Harmful Ingredients List

Your Guide to Choosing Safe Products

You may be shocked when you read this harmful ingredients list because these chemicals are in things you use everyday. I thought maybe it was just in certain products but when I saw what is in baby items I couldn't believe it.

I had to let the world know what I had just learned. That is why I created the following harmful ingredients lists below. They cover many common toxic and potentially cancer causing (carcinogenic) and hormone altering chemicals.

These chemicals are commonly found in many personal care products such as skin care, cosmetics, soaps, shaving gels, shampoo's, conditioner's and toothpastes.

These two lists are great resources you can use today and in the future. Either print this page or bookmark it and check to see what's in your home right now. Best of all, keep it close at hand next time you shop.

Harmful Ingredients List (Part I)

The following is a breakdown of many of the items you will want to stay away from. For a complete breakdown of how these chemicals are used and how they can effect our bodies, take a look at our book recommendations below.

  • Diethanolamine (DEA):
    Shampoos, body washes, bubble bath, and shaving cream.

  • Triethanolamine (TEA) : Moisturizers, cosmetics, deodorant, toothpaste, body oils, and washes.

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) :
    Shampoo, bubble bath, shaving foam, and cleansers.

  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) :
    Shampoo, bubble bath, shaving foam, and cleansers.

  • Propylene Glycol:
    Primarily made for anti freeze for your car radiator, but surprisingly found in hand sanitizers, moisturizers, shaving creams, deodorants, and baby products.

  • Sodium Fluoride:
    Toothpaste (though I am a mother of two and am on the fence about this one).

  • Alcohol:
    Mouthwash, toners, and baby products.

  • Talc:
    Baby powder, make-up, and foot preparations.

  • PABA:
    Originally found in sunscreens but as of late has been removed from many formulations. Still make sure your sunscreen always says Paba-Free.

  • PEG:
    Cosmetics, make-up, and shaving cream.

  • Artificial flavors:
    Many companies use these to make things taste better and more like you would expect (the reason why Sunny D orange juice always tastes the same no matter the season), as well as toothpaste and mouthwash.

  • Artificial colors:
    Used in many processed foods as well as make-up, toothpaste, and shampoos.

  • Benzalkonium Chloride and Benzethonium Chloride:
    Synthetic germicides belonging to the large group of germicides known as “Quats, found in numerous household disinfectants, sanitizers including hand sanitizers and personal care products - long term use may affect immune system, cause asthma and should be especially avoided if you have COPD, or any other form of pulmonary disease.

  • Ether:
    Nail treatments, shampoo, and conditioner.

  • Coal Tars:
    Shampoo, conditioner, hair dyes, soap, skin care and cosmetics.

  • Aluminum:
    Thankfully this is mostly just used in antiperspirants as larger concentrations of it have correlated to Alzheimer's.

  • Acetone:
    Nail polish remover.

  • Formaldehyde:
    Antiperspirants, nail treatments, and perfumes. The most interesting thing about this chemical is that was used to embalm corpses in the past but even that industry has seen how toxic the use of it was and no longer uses it.

  • Fluorocarbons:
    Hair spray used to have a great deal more of them in it (the reason why it used to make you cough). Recently there has been a crack down on this.

  • Dioxins:

  • Petrolatum or Mineral Oil:
    Baby products, washes, and moisturizers.

  • Sodium Hydroxide:
    Soaps and detergents, is a caustic poison and very corrosive to skin.

  • Triclosan:
    Anti bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and even toothpaste. Its use is so widespread that it is being linked to lowering the immune system and is now being detected in breast milk. (Overuse of hand sanitizers with Triclosan is not good for your children)

Want to know more about how these chemicals are being used in either your food or cosmetics? These two books break it down for you so you can make the right choices for yourself and your family. Click on either photo to read more.

A Little Anti Freeze or Drano...Anyone?

Drano Crystals

Believe it or not, when you use products containing Propylene Glycol, Ethylene Glycol or Sodium Hydroxide (the primary ingredients of most antifreeze and drain cleaners) this is what you are using.

These chemicals are among the top offenders from the harmful ingredients list because they are found in so many lotions, hair products, cleansers, cosmetics and even toothpaste.

Every day, we use soaps and body washes, creams, lotions, makeup and other items, even one on top of the other, to make ourselves look prettier (or more handsome), younger, erase blemishes, smell better, feel sexier and to attract, or keep, the perfect partner.

Don't get me wrong, looking well-groomed and attractive is important. It’s good for your self esteem as well as your popularity. Though you need to be aware that not all the ingredients in the things you use are good for your health.

How to Read the Personal Care Product Labels
They Can Be Confusing!!

Many cosmetic and personal care companies use labeling and images that mislead a consumer to think their products are organic-based or natural and healthy. But...buyer beware! Their ingredients may very well be deadly!

