Polluted air you breathe
With the amount of toxins your body takes in daily, your liver and kidneys work overtime to remove them from your system. There are tens of thousands of toxins. These assault your system through every day living even if you are careful to avoid them.
They are still present in polluted air and added to the water we drink and hard to escape. These are at a record high compared to 50 years ago when the world was not so contaminated.
What makes this worse, there are few government regulations to protect us. And manufacturers do not study how these chemicals affect the human system or the environment.
Some of the immediate symptoms showing that your body is suffering toxic overload come in the form of
- Skin rashes
- Dry and irritated skin
- Chest pains,
- Chronic fatigue
- Red and irritated eyes
When chemicals come into contact with your skin, they are absorbed easily into your bloodstream without being filtered. Some skincare ingredients are linked to allergies, reproductive issues, endocrine disruption and cancer. If you care about your health, reading the labels on all personal care products is becoming increasingly important.
Here’s The Kicker
The longer term more serious toxic effects build up in your system and generate free radicals. These can cause all sorts of damage to your health which can be irreversible.
The effects of toxic overload include:
- A weakened immune system
- A sensitive digestive system that causes conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
How many people do you know with intolerances and allergies? Now compare that to when you were young. Older people will remember when medical conditions were much fewer than today.
Before the onset of industrialization, people lived in an environment free of toxins. It appears they were healthier as they relied on natural products. There was minimal air pollution and their water was not full of chemicals or fluoride.
Nowadays even indoor air can be polluted from the chemicals that float around us from outgassing of floor coverings and furniture. If chemical sensitivity is a big problem for you, it may be wise to invest in a powerful air purifier to control your indoor environment.
Many of us turn to organic foods and products containing few toxins to improve our health. It’s a wise move as you’ll be avoiding nasty chemicals and pesticides by choosing organic food.
As well as cleaning up indoor air and eating organic food, you can also find some other ways to easily detox your home and further reduce your chemical load here.
For now, let’s take a look at what types of toxic chemicals our everyday self care products contain. The use of these chemicals in products is still unregulated so it pays to educate yourself about what is in the products you are buying.
Chemicals In Personal Care Products
Product manufacturers use all sorts of chemicals to enhance their products. Shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, soaps, mouth wash, lotions, deodorants, cosmetics and other products.
Parabens are preservatives known as hormone disruptors. They mimic your natural hormones such as estrogen. Research shows there are links between parabens and medical problems:
- In women, parabens can increase the risk of problems with the reproductive system and breast cancer.
- In men, they can increase the risk of testicular and prostate cancer, and decrease sperm counts.
Parabens were first used in personal care products in the 1950s on a commercial scale. They prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus in these products. Check the label of your products and if they contain any of the following, they contain parabens:
Each individual product may only contain minimal amounts. The problem is you may use a lot of products using parabens so it builds up in your system.
Diazolidinyl Urea and Imidazolidinyl Urea
Diazolidinyl Urea and Imidazolidinyl Urea are preservatives. Manufacturers use them in cosmetics for their antimicrobial factors. These work by producing formaldehyde to protect the product from a microbial attack. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that can cause cancers.
Both of these chemicals are in common use in cosmetics. These can cause some people to develop an allergy that causes contact dermatitis.
Many products contain the surfactants Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These chemicals make products foam and used in many beauty products. There appears to be little harm when you rinse these products from the skin immediately. Like you do with soaps and shampoos. SLS and SLES are not carcinogens but are irritants. They can cause skin irritation in some people if you do not follow the directions for product use.
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical in many personal care products. It is also in mouthwashes and toothpastes, toys and other household products. It is thought to contribute to resistance to super germs and some other types of bacteria. Triclosan is also a skin irritant. And an endocrine disruptor that mimics reproductive hormones and the thyroid.
Fluoride is the sludge produced from iron, copper and aluminium manufacturing. It is a hazardous waste chemical that was a problem to dispose of around the world. Ironically, an aluminium manufacturer discovered fluoride was good for your teeth in the 1930s. This solved the problem of disposal of this toxic waste. But studies since have shown there is no marked difference in tooth decay between those who use fluoridated and non-fluoridated water supplies.
Too much fluoride discolours teeth and causes decay. It also helps the brain to absorb aluminium which has been found in many brains of people with Alzheimer’s. It has links to different types of cancers, nervous and musculoskeletal damage, and hip fractures.
Phthalates are chemicals used to make PVC plastics more flexible. It is also a solvent to dissolve substances to make it easy to blend them together. When used in plastics, they spread into whatever products are stored in them. They are endocrine disruptors linked to an increase in breast cancer, fertility and reproductive problems, and birth defects.
Chemicals In Laundry Detergents And Fabric Softeners
When your laundry smells fresh and clean, it is actually toxic chemicals that make it smell that way. Drying clothes in a dryer after using scented laundry detergents and fabric softeners releases toxins. There are more than 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in every load that pollutes the air through the dryer vent.
