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Toxins to Avoid


We continually research the growing number of "baddies & nasties" in ordinary products and share our findings with you in our newsletters. Here are some extracts from our newsletters and hope you find them interesting.

Make-up Remover

Makeup removers may contain a variety of hazardous ingredients. Some companies add polyethylene glycol and ceteareth, both of which can be contaminated with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen, and 1,4-dioxane, a probable carcinogen. Makeup removers may also contain DMDM hydantoin, which may release carcinogenic formaldehyde, the skin irritant propylene glycol and even potentially toxic coal tar colours. Most brands are preserved with parabens, which are estrogen-mimicking chemicals that can disrupt the endocrine system. Fragrances are also frequently added to makeup removers.

Use a natural eco alternative - try Little Violet's Baby Cleanser- a unique blend of natural floral hydrosols.

Due to increase usage of Isothiazolinone-based preservatives used in cosmetics & toiletries in recent years, a major increase of reported contact allergy to this product have been reported, and in 2013 it was dubbed the 2013 Contact Allergen of the Year.

It is a powerful biocide with industrial applications ranging from industrial water storage tanks to cooling units, in processes as varied as mining, paper manufacturing, metalworking fluids and energy production even the antifouling agent of choice in ship hull paint. Do we really want to use products that include even very low levels of this industrial biocide on our skin? - it is currently approved for cosmetic use by Japan and European community.


Vegans be aware that many SYNTHETIC fabric softener sheets are made using tallow, a form of animal fat

Most SYNTHETIC fabric softeners have fragrance added to them in order to cover up the chemical smells of their ingredients.

Certain chemical preservatives in SYNTHETIC fabric softener release formaldehyde

Ingredients in SYNTHETIC fabric softener include Chloroform, Benzyl Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, A-Terpineol, Phthalates - Chloroform is a Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic & may cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation of respiratory tract and loss of consciousness


The main ingredient in most blushes is talc, which may be contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos fibres. The US National Toxicology Panel has found that talc can be toxic and carcinogenic even if it is free of asbestos. Silica, if it is present in powdered blushes, may also damage the lungs and respiratory system. Alumina, used in many conventional blushes as an anti-caking agent, is considered to be a neurotoxin. Colour in blushes is usually provided by hazardous coal tar dyes, including dyes such as D&C Red 7 Lake and FD&C Yellow 5 Aluminum Lake, both of which are neurotoxic. Acrylate compounds, commonly used as thickening agents, can be strong irritants. Parabens, BHT and diazolidinyl urea are all used to preserve blushes, with parabens being the most widely-used. Parabens can disrupt the endocrine system and have been found in breast cancer tumours.

New formulations of blush, which use iron oxides for colour and mica instead of talc, are better alternatives. However, be aware that some mineral makeups may contain bismuth oxychloride, which is used for shine. Bismuth oxychloride can irritate sensitive skin and cause redness and itching, and, although it may not cause problems as an ingredient in conventional makeup, it is present in higher concentrations in mineral makeups.

Eye Shadow

Eye shadows are used for the colours they provide, but artificial colours like carcinogenic coal tar dyes are frequent allergens. One dye - FD&C Yellow No. 5 may cause severe reactions in people allergic to aspirin, and is potentially toxic to the nervous system. Eye shadows that use iron oxides for colour are a better choice.

Talc, a carcinogen, is the main ingredient in many powdered eye shadows. As well as talc, powdered silica is used in many brands. Both talc and and silica in powdered form can be carcinogenic when inhaled. Silica is also a respiratory toxin. Eye shadow may also contain dimethicone, a potentially harmful silicon-based polymer, which helps the powder stick to the eyelid.

Cream eye shadows are made with petrochemicals like mineral oil, an allergen that can be toxic to the immune system, petrolatum, which can be contaminated with carcinogenic PAHS, and lanolin oil, an allergen that may contain pesticide residues.

The glitter in eye shadows and eyeliners is often created by adding finely ground particles of aluminum or bronze, both of which have been linked with cancer and can be neurotoxic. In 2000, the Consumer Agency and Ombudsman in Finland tested 49 eye shadows and found that they all contained impurities of at least one of the metals lead, cobalt, nickel, chromium and arsenic. Researchers say the amounts could cause allergic symptoms in sensitive people, and, over the long term, could cause other people to become sensitive. BHA, a probable carcinogen, is a preservative in a number of eyeshadows. Parabens, which can disrupt the hormonal system, are also common preservatives in mainstream eyeshadow products.