One good example is of Nature's Gate Organics Lemon Camomile Verbena body lotion. Certainly sounds healthy right? They even made the packaging green to reinforce that it is organic. Well I checked the Environmental Working Group's "Skin Deep" Cosmetic Safety Database (BTW a really great resource to check your products on to see how hazardous they are) and found that it was an 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Sure using herbal words like chamomile and lemon verbena make it sound healthy (like a good cup of tea) but that's not all they put in it. It's really just great marketing making it sound so good for you.

Teens Are Especially at Risk

That statement sounds incredibly strange doesn't it? Why teens and not babies should be more aware of this harmful ingredients list? Part of the reason is that teenagers tend to use more cosmetics containing items from this harmful ingredients list than babies and the other part has to do with puberty.

Environmental Working Group (September 2008) detected 16 chemicals from 4 chemical families - phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks - in blood and urine samples from 20 teen girls aged 14-19.

What makes that so serious is that studies link these chemicals to potential health effects including cancer and hormone disruption.

These tests feature the first exposure data for parabens in teens. They show that young women are widely exposed to these common cosmetic preservatives, with 2 parabens (methylparaben and propylparaben) detected in every single girl tested. That may not seem like a big deal but really it is HUGE.

So basically every teen girl out there has been exposed to this form of preservative and it is floating around in her blood stream. Yeah, not something any mom wants for their child especially when they are going through the last true growth spurt of their adult lives.

How Do I Find Safe Products?

I asked myself the exact same question. The best way to know is to make your own cosmetics, but if you don't have the time or the desire here a good way to start.

You can do the research yourself, searching for companies that produce natural and organic cosmetics, skin and body care products. But don't stop at what the front of the label says. Check the ingredients to make sure they’re safe and healthy.

After the ingredients pass the test, try to investigate the company.

  • What is their mission?

  • What are they committed to?

  • Do they also produce product lines that contain synthetic ingredients and chemical preservatives? Or are they committed to using only the purest and safest ingredients (not on this harmful ingredients list) in all their products?

  • Are they careful about the quality of ingredients they receive from their suppliers?

If that's more than you have time for (it is for most of us), there are a few great resources out there that make it easy to buy healthy products.

Here are two books that made my life (and shopping) much easier:

If you don't have the kind of time that it takes for this, I am in the process of creating a healthy products list containing all of the items that I've found and would recommend to you. If you would like a copy of this list then sign up for my newsletter below and I will send it to you.

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Harmful Ingredients List (Part 2)

This harmful ingredients list is not exhaustive and these ingredients may be found in numerous other personal care products than those listed on this page. Be sure to check your labels carefully!

  • Acrylate
  • acid orange 3
  • Acrylate copolymers
  • amorphous silicates
  • Benzyl acetate
  • blue 1,2,4
  • bromonitrodioxane
  • bronopol
  • bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol)
  • butyl benzylphthalate
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole
  • butylated hydroxytoluene
  • Ceteareth-3
  • chlorhexidine
  • Choleth-24
  • chrystalline silica
  • coal tar dyes
  • DEA
  • DEA-Cocamide & Lauramide & Oleamide condensates
  • DEA-cocamide/lauramide condensates
  • DEA-MEA/Acetame
  • DEA-Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • diaminoanisole
  • diaminophenol
  • diaminotoluene
  • diazolidinyl urea
  • Diethanolamide-cocamide, lauramide & oleamide condensates
  • dioctyl adipate
  • disperse blue 1
  • disperse yellow 3
  • DMDM-Hydantoin
  • ethoxylated alcohols
  • ethyl alcohol
  • fluoride
  • formaldehyde
  • glutaral
  • green 1,2,3
  • hydroquinone
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • lanolin
  • Laureth's
  • Methacrylate copolymers
  • Metheneamine
  • methylene chloride
  • Morpholine
  • nitrophenylenediamine
  • Nonoxynol
  • Oleth's
  • Padimate-O (octyldimethyl para-amino benzoic acid)
  • PEG's (polyethylene glycols)
  • polyoxymethyleneurea
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Polysorbate 80
  • polyvinyl acetate
  • polyvinyl pyrrolidone
  • p-phenylphenylenediamine
  • pyrocatechol
  • Pyroglutamic Acid
  • Quaternium-15
  • quaternium-26
  • red 4,9,17,19,22,33,40
  • saccharin
  • Sodium/Hydroxynethylglycinate
  • talc
  • TEA
  • vTEA-Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • titanium dioxide
  • Yellow 5,6,8

I hope you have benefited from this harmful ingredients list of chemicals to help you avoid toxic ingredients in your toiletries and all of your home and personal care products!

Return from Harmful Ingredients List to Nontoxic Alternatives

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