APPS & TECH

Avoid risky hormonal cocktails in everyday products | Critical Consumer Quest #2

Discover the results of a new study on the wide use of endocrine disruptors in cosmetics conducted by BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) and learn what you can do.

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ToxFox logo © BUND/ Friends of the Earth Germany

We don’t focus on bad products here on BEAUTYCALYPSE, but we do read a helpful study, which I did since that ominous BUND newsletter (endocrine disruptors found in 30 % of tested personal care products + ToxFox app) popped up two days ago, and friends and readers have emailed me, asking excitedly “have you seen that!?” and “what do you think?”

Yes; I’ve seen it; and here’s what I think:

Given that the WHO branded endocrine disruptors a “global threat” in 2013 (because the hormone-like chemicals don’t just sit with the person that’s been exposed, they get into the environment and affect everybody and every living thing out there), the documented carelessness of cosmetic companies is like a bitchslap for people they live off royally.”

And it’s actually absolutely possible to cut out those chemicals.
And of course it’s a well-known fact, but thank you BUND for a real documentation of the ingredient madness we are served.

Let’s see the results of the study first. It’s followed by a list of cosmetic ingredients to avoid (16 endocrine disruptors) and by a more in-depth explanation what those “endocrine disruptors” are and what horrible damage they are causing (it’s all documented, you guys; thanks, science).

LONG STORY SHORT

For this new study, 62’559 personal care products available on the German market were tested – shampoos, grooming products, baby care (yes, baby care), perfumes, lipsticks, deodorants and more. The aim of the study was to show if and how many of ingredients known as endocrine disruptors are used.
And the results are maddening:

  • 30 % of all tested products contain at least one, every fifth product several endocrine disruptors.
  • The amount of dangerous products by trusted brands is disgusting. To quote from the freely downloadable study (German), the percentage of affected products is as high as 45 % of 3513 tested products resp. 46 % of 1615 tested products with such leading beauty brands as L’Oréal (Garnier, L’Oréal Men Expert) and Beiersdorf (Nivea, 8×4).
    More numbers: 66 % of 129 Chanel products; 61 % of 214 Kao Brands products (Guhl, John Frieda); 50 % of 191 tested Shiseido products (Shiseido, Carita); 40 % of 234 LVMH Fragrance products (Dior, Benefit); 35 % of 188 Pierre Fabre products (Avène, Ducray); 46 % of 1229 Procter & Gamble products (Wella, Head & shoulders); 38 % of 261 Korres products.
  • Most affected products are: hair wax, sunscreen, men’s/ grooming products, lipstick/gloss, toothpaste, and baby shampoo.
  • Natural beauty companies – natural meaning “certified organic” – such as alva (btw, I love their silky smooth lip glosses + talc-free baked powder blush), Laverana, Logocos, Weleda were tested and had 0 % hormonal threats. Yay, more reasons to go green!

DON’T PANIC or: THE STUFF TO AVOID

The EU has identified about 550 chemicals that act like hormones in everyday products. Sadly, cosmetic ingredients are only one part of the big sad picture; add chemicals such as Bisphenol A and the plastisizers (phtalates) you find in plastic products; and don’t forget about pesticides (even though many are forbidden, they are still in the environment) and Co.

194 of those 550 chemicals are categorized as priority 1, meaning their hormone-like behaviour has been proven (soft soul vegans, please jump NOW to the next paragraph) with in-vivo studies.

16 of those 194 highly dangerous chemicals are used in cosmetics and personal care products.

To avoid that bad stuff, the study suggests you should make sure your beauty products don’t contain:

  • Preservatives Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben
  • UV-filters and UV-absorbers Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (OMC), 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, 3-Benzylidene Camphor, Benzophenone-1, Benzophenone-2
  • Cyclotetrasiloxane
  • Butylhydroxyanisol (BHA)
  • Boric Acid
  • Diethyl phthalate
  • Hydroxycinnamic acid
  • Dihydroxybiphenyl
  • Hair dye: Resorcinol

(Click on the image below to open, download it, print it – check your printer and make sure you size it down to your convenience, like I did – and put it into your pocket as a reminder)

endocrine-disruptors-in-beauty-products-to-avoid

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Still readable at 30 % print size. I’d say, 30-40 % is best.

BUND has also released a free iPhone app called ToxFox that contains all tested products. It’s an easy-to-use surface (German only). The niftiest feature is: you can automatically send a protest message to the cosmetics company in case you should discover that your fave toothpaste is a no-go. The app database comes from Codecheck.info.
Of course, you can check every product you are using with two simple free online database tools like EWG Skindeep (USA) and Codecheck (Switzerland).

WHY ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS ARE SO DANGEROUS

1. Because they are absorbed by the skin and in the body tissues where they can wreak havoc, AND because they get into the environment where you can get exposed to them even if you’re using safe products.
2. Because especially unborn children, and children up to their puberty are highly affected by those chemicals and cause male infertility, hormone-induced cancer, premature puberty with girls, behavioural changes – some even associate the rise of the type-2 diabetes with the chemical cocktails we absorb on a daily basis. And given that the chemicals have been around since most of our childhood, well… Not so great.
3. Because even though the endocrine disruptors in ONE PRODUCT won’t kill you (and that’s exactly what most brand representatives will be telling you: “It’s such tiny amounts, it’s totally safe”), the chemical cocktail you are exposed to on a daily basis is unpredictably dangerous. The study gives the following, horrifyingly authentic example: shampoo parabenes + UV filters + resorcinol from your hair dye + phtalates from your shower curtain + BPA from the canned food = hormonal cocktail de deadly luxe flowing through your system!

MORE ACTION & INFORMATION

>>> Check your fave products with EWG’ Skin Deep
>>> Check your fave products with Codecheck.info
>>> Get the German ToxFox app for free or
>>> Use the mobile ToxFox resource for Android and Co
>>> Discover the WHO papers about endocrine disruptors and their global impact
>>> Read the Friends of the Earth press release (USA) about the industry’s efforts to weaken regulations on endocrine disruptors
>>> ASK and SHARE! Ask the sales people in your beauty corner, ask your fave brand’s customer service, tell your friends and family – but don’t be mean to them – many people haven’t even heard of this stuff (and hell, you’re hardly speaking to those who put it in in the first place), and are more likely to get interested in the matter if you don’t attack them.
Let’s help detox the world.

12 replies »

    • true. worst thing IMHO: pretty much like with smoking, you are affected even if you don’t use it yourself: here you breathe in somebody’s perfume, there it gets in the drinking water… you start seeing the beauty corners of this world from a very different perspective. more like “why are they killing me?”

    • my pleasure.
      sadly, it’s only a fracture of “to avoidables”, but it’s a start.