Lately there have been stories related concerning our personal care items like toothpaste, deodorant and even lip gloss. It has been stated that within these items are contents of harmful ingredients. These stories have been talk in media circuits. Even in Congress they are the topic of a bill, The Safe Cosmetics Act 2010. Insufficient regulations and questionable safety of cosmetics had brought about the talent of Annie Leonard who’s fame was for the video “The Story Stuff” now to create “The Story of Cosmetics”.
Multitudes of chemicals which have the legal authority to be used in the development of personal care products however, they are either not test or tested improperly or have been demonstrated to be harmful. Few of them are actually vastly used or even needed such as endocrine disrupting chemical triclosan which is contained in about 75% of all liquid hand soaps and triclocarban which is mostly in deodorant soaps. Scientists currently have discovered many new reasons why the use of these chemicals should not be allowed in consumer products. The Department of Natural Resources, this past later part of July had filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration demanding that they ban both triclosan and triclocarban from being used in soaps and body washes.
Triclocarban and triclosan combined have been used vastly in products such as body washes, shave gels and dog shampoos. They can be found in popular product brands such as Colgate and Dial. Even though they have been used for a couple of decades due to their antibacterial and antfungul elements, studies and even the FDA have acknowledged their effectiveness is equal to that of soap and water. Therefore, they are being used solely for only two purposes which is giving companies the right to market personal care products as antibacterial and contaminating the water and eventually the entire environment.
In the year 2009, the EPA had run tests on 84 sewage sledge samples across the United States. The EPA had discovered triclocarban in all the samples taken and triclosan in 79 of them. The research which had been published in 2007, had also demonstrated triclocarban shows up more often and in larger concentrations downstream of waste water treatment plants as in comparison to upstream. This indicates the chemicals or just not going into the waste water treatment plants but they are also leaving the plants in sewage sludge and out flow. Triclocarban is firm and takes a decade for it to disintegrate.
However, triclosan does disintegrate into dioxins. What is most shocking is Centers for Disease Control had published information in July presenting the levels of triclosan in Americans had gone up, averaging about greater than 40% within a two year period of 2003-2004 and 2005-2006.
The reactions of triclosan and triclocarban in which are going into our systems seem to be endocrine disruptors. Scientists state that triclocarban has a particular appearance in which it does not display endocrine activity alone it intensifies the emphasis of other hormones’ androgen’s which are male hormones, estrogen and cortisol. Conducted animal studies have shown that triclosan influences male and female sex hormones. It will also hamper with the thyroid hormone.
Undoubtedly, the main path of exposure to triclosan and triclocarban are through personal care products. In soaps there appearance can be absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream, and when using toothpaste that contains triclosan, the chemical is being placed directly into the mouth and here it can remain within the saliva for hours. A study published last month had discovered that soybean plants which are in soil that has contamination of triclocarban and triclosan absorb both chemicals into their roots, leaves and beans. This then suggests that crops that have been with sewage sledge or irrigated with the overflow from waste water treatment plants, both of these which frequently contained the chemicals, would end up in food contamination with these chemicals. It also needs to be mentioned that sewage sludge is sold in composts and fertilizers for home gardens. The evidence that plants take in these chemicals should not be the standard to decide that chemicals safety within sewage sludge. Persons who have home gardens along with their family would be exposed to any type of chemical in sludge that is sold commercially. Exposure would come from gardening or playing in this soil.
NRDC references the recent news from the CDC about increases with the bodies of Americans in triclosan and the conclusion in the study of soybeans taking in both chemicals into the consumable parts of the plant in the press release which announced the lawsuit. Dr. Sarah Janssen, senior NRDC scientist states that without any benefits being proved and numerous red flags being raised for harmful health effects. She goes on to state that using alleged antibacterial is unnecessary and “stupid use of toxic chemicals”.
