Petroleum derivitative; may contain carcinogenic
contaminants; may cause acne.
3. Mineral oil
Petroleum derivative; photo toxin; eye and skin
irritant; may cause birth defects; potential carcinogen; can
contain carcinogenic contaminants.
4. Sodium lauryl sulfate
Used in most shampoos, toothpaste, laundry
detergent, dish detergent, & body washes. Can causes urinary
tract infections, dry skin, hair & scalp, allergies,
hair loss, eczema; skin irritant; mutagen; CIR panel says
safe as used in “rinse off” products, up to 1% concentration
in “leave-on products.” We are against Sulfates of any
5.Sodium laureth sulfate
Used in most shampoos. skin ans eye irritant; can
be contaminated with dangerous levels of toxins; contains ammonium
It is a binder, plasticizing ingredient and solvent
in cosmetics. Polyethylene is a product of petroleum gas or
dehydration of alcohol. Caused cancer in rats
in laboratory studies. Ingestion of large oral doses has
produced kidney and liver damage.
Used in many cosmetics. Skin irritant, may cause
formation of carcinogens in products containing nitrogen
compounds; CIR panel says safe up to 10% concentrations in
products that do not contain nitrosating agents.
Used in many cosmetics. mucous membrane, eye and
skin irritant; absorbed through skin;
carcinogen in mice; can cause formation of carcinogens
with nitrogen containing compounds; may contain nitrosamine
contaminants not listed on label; CIR says safe up to 5%
concentration in rinse off products only.
9. Sodium oleth sulfate
Used in many shampoos & can be contaminated
with dangerous levels of toxins; contains ammonium salts; see
ammonia, ethoxylated alcohols.
10. Sodium coceth sulfate
Skin irritant, may cause allergies and
hypersensitivity. Can cause rashes.
Used in many cosmetics & as a preservative;
skin irritant; strong allergen; toxic& suspected
12. Magnesium laureth sulfate
used in shampoos & may contain toxic
byproducts; contains ammonium salts; see ammonia, ethoxylated
best to avoid all cosmetics containing ammonia or
13. Disodium EDTA
Used in many cosmetics & may cause formation of
carcinogens in products containing nitrogen compounds; mucous
membrane, eye and skin irritant, may cause asthma, kidney damage.
14. Sodium hydroxide
Used in hair straighteners/relaxers. It is a
severe eye and skin irritant; corrosive; mutagen.
15. Hydantoin DMDM
A preservative/emulsifier derived from
formaldehyde, a known carcinogen commonly used in
children's conditioners & detanglers.
Baby shampoo should be safe. Not
Baby shampoo should be safe, not toxic. So why can it contain
carcinogens? Our new ad campaign exposes the ugly truth about the
In January 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released product
tests that found the chemical 1,4-dioxane in nearly two dozen popular
baby soaps, bubble baths and shampoos, including Sesame Street character
brands and even the iconic "pure and gentle" Johnson &
Johnson's baby shampoo. None of the products listed 1,4-dioxane on the
Why do products contain this nasty chemical? 1,4-dioxane is a
byproduct of a dirty petrochemical process called "ethyoxylation,"
which involves adding ethylene oxide (a known breast carcinogen) to
other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. For example, sodium
laurel sulfate – notoriously harsh on the skin – is often converted
to the gentler chemical sodium laureth sulfate by adding ethylene oxide
(the "eth" denotes ethoxylation), which causes 1,4-dioxane
Sodium laureth sulfate is just one common example. More than 56
cosmetics ingredients are associated with the contaminant 1,4-dioxane.
Even many natural brands contain 1,4-dioxane. Product tests released
in March 2008 found the synthetic carcinogen in 46 out of 100
"natural" or "organic" products tested.
The good news: many companies in the natural products industry are
quitting the ethoxylation habit. New standards such as the Whole Foods
Premium Body Care Seal do not allow ethoxylation, and many companies
have been quietly reformulating to replace chemicals such as sodium
laureth sulfate that are associated with 1,4-dioxane.
1,4-dioxane is a known animal carcinogen and probable human
carcinogen, according to the EPA. As with many chemicals of concern used
in cosmetics, the companies do not disagree that the chemical is toxic.
However, they argue that it's "just a little bit" of
1,4-dioxane in the baby shampoo. Unfortunately, the same baby may be
exposed to 1,4-dioxane from the bubble bath, the shampoo, the body wash
and many other sources in the same day.
What You Can Do
Avoid using products that list ingredients that may be contaminated
with 1,4-dioxane, including sodium myreth sulfate, PEG compounds and
chemicals that include the clauses "xynol," "ceteareth"
Sign up for e-mail updates from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
We'll e-mail you once or twice each month about products, ingredients
and what you can do to protect yourself.
Body lotion should be safe. Not
Our 2002 report, Not Too Pretty, found hormone-disrupting chemicals
called phthalates in nearly three-fourths of the 72 products tested,
even though none listed phthalates on the labels. Phthalates are used in
soft, flexible plastics and are a frequent component of fragrances used
in air fresheners, detergents, cleaning products - and cosmetics. A
significant loophole in the law allows phthalates (and other chemicals)
to be added to fragrances without disclosure to consumers. Because
fragrance occurs in nearly every conceivable product, including lotions,
soaps, cleansers and hair care products, phthalates are common.
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed
that every one of the 289 people tested had dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in
his or her body. In particular, women aged 20 to 40 (squarely in their
childbearing years) had the highest levels of DBP. The CDC scientists
speculated these high levels could come from personal care products and
cosmetics, among other things.
Two decades of research suggest that phthalates disrupt the hormonal
systems during fetal development. Phthalate exposure in human mothers
has been associated with a shortened distance between the anus and
genitals in male babies, characteristic of female sex in both humans and
Further research in humans shows a relationship between exposure to
various phthalates and low sperm counts, damaged sperm, testicular
atrophy, undescended testicles and birth defects of the penis such as
hypospadias. Researchers suggest that these de-masculinizing effects
emerge because phthalates act like estrogens in the body by binding to
hormone receptors on cells.
What You Can Do
Choose products with no added
synthetic fragrance. Look for products without the word "fragrance" on
the label, or choose products that use "natural fragrance" or essential
Potentially harmful ingredients in
personal products include:
Potential toxins in everyday products - some of the
ingredients used are just cheap petroleum product based fillers, some
are the same as used in engine degreasers and antifreeze, aluminum is
linked to Alzheimer's disease, some may suffocate the skin's breathing
surface, some dry up the skin and help in aging the skin, others may
cause harm on the eyes or in the brain, among other potential problems
(including being a carcinogen that can cause cancer).