2-butoxyethanol (or ethylene glycol monobutyl ether) and other glycol ethers. A solvent in carpet cleaners and speciality cleaners which can be inhaled or absorbed via the skin. Can cause blood, liver and kidney problems.

Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEs) synthetic surfactants found in cleaning and some personal care products, detergents and pesticides. They break down to alkylphenols, strong hormone disruptors. Ammonia is a natural compound, but is also manufactured as an ingredient in cleaning products, fertilizers and smelling salts. Considered very toxic if swallowed or inhaled. Known Asthma trigger and possibly Carcinogenic. Butyl Cellosolve (Butyl Glycol, Ethylene Glycol, Monobutyl) found in multi purpose cleaners, glass and oven cleaners, spot removers and air fresheners. Highly toxic when inhaled and linked to reproductive and neurological issues. Chlorine Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite)... used as a disinfectant. Toxic if swallowed. By-products linked to respiratory problems and some cancers. Never mix with other cleaning as poisonous gases are released. Undiluted, will burn skin and clothes. Harmful to animals and planet.

COCAMIDE DEA … Foaming agent for shampoos and bathroom products. Is an allergen and can cause contact dermatitis. High irritation potential.

Diethylene Glycol--- DEG… Found in anti-freeze, brake fluids, dyes and some Laundry products! WHY? Toxic to humans and animals: can lead to renal failure. In personal care products, DEG is, usually, replaced by a less toxic ingredient. ALWAYS by a TOTALLY SAFE item is the right way to go, surely?

Formaldehyde ….A preservative used in personal and household cleaners. "Known to be a human carcinogen.” Some reports say that it's banned in the EU: not true. Also irritates eyes, lungs and throat. It is used to kill bacteria, preserve dead bodies and manufacture other chemicals. Lovely stuff !!!

Mineral Oil:… Petroleum derived hydrocarbons; used as cheap base in some products (less today than in the past). Is moderately comedogenic (Tending to produce or aggravate acne.) May also interfere with normal perspiration and other skin functions.

Monoethanolamine (MEA), Diethanolamine (DEA) or Triethanolamine (TEA)

Added to some detergents to make them non-irritating to the skin. Can react with other chemicals to form a known carcinogen, nitrosodiethanolamine, which has been linked with stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancer. Considered a possible carcinogenic and linked to asthma, rhinitis, eczema and anemia.

Nanoparticles: Ultra fine particles possessing certain properties due to their very small size. This may include the ability to accumulate in the body and to trigger potentially harmful chemical reactions. Concerns about their use in skin care and cosmetics. Currently, nanoparticles (such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles) are most commonly used in sunscreens.

Parabens … Used as preservatives to inhibit microbial growth and extend shelf life. Methyl paraben may degrade releasing methanol, a potentially toxic chemical. Their estrogenicity and tissue presence are a cause for concern regarding breast cancer.

Phenols ---Phenols are found in air fresheners, laundry products, disinfectants and more. These chemicals cause skin irritation, muscle weakness, tremors, paralysis, respiratory arrest, pulmonary distress, liver and kidney damage and even severe burns. A real Nasty. Phosphates--- found in laundry detergent and some cleaning products. Phosphates in streams, rivers and oceans kill marine life and alter the ecological system. Phased out of many products because of this danger, they're still found in some. Phthalates--- found in a wide variety of products, including plastics, toys, personal care products and cleaning supplies, mostly as fragrances. Phthalates are possible carcinogens and have been linked to reproductive issues in male rats.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate -- A common detergent in cleaners and shampoos. Prolonged exposure likely to cause skin irritation and dryness.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate.. Very close relative of Sodium Laurel Sulfate but the ETH\ stands for Ether. Like SLS, this ingredient is widely used in soaps, shampoos, detergents,toothpastes and other "foam up" items. Both are esters of Sulphuric acid ( lubbly jubbly.) Laureth is often contaminated with Dioxane, a known carcinogen.

Synthetic Colors: Divided opinions on this one. Some reports may be slightly damaging, others say they are cancer causing and induce allergies. Some colours now banned.

Synthetic Fragrances: These mystery mixtures can contain hundreds of untested chemicals, including toxic ingredients like phthalates and synthetic musks - both hormone disruptors. Fragrances are also among the top five allergens in the world.

Triclosan… main ingredient in most antibacterial products. Kills both good and bad bacteria and contributes to bacterial resistance, not good. It's also been linked to endocrine abnormalities, asthma, allergies and eczema, and it has been found in both umbilical cord samples and breast milk.