If the vent blocks or does not vent to the outside, this increases the poor quality of air in your home. This means that it ends up polluting the air in your environment, in and around your home.
You may think you only use a small amount of detergent in each load, but how many loads a week do you do? This wreaks havoc on the quality of air you breathe and the polluted water ends up in our waterways. Even when you hang your washing to dry outside, the toxic residue remains in the fabric and transfers to your skin.
Detergents contain a concoction of chemicals that cause cancer. These include neurotoxins, synthetic fragrances and endocrine disruptors. Most of these have some type of fragrance that remains in the clothes as they dry.
Even buying unscented detergents contain chemicals to mask the smell. In other words, they use a chemical to mask the smell of other chemicals. Unscented laundry detergents are just as toxic as those with fragrances.
Doing the laundry has become dangerous to your health with so many toxins in detergents. None of these are government regulated so it could be time to start making healthier choices.
Start looking at product labels to find out what is in the products you buy. Look for words like warning, danger and caution on labels. Also look for statements such as eye, lung or skin irritant. You have the power to protect yourself and your family by buying products without high levels of toxins.
Here are some of the chemicals in laundry detergents and fabric softeners to look out for.
Synthetic fragrance is an overarching term for the chemicals that make up each fragrance. The chemicals in fragrance recipes do not have to be disclosed or tested and many contain phthalates. This toxin also has links to obesity and diabetes. Research by the Mt. Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Centre found links to synthetic fragrance exposure during pregnancy increased the risk of autism and ADHD in children.
Natural fragrances may not be so natural or safe after all. They can have just as many toxic chemicals as synthetic fragrances. Most natural fragrances and essential oils used in detergents are processed using solvents rather than using distillation because of the cost. Also there are limonene and terpenes in essential oils. These cause a secondary reaction such as formaldehyde, acetone and acetaldehyde that pollutes the air.
Bleach is also called sodium hypochlorite and has the highest incidence of all household poisonings. Other chemicals like surfactants and fragrances react with the bleach to generate toxic chlorinated VOCs which are carcinogens. Bleach is also neurotoxic and an endocrine disruptor.
Chloroform is on the EPA hazardous waste list, and is a carcinogenic and neurotoxic. It is particularly a problem when heated and can aggravate the liver, kidney, heart and causes skin problems.
Detergents use phosphates as the main cleaning ingredient. These breakdown dirt and remove stains. They soften the water to allow the formation of suds. But they cause environmental concerns as well as health issues. There is link to them causing skin irritation, nausea and diarrhea. They are hard to remove from water systems in the environment.
Phosphates become a toxic fertiliser even after being through the wastewater treatment process. They starve the water of oxygen suffocating aquatic life and cause algae to grow. When the algae die off, phosphates send more poisons into the water to starve it of oxygen.
Optical brighteners are chemicals added to detergents to make fabrics look brighter after washing them. They are intentionally formulated to impregnate fabrics. This means your skin comes in constant contact with them and you breathe them in. These toxins can make your skin become sensitive to being in the sun and may irritate your skin. They are also toxic to marine life when they end up in the waterways causing bacterial mutations in fish.
Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) are cheap, non-ionic surfactants that come from petrochemicals. These European Union and Canada have already banned them. But they are still used in detergents in America and other countries.
NPEs are endocrine disruptors. Researchers link NPEs to adverse reactions in fetal development and physical functions. They have a negative effect on the liver, kidney, cardiac, neurologic and immune functions particularly in children. While NPEs are biodegradable, they become more toxic and affect the hormones of marine life in our waterways as they degrade.
Dioxane is also known as Diethylene Oxide. It is not an ingredient but a cheap by-product of ethoxylation so is not deliberately added to detergents. It is common in detergents and does not have to be in the ingredient list on the label because it is a by-product.
NPEs can also contain traces of other toxins. These include phthalates, formaldehyde and nitrosamines. Dioxane is dangerous to humans according to US federal regulations and more potent than pesticides. It can cause cancer, and have a toxic effect on your central nervous and respiratory systems, liver, kidneys and brain.
Using laundry products contaminated with dioxane ends up in the environment. It is not biodegradable and does not breakdown and water filters cannot remove it. Dioxane causes all type of environmental damage. It is best to avoid products that contain ethoxylation. Because manufacturers do not need to list dioxane on the ingredients list, look for:
- Sodium laureth and Laurel sulfate
- Laureth, myreth, ceteareth, oleth, and any other ingredient ending in eth
- Polyethylene glycol, polyethylene or polyoxyethylene.
Putting It All Together
The chemical toxins listed here are only a few of those your everyday personal care and laundry products contain. Now you have a better idea of their effects, you can make the decision to buy products that do not include them.
A good way to check out the safety of your personal care products is by using EWG’s Skin Deep Data Base.You can look for products that are verified by EWG and check out the safest personal care products to use. Not only will you save yourself from possible nasty skin irritation but, you’ll prevent ongoing body toxicity symptoms too.
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