Friday, December 12, 2008

6 Toxic Ingredients to Avoid

Awhile back, we talked about soap ... and in response to a kind reader's comment, I promised to do some investigation into ingredients commonly found on labels. What I thought would be a simple task turned out to be overwhelming. There are thousands of toxic substances in our body products, cleansers and even food. These chemicals are harmful ... to us ... to the environment.

The following list contains the more widely known chemicals in soap. It is a partial list from a wonderful site called Pure Zing. To read their entire article, which includes chemicals found in foods, nail polishes and more, click HERE. When reading labels, look for these ingredients ... and avoid them:

  1. DEA: Diethanolamine

    A chemical used as a wetting or thickening agent in shampoos, soaps, hairsprays and sunscreens, blocks absorption of the nutrient choline, which is essential to brain development in a fetus.

  2. Polypropylene

    Possible carcinogen. Found in lipstick, mascara, baby soap, eye shadow.

  3. Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate

    Potentially contaminated with or breaking down into chemicals linked to cancer or other significant health problems. Found in facial moisturizer, facial cleanser, facial treatments, skin fading and lightening products, anti-aging products, eye makeup remover, concealer, makeup remover, around eye cream, acne treatment, shampoo, conditioner, styling lotion and gel, styling mousse and foam, hair spray, hair relaxer, tanning oil and sunscreen, after tanning products, body cleanser and wash, bodyexfoliants, body firming lotion, baby soap, baby lotion, baby wipes, baby bubble bath, pain and wound products, hand sanitizer.

  4. SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate)

    Builds up in heart, lungs, brain and liver from skin contact and may cause damage to these organs. Corrodes hair follicles and may cause hair to fall out. Damages immune system. Contain endocrinedisruptors and estrogen mimics. Impairs proper structural formation of young eyes. May contain carcinogenic nitrosamines . This is a detergent derived from coconut oil and may be labeled natural or even organic. Found in toothpaste, soap, shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, facial cleansers.

  5. SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)

    Ether mixtures may contain carcinogenic nitrosamines. Avoid ethoxylated compounds as a precaution. May form 1.4 dioxane, a potential carcinogen, endocrine disruptor and estrogen mimic. Allows other chemicals to penetrate skin more deeply and enter bloodstream. May cause hair loss when applied to scalp. Found in shampoo, toothpaste, bubble bath, body wash, soap.

  6. Triclosan

    Found in a lot of antimicrobial soaps and toothpaste products, it can react with chlorine in the tap water to create Chloroform. This is a toxic chemical that can give you cancer. If you breathe enough chloroform, you will die. When you wash your hands with antibacterial soap that contains Triclosan, you are getting the fumes emitted from this chemical reaction.

These are just a few of the toxic chemicals one may find in soap. The best options are products with all natural ingredients ... things you recognize and feel comfortable with (for example: soaps with olive oil, oatmeal, etc.). And always let your common sense participate in any decision ... any product that smells bad, feels bad, makes one dizzy or light headed or causes a skin rash should be avoided. If the label has a lot of words you've never heard of, can't pronounce ... or are way too small to read ... I'd reconsider.

As always ... I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Hello Small Footprints,

    This is scary information! I appreciate the effort you went to in researching this post. I'm letting my friends around the office know about it and your righteous blog.



  2. O.K. my 16 year old just got frossed out!
    I think it is great that you are putting all this info out there.
    I agree if you can't understand what you are reading then don't buy it.

  3. Good grief! Who knew? Thanks for the information.

  4. My Goodness! Are we all going to have to stop bathing? How can these companies get by with this stuff? It just amazes me how dangerous our world is now.
    One thing about the chlorine in your water, get a whole house water filter or at least an attachment for your shower or bath faucet. Chlorine fumes are very dangerous. We tested our tap water and it had more chlorine in it than our swimming pool.

  5. I just checked our antibacterial soap - there it is, triclosan! Time to go shopping.

  6. Uh..oh.. looks like I have to go shopping for new products. Going to throw out that bar of antibacterial soap. Thanks for the info!

  7. good grief... what will become of us? toxins even in baby products??? this is not good at all...

  8. Oh My God! I am having my bath after blogging...and I'm scared to use my toiletries. For sure those harmful chemicals are in my soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, lotion and facial cremes. But on the other hand, I will also die a thousand deaths if I am deprived with my daily rituals in the bathroom. LOL!

    Thank you for going out of your way in researching for all these information. You have made a lot of difference in this harmful world.

  9. Hi Small Footprints,

    If you don't mind, I would like to research on these "toxic" ingredients, because the accuracy of these information could be biased, coming from the website of a consumer product (PureZing).

    I'll put the results in my next blog post. Have a great weekend!


  10. No wonder all my hair fell out and I've only got half my teeth. Never going to shower again!

    Great post SF, informative and surprising as always.


  11. I have this ugly big bar of olive oil soap that I use in the shower.. it turns yellow..let's just say it doesn't look too appealing. But it's all natural. My family complains that they even have to look at it. Won't they get a nice surprise when they get home today and find I have thrown out all of that other crap and they have to use it! They'll get used to it. I'm going to try THAT attitude..'Well it's what you're going to use.. or else you won't be using soap.' :) Man made pruducts have screwed our world up. But.. I guess MAN has screwed our world up.

  12. To John ... and everyone:

    Yes, yes ... I encourage you to "check the facts". And if you find information which is contrary to what is posted here, please let me know. I view this blog as a place where we can share information and learn ... with the goal being that we lead healthier, greener lives.

    Small Footprints

  13. Wow, you're so smart on the topics you cover and this blog has leaped forward into captivating everyone who reads your work. It's evident by watching your followers continually increase. As I mentioned before, this is the "Go-To Site for Going Green"

    Keep up all your great work!

  14. I recently found this website. I haven't delved into it very deeply but it looks worthwhile if you want to take a look: They have a listing for all sorts of green products. After reading this post, i found a listing of companies that sell natural soaps. Just passing it along.

  15. Just love your blog! Glad you are following mine as well. I'm pretty new to this, but so far it's fun and I can see that it could be addicting. I love what you write about and look forward to when I have time to read all your older posts!

  16. This is scary stuff, but good to know... I've even seen calcium supplements with SLS in them! Yuck!

  17. Yes, I've heard about this before. I guess we should buy our soaps, etc. from the health food stores.
    Antibacterial soaps are not recommended even for dishwashing liquids because germs can develop a resistance to it.

    Thanks for dropping by on weekend and comments. About your question on Poinsettia. I just buy a new one each year. You need special conditions to get the leaves to turn red for you.