Archive for December, 2008

Roundtable Discussion Roundup on Toxic No No’s in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products

The roundtable discussion about  some of the  top toxic  ingredients found in cosmetics and personal care products at my home on November 2oth was a resounding success! Just over 20 women from Fairfield County and Westchester gathered together, with a sampling of their personal care products, to learn about and to share information about the safety of the ingredients in the products our families put into our bodies each day. I began with an overview of and statistics about the  meteoric rise in childhood diseases such as primary brain cancer, childhood leukemia, testicular cancer, autism and learning disabilities, asthma as well as discussing the early puberty phenomenon linked to hormonal and endocrine disruption via products we ingest and those in our environment. I went on to talk about the lack of regulation in the cosmetics and personal care product industry as the FDA does not require the industry to test its ingredients before releasing them to the public.  I talked about how America is behind the eight ball in terms of the fact that so many of the products we use day to day are actually banned from use in Europe and Canada, as their chemical regulation laws are much stricter than ours. Since we all walk around each day with at least 126 toxic chemicals floating around our bodies (according to studies by the Environmental Working Group), we reminded each other of how we must empower ourselves with the chemical realities of our daily lives and begin to make safer choices for our kids and our families.

I went over a list of at least 13 toxic chemicals to avoid in personal care products.  I educated the group about what each chemical was and where it would most likely be found. We covered fragrance. phthalates,triethanolamine (di and mono), phenylphenyl, triclosan, methyl (butly, propyl, and ethyl) parabens, imidazolindyl and diazolindyl urea, propylene glycol, synthetic colors such as FD&C Blue 1  Aluminum Lake or D&C Red 27 Lake, Petrolatum, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Stearalkonium Chloride and Dioxane-PEG. We also spoke briefly about lead and mercury.

This led to a swapping of information about the successes we’ve had or haven’t had with different products. The John Masters Shampoo line was given a lot of thumbs up as well as skincare lines from Burt’s Bee’s, Dr. Hauschka,and Sphatika (a New York line). To name some others, Jason’s toothpaste was cited as the cleanest chemically and well liked, the natural Crystal and Lafe’s Hemp Oil deoderant were popular for some. We discussed a full array of other products from hair dyes to tampons to sunblocks and much more. There were a lot of frightened faces, but in the end, most were very grateful for the information and were eager for more. The roundtable format seemed popular.

In closing, people left with a handout listing the chemicals we’d discussed, an article by the EWG on cosmetics and teens and a list of important web sites including,,,,

Can’t wait for the next roundtable topic!

Amy Clark