Resources for toxin free living

I had always known that natural products were better, but until I researched the specific ingredients and their exact effects I didn't quite realise how incredibly harmful these products can be and how essential it is to avoid them where possible, especially with chronic illness.

 

I've created some resources below to educate you on the ingredients to look out for; you can find lots of websites and databases that you can use to make your transition to cleaner living as simple and straightforward as possible!

Why avoid toxins?

Many chemicals that exist in products used widely nowadays can have harmful effects on health; from endocrine / hormone disruption to cancer. If you already have a chronic illness this could further lower your immunity or increase your symptoms. If you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity you may find that these toxins trigger flare ups in your symptoms too. 

 

Although research has found that these products are harmful, they are still very much available for everyday use and are a lot cheaper than non-toxic products.

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The list of ingredients to look out for on labels includes:

 

PARABENS 

These are frequently used as preservatives in many cosmetic products. They are oestrogen-mimickers and are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have even been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumours!

  • Found in body washes, deodorants, makeup,  moisturisers, shampoos, and facial cleansers

 

PHTHALATES 

These have been linked to reproductive and developmental issues in many studies including increasing risks for breast cancer. They may often be hidden under the term “fragrance

  • Found in nail polish, deodorants, hair dye, moisturisers, hair spray, and perfumes

 

SODIUM LAURYL/LAURETH SULFATE 

This is what makes products foamy, particularly products you use to wash yourself with.

These products can interact with carcinogens like formaldehyde and nitrosamines which can lead to respiratory or kidney damage

  • Found in shampoo and foaming cleansers for face, hands and body

 

FRAGRANCE/PARFUME 

Fragrances have been linked to allergies, respiratory distress, dermatitis and can have effects on the reproductive system

  • Found in perfume/cologne, deodorant, baby products, hair products, moisturiser, air fresheners, body wash, and anything scented that isn’t an essential oil

 

FORMALDEHYDE 

This is a carcinogenic preservative also labelled as “Urea, Methylaldehyde, Formic Aldehyde, Quaternium”.

It can inhibit the immune system, cause skin reactions and has been linked to cancers. 

  • Found in body washes, shampoos, conditioners, nail varnish or remover, hair dye, cleansers, tattoo ink, eye shadows, and cleaning products

 

 

PROPYLENE GLYCOL 

This chemical can cause dermatitis and hives, it goes deep into the skin and can cause organ toxicity. It can have sensitisation effects when only in low doses, so one could use it for years and only react years later 

  • Found in shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, cosmetics, makeup, hair spray, moisturisers, ice cream, deodorant, and processed foods

 

 

TOLUENE 

This is a solvent that is able to dissolve paint and is a petrochemical from petroleum or coal tar sources. 

It’s often labelled as “Benzene, Toluol, Phenylmethane, or Methylbenzene” 

It has been linked to immune system toxicity, is a skin irritant, causes nausea and respiratory issues. 

  • Found in hair dye/bleaching products, nail varnish or removers,  furniture/floor polish, many home cleaning products and paint and paint thinner

 

TRICLOSAN 

This can contribute to antibiotic-resistance and is a skin irritant, endocrine disruptor and can cause thyroid and reproductive issues.

  •  Found in toothpaste, antibacterial cleansing products, hand sanitisers, and deodorants.

 

SUNSCREEN/SUNLOTION CHEMICALS 

These are agents that absorb UV rays yet they can cause cell damage, be carcinogenic and are toxic to marine life and coral.

Often labelled as “Avobenzone, Benzophenone, PABA, Homosalate and Ethoxycinnmate”

  • Found in conventional sunscreen products. Opt for non-nano particle zinc-based products instead

 

SYNTHETIC COLOUR 

These come from petroleum or coal tar sources and are both carcinogens and skin irritants. If a label mentions FD&C or D&C it means that there are artificial colours. 

  • Found in makeups, processed foods and confectionary and colourful personal care products

Websites 

CosDNA

http://www.cosdna.com/eng/ingredients.php

copy and paste your full ingredients list and view the safety rating of each ingredient

COSMOS-STANDARD

https://www.cosmos-standard.org/

they carry out testing to ensure products can be trusted with a database on their findings

EWG

https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

search for an ingredient, brand or product

Cosmetic Analysis

http://www.cosmeticanalysis.com/

search a brand, product or ingredient

 

Apps

Cosmethics

https://www.cosmethics.com/

-scan barcodes

-see ingredients

-tailor searches based on your allergies

 

Code Check

https://codecheck-app.com/

-simply scan a barcode

-see ingredients, ratings and scientific sources

-search for cleaner healthier product alternatives

 

Think Dirty

https://www.thinkdirtyapp.com/

-scan products

-learn ingredients

-shop cleaner options

 

Detox me

https://silentspring.org/detox-me-app-tips-healthier-living

-Track your progress and get reminders with a personalised guide

-Scan barcodes on products to find relevant tips

-Use the Buying Guides to decode product labels and find non-toxic alternatives.

-Share action-oriented tips with friends and family

Reading each of the points on list is enough for me to want to look at ingredients for everything before purchasing from now on and always.

 

Something to note though, is that it’s not just as simple as only finding ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ ingredients, because often ingredients termed with these phrases haven’t been regulated or tested sufficiently.

Have you transitioned to toxin free yet? Is this something you're going to start doing? I'd love to hear from you!

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