On June 6th 2013 The Globe and Mail newpaper published the findings of a Canadian study. The report was about the testing of three newborn umbilical cord for chemicals. How many were found? I will tell you: 137.
When I read this information I was disturbed.
Previously in 2004, a study conducted at Reading University in England found parabens in the breast tissues of women with breast cancer.
The researchers did not expect to find parabens in the breast tissue of these women. They happened to stumble upon this surprising discovery. They thought that parabens – a synthetic preservative used in skincare - would have been broken down by the official detox centre in the body - the liver.
Why wasn’t this ingredient dealt with by the liver they wonder?
Conducting further investigations, they found that when parabens are applied to the skin, they bypass the liver and remain intact in the body where they accumulate.
Well, you might ask, “what’s wrong with that”? Actually a few things.
In the excellent book “Toxin Toxout” written by Bruce Louie and Rick Smith, I read a few years back that over 80 000 synthetic chemicals have been identified so far. We know their mode of actions although many of them have not been tested for safety (other concern).
Added to this state of affair one other important element: we do not know the synergy these chemicals create when combined with one and another. In other words, when these different chemicals find themselves in our body, their sum may well create an effect that is different and or bigger than their effect taken separately.
You follow me? This is not good news for any of us. This situation is becoming the tip of a diverse and complicated iceberg.
What is there to do? Where do we start?
Back in 1991 I choose to make as many green choices as I could to decrease the exposure to chemicals for myself and my family. I decided to buy organic food as much as I could, do an audit of my cleansing cupboard and create natural skincare.
Before we go further, let’s have a look at some basic systems in your body which are keeping you in top shape.
Endocrine system – this system is responsible in a nutshell for sending message to different organ in your body so every thing run smoothly from digestion, to falling asleep, to repairing your muscle or your bone, etc. This is one of THE system to not muck about in your system.
Liver – this organ is the official detox centre in your body. It does perform though many other very important functions which are essential for your wellbeing. Another important organ to treat with respect and care.
Kidneys – they filter your blood nonstop 24/7. Without at least one, you do not live.
Lungs – you know these ones and you know what they do. We need to look after them.
Here is what you do not want in your skincare and why.
Phtalates – This ingredient is used in all perfumes, air freshners and artificial fragrances. They help anchor the scent so it lasts longer. It has been banned in the EU as well as in California in the making of toys for children. Their effects are linked to the disturbance of the endocrine system as well as damage or cancer of the liver, kidney or lungs.
Parabens – This is a family of chemicals used as synthetic preservatives which are mimicking oestrogen in your body. Too much oestrogen in the body create problems such as fibroma for women. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) enlighted in 2015 that propyl paraben is an endocrine disrupting chemical linked to decreased fertility in women. It is also found (getting ready for this one) as a preservative in corn tortillas and muffins.
Triclosan – This is an ingredient acting as a disinfectant. Hormone disrupting chemicals. Affect the liver. Affect the immune system.
Sodium Lauryl sulphate – This is an emulsifier (creates the mayonnaise texture in a cream) as well as foaming agent. Possibly carcinogenic and can affect liver, kidney as well as the nervous system
BHA, BHT – Preservatives. May contribute to cancer.
PEGs – This ingredient help to increase the penetration into the skin. In other words, if the skincare has PEGs plus harmful ingredients, these latter ones will penetrate better and deeper. It is also a known cancer causing ingredient.
These are only a few ingredients to consider. The list can go on and on.
What else can you do?
This information was part of a presentation done by Lise Racine at “World Menopause Day” held in October 18th 2014 on the Gold Coast.