Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What's in My Products?

I've been interested in natural products since yoga-teacher training. I had previously paid no through to what was in the products I put on my body. Training opened my eyes, and though I can't say I exclusively use natural products, I have incorporated them into my daily life. The tough part? What does the term natural mean? Countless products use it in their labeling. This blog post is my attempt at figuring out how my current products score in terms of hazard level. My go-to resource for checking on product is the Environment Working Group's Skin Deep database. It contains thousands of listings, but it isn't perfect. Many newer products are not listed yet.



This is what I learned when I looked up some of the products I use:
  • Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner. Aveeno's Pure Renewal shampoo has a score of 6, which is quite high. I haven't purchased these since running out. I'm currently looking for a new shampoo and conditioner. Among the concerns for the shampoo: 
    IngredientConcernsScore
    FRAGRANCEEcotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
    Data: Fair
    ISOBUTANEMultiple, additive exposure sources, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Contamination concerns (BUTADIENE), Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Use restrictions
    Data: Fair

    SD ALCOHOL 40BEnhanced skin absorption, Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Multiple, additive exposure sources, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
    Data: None
    PROPANEMultiple, additive exposure sources, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
    Data: Fair

    Concerns for the conditioner included:

    IngredientConcernsScore
    FRAGRANCEEcotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
    Data: Fair

  • Aveeno Active Naturals Purifying Body Wash (seaweed and oatmeal). It wasn't listed in the database. Other products by Aveeno had scores of 3 and 4 (moderate hazard) because of limited data. The body wash contains sodium laureth sulfate, which according to the site, is "derived from ethoxylated lauryl alcohol and used as a surfactant; may be contaminated with potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane." However, the ingredient is "safe for use in cosmetics with some qualifications." 
    IngredientConcernsScore
    FRAGRANCEEcotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
    Data: Fair
  • Conscious Coconut oil. It's not listed in the database but its website says it's made with "certified USDA organic, cold-pressed, virgin Coconut Oil from fair trade farms in both Thailand and the Philippines." What I really love about the coconut oil is that it feeds a child with every purchase. A downside is that it can be difficult to squeeze out of the tube. 
  • Lush Mask of Magnaminty. The mask was not in the database, but it's made with "peppermint oil to stimulate, marigold oil and chlorophyllin to treat the skin; evening primrose seeds and aduki beans to gently exfoliate as you remove it." The specific ingredients are clearly listed on Lush's website. 
  • Tom's of Maine Original Care Natural Unscented deodorant. Many of Tom's deodorants have scores of 1-2 from Skin Deep, which means low hazard. I notice that it doesn't work as well as other, not-natural deodorants, but I would rather use a safer alternative.
  • Tom's of Maine Simply White toothpaste. It has a score of 3 (moderate hazard), according to Skin Deep's database. I like the refreshing, clean taste. Concerns were:
    IngredientConcernsScore
    SODIUM FLUORIDEDevelopmental/reproductive toxicity, Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Occupational hazards, Use restrictions
    Data: Fair
    FLAVORMiscellaneous
    Data: Fair
  • Burt's Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm with Kokum Butter. According to the label it's 100 percent natural. The Skin Deep database gives it a score of 2, which is a low hazard. The two ingredients the database points out as moderate hazards are myroxylon pereirae oil and cananga odorata oil.
    IngredientConcernsScore
    MYROXYLON PEREIRAE (BALSAM PERU) OILUse restrictions
    Data: Limited
    CANANGA ODORATA (YLANG YLANG) OIL
    CANANGA ODORATA FLOWER OIL
    Multiple, additive exposure sources, Use restrictions
    Data: Limited
  • Burt's Bees Pink Grapefruit Face Wipes. The wipes are made with responsibly sourced materials. I still try to limit use to when I'm trying or on-the-go because I don't like to be wasteful. The wipes aren't listed in the database but similar face wipes had scores of 4, which indicates a moderate hazard. One of the concerns for another type of Burt's Bees Facial Wipes is the fragrance. This is listed under the product called Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes (unscented). 
    IngredientConcernsScore
    FRAGRANCEEcotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Miscellaneous, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
    Data: Fair

Want to know what's in your products? Search for them in the Skin Deep database.

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