While most chemicals used in common personal-care products are benign, other are known carcinogens, neurotoxins or reproductive toxins. Others are endocrine disrupters that upends the body’s hormonal balance.  This leads to weight gain and other hormone-related health problems.  Among these are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body and oftentimes cause problems in sexual development and adult sexual function in addition to an increased  risk of breast and prostate cancer.

These toxic ingredients are more prevalent than you think. More than one-third of all personal-care products contain at least one ingredient linked to cancer.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate or limit the use of chemicals in personal-care products, neither do they require that all ingredients be listed on the label.

Consequently, trying to choose safer personal-care products can be confounding. We can read labels all we want, but because the FDA doesn’t regulate the health claims or labeling for personal-care items, the words “organic,” “herbal,” “natural,” “hypoallergenic” and “nontoxic” used on these products are not legally defined.  One absolutely damning example of this is the brands that have campaigns to fight breast cancer while continuing to use chemicals that have been linked to cancer in their products.
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Ingredients to Avoid

Prefixes Ethyl, Methyl, Butyl or Propyl
What It Is: Parabens
Health Risks: Endocrine disrupters that mimic estrogen; linked to weight gain and breast cancer
Found In: Lotions and shampoos

Fragrance, DEHP, DHP, DBP 5, Dibutyl Phthalate
What It Is: Phthalates
Health Risks: Sperm damage, infertility
Found In: Nail polish, shampoo, deodorant, lotion

Dyes: Blue 1, Green 3, Yellow 5 & 6, Red 33
What It Is: Coal tar
Health Risks: Carcinogenic
Found In: Hair color, medicated shampoos

Triclosan, Chloro, Phenol, Irgasan
What It Is: Triclosan
Health Risks: Endocrine and thyroid disrupter; promotes antibiotic-resistant bacteria; bioaccumulates in the body
Found In: Antibacterial soap, shampoo, facial cleanser, toothpaste, deodorant

3-(4-methylbenzylidene)-camphor (4-MBC), octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC), octyl-dimethyl-PABA (OD-PABA), bexophenome-3 (Bp-3), homosalate (HMS)
What It Is: Sunscreen chemicals
Health Risks: Estrogenic activity; enhances the potential for pesticides to penetrate the skin
Found In: Sunscreens

Polyethylene glycol (PEG, PPG, Cocoate), propylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene mineral oil
What It Is: Petroleum byproducts
Health Risks: Carcinogen; liver and kidney effects
Found In: Lotions

What It Is: Derivative of petroleum
Health Risks: Endocrine disrupter; carcinogen
Found In: Lotions

Lead acetate, thimerosal, mercurius solubilis, mercurius sublimates, mercurius corrosives, mercuric chloride
What It Is: Lead and mercury
Health Risks: Found in higher levels in women with breast cancer; neurotoxin
Found In: Hair color, wound treatments, artificial tears

What It Is: Propellant made from petroleum processing
Health Risks: Carcinogen
Found In: Moisturizer, shaving cream, foot spray, breath freshener

What It Is: Placenta, placental enzymes, placental extract
Health Risks: Filled with hormones that upset your own balance and increase estrogen
Found In: Skin and hair conditioner

What It Is: Hydroquinone
Health Risks: Can cause a skin disease called ochronosis
Found In: Skin whitener

Nano zinc oxide
What It Is: Nanoparticles
Health Risks: The safety of nanoparticles has not been tested, but they can cross the blood/brain barrier and move along nerves.
Found In: Sunscreens, lotions