The FDA website states that triclosan “is not currently known to be hazardous to humans,” also giving the warning that several scientific studies have now come out since the last FDA review of the ingredient that donate further reviews. However, this is not stating that triclosan is positively safe. The FDA is continuing bringing up the question of whether or not triclosan aides in making bacteria immune to antibiotics. This in closing is that even though triclosan may produce some aide in toothpaste by the prevention of gingivitis, there is no other proof of any other benefits to health.
Right now both the FDA and EPA are taking a new look at triclosan due to the prompting of Representative Edward Markey, Democrat in Massachusetts. In April, Representative Markey had told the Washington Post the expansion of triclosan in consumer products used every day is massive. It is nearly in all most types of products including toys and clothes. He does not think it is necessary for large amounts of information to be collected before making easing decisions regarding toys and soaps in which persons use. It is undoubtedly something that presents a danger.
Representative Markey was one of three members of Congress to present the Safe Cosmetics Act along with Representative Jan Schakowsky from Illinois and Representative Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin. The bill’s intent is to diminish ingredients associated to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm which are now used in cosmetics, revise labeling requirements on cosmetics and to develop a list of cosmetic ingredients which are known to be safe. This would bring about an advancement of cosmetic safety in numerous ways. Right now it is a volunteer basis for a manufacturer to safe guard the products that it markets do not contain known carcinogens, neurotics, endocrine disruptors and other chemicals that can cause harm.
In reality there are many chemicals which are used in cosmetics which do not get tested for safety. The FDA leaves the testing up to the industry and the industry places voluntary regulations for the cosmetic companies and less than 20% of ingredients which are used in cosmetics get tested to see if they are safe. The United States has only prohibited eight ingredients out of 12,000 which are used in personal care products since 1938. In comparison facts the European Union prohibited over 1,300. This only seems to make the point known that Americans are needlessly and legally being exposed to harmful ingredients in their personal care products and this also proves that any company who sells products both in the United States and Europe already aware of the knowledge to manufacture their products without the 1,300 ingredients which are prohibited in Europe. Therefore, it is not wrong to ask these companies to maintain the same standards of safety for the United States market.
Even though the Safe Cosmetics Act would make better the safety levels of personal care products in the United States, it still would not be a definite fix to the problem. Based on the presumption that the NRDC does win the lawsuit to prohibit triclosan and triclocarban. Americans will still be suffering from the exposure of these chemicals for many years to follow.
Due to the fact that daily products we use whether personal or for our home seem to have chemicals that can cause long term health effects such as asthma which one in three persons in the United States now suffer from, we should take a new approach.
Did you know that there are chemicals such as propanediol which is colorless and harsh hygroscopic liquid which is an ingredient also found in anti-freeze, brake fluid and deicer. Did you also know it is found in some pet foods, toothpaste and shampoo.
There is the choice of going green. The products are non-toxic, biodegradable and environmentally safe. They have everything from baby wipes to training pants for the child. Household cleaners, laundry soap and hand soap all can be found. You can find these products online and in stores.
There seem to be a number of alternative methods available today from cleaning supplies to health care.
You can find millions of alternatives to almost anything now a day. The internet is a wealth of information waiting to be sought out and found.
Here are a few examples:
Lemons can kill off most household bacteria.
Corn Starch can shampoo rugs and carpets, clean windows and it use to be used years ago as baby talc.
If you mix vinegar, baking soda and water together you can have an all purpose cleaner.
You can make your own shampoo and all it takes is Chamomile tea or flowers, pure soap flakes and glycerin.
Pet food too can be made just like anyone cooking their own dinner. For one recipe all you need is water, pound of ground turkey, brown rice, some dried rosemary, and a frozen vegetable mix like peas and carrots. Not only is it homemade but I bet Bowzer not only enjoys it but appreciates you all the more.
It seems to be with the recent events of harmful chemicals in our everyday products maybe we should take a step back in time and nature and make some of our own everyday products we use. It may even be fun for the kids to help mom mix up a batch of dog food or make some homemade shampoo.
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