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The U.S. government has documented more than 10,500 ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products of which only a small percentage have been tested for safety. Of those that have been tested, some have been identified as carcinogens (cancer causing), teratogens (causing birth defects), and reproductive toxicants that damage the ability to reproduce.

The following is a list of some of the most hazardous ingredients in personal care products according to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research group.
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“The mercury preservative thimerosol is still used in
personal care products such as mascara and eyedrops,
in spite of its known dangers.”
The mercury preservative thimerosol is still used in personal care products such as mascara and eye drops, in spite of its known dangers. Studies have shown that even at low exposures or doses, thimerosol, which has been implicated in autism and other neurodevelopment disorders, can cause damage to brain function.
The government removed lead from house paint and gasoline because studies showed that the neurotoxin harmed the developing brains of children. Lead is still used by a popular men’s hair color company in a full line of products and is also used in the manufacture of dandruff treatments, hair bleaches, styling gels and lotions.
Placenta from humans and cows are commonly used in conditioners for the skin and hair. In a few recent case studies, these same extracts in cosmetics give the body a slug of hormones that may be enough to spur breast growth in toddlers according to a few recent case studies.
Fragrance is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is also one of the top five allergens in the world and the leading cause of allergic reactions to cosmetics. Most fragrances can contain hundreds of chemicals and ingredients which manufacturers are not required to list. Ninety-five percent of chemicals found in fragrances are derived from petroleum.
Skin lighteners use hydroquinone, an ingredient that the FDA has warned can cause skin disease, including, ochronosis, that causes permanent blue-black lesions.
Phthalates are extremely toxic chemicals that are used to make protective coatings such as “Teflon” and still commonly used in household products and personal care products. Nail polishes and top coats commonly contain phthalates, which have been linked to reduced fertility, harm to the male reproductive system and are especially dangerous to fetuses.
The same manufacturers who make gas also make petroleum products used in cosmetics for the face and body. Exposure to some contaminants in petroleum are carcinogens including 1,4-dioxane used in some baby shampoos and petrochemical waste called coal tar used in scalp treatment shampoos.
1. ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS - Glycolic and lactic acids commonly used in anti-wrinkle products and exfoliates. The FDA is studying a possible link between the acids and sun sensitivity cancer.
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2. BENZALDEHYDE - Found in perfume, cologne, hairspray, deodorants, Vaseline, shaving cream, shampoo, and bar soap. May cause irritation to the mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs, GI tract, causing nausea and pain and also kidney damage.
3. BUTYL ALCOHOL, BUTANOL or any other chemical with "BUTYL" in the name is a strong irritant and toxin.

BUTYLATE HYDROXYTUOLENE - Found in lipsticks, baby oil, eyeliners and soaps. It is known to cause cancer in animals and is suspected of causing birth defects as well.

BUTYLENE - Common in hair sprays; known to be toxic to central nervous system and kidneys.

BUTYL CELLOSOLVE and ISOBUTENE - A neurotoxin that can damage the central nervous system, kidney and liver. Listed as a pesticide.
4. DMDM HYDANTOIN & UREA - Preservatives that release FORMALDEHYDE into the body.
5. ETHYL ALCOHOL, ETHANOL, S.D. ALCOHOL - Alcohol is used as an antibacterial agent in mouthwashes, nail enamel, astringents, and as the base for many perfumes and colognes and many cosmetics. Medically it is used as a topical disinfectant, sedative and blood vessel dilator. In order to be used in cosmetics it must be denatured (made undrinkable) by such toxic solvents as acetone, turpentine and benzene which make it poisonous in moderate to large amounts. Ingestion may cause nausea, vomiting, impaired perception, stupor, coma and death.
6. FORMALDEHYDE - A toxic, colorless gas that is an irritant and a carcinogen. Found in many cosmetic products and conventional nail care systems.
7. LANOLIN - When supplied as cosmetic grade product it can be contaminated with pesticides.
8. SODIUM HYDROXIDE - A powerful alkali used in industry for cleaning drains and pipe lines; also used in oven cleaners. Workers exposed to steam containing sodium hydroxide have suffered lung damage and an increased risk of throat cancer. Used in toothpastes and as a pH adjuster in skin creams. Known to cause contact dermatitis and sensitizes individuals to other chemicals.
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These and other detergents are industrial surfactants that are linked to cancer, and literally strip the scalp and skin of necessary oils, leaving it dry, and severely itchy and flaky. Originally, they were designed as car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers and now are found in 95% of shampoos and body cleansers. Can cause infections in the genitals of young children, yet is the main ingredient in baby shampoos and bubble bath.
10. TALC - Contained in baby powder, foot powder, pressed eye shadow and blush, and foundation. Has been linked to uterine cancer and respiratory problems in infants.
11. TITANIUM DIOXIDE - Found in soaps, sunscreens, lipstick, foundation and many products that are used on a daily basis. According to the Environmental Working Group's database, it is in 2,416 products and is "thought to possibly cause cancer in humans based on limited data" and has been "not yet assessed for safety by the cosmetic industry's Cosmetic Ingredient Board."
12. TRICLOSAN - A registered pesticide with the FDA that is still used in antibacterial soaps. It has been linked to cancer and can be a hormone disruptor.