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Sunday, November 28, 2010

From The David Suzuki Foundation

What's Inside? That Counts: A survey of toxic ingredients in our cosmetics cover Download PDF | View news release | View executive summary
Earlier this year, the David Suzuki Foundation invited Canadians to pull back the shower curtain and participate in an online survey about toxic ingredients in common personal care products like soaps, shampoos and cosmetics. This report summarizes key findings from the survey and presents recommendations for cleaning up these products and strengthening Canada’s laws to better protect human health and the environment.
The Dirty Dozen ingredients investigated in the survey of chemicals in cosmetics (PDF)

FAQs about chemicals in cosmetics

1. What can consumers do to encourage cosmetic manufacturers to switch to less toxic ingredients?

Vote with your dollar by purchasing products that don't contain the dirty dozen. Write a letter to a company and ask them to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
You can also write a letter to the store where you shop, asking them to encourage their suppliers to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.

2. What do I do with my old cosmetic products that I no longer want?

There's no simple answer. But if you're going to stop putting harmful ingredients on your body, you don't really want to dump them into the environment either. First option is to finish using what you have. Then, when it's time to buy another bottle of shampoo, make a savvier, safer choice. If you'd rather stop using your product today because of the toxic ingredients, consider mailing it back to the manufacturer. Include a note explaining your choice and asking them to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. If you're not up for mailing your nail polish, check out how your town or city handles household hazardous waste. Find an eco-depot near you at: www.productcare.org or www.earth911.com

3. How can I read labels better and choose the safest products?

A good place to start is by choosing products that do not contain any of the dirty dozen. Something as simple as buying products with a shorter ingredient list is another idea. For example, some safer shampoos have 12 ingredients where other conventional brands list upwards of 25. Maybe even choose products with ingredients you can pronounce. Some companies go one step further making their products safe enough to eat. Their ingredients are actually food grade. For a more critical analysis, check out Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetic safety database, or go straight to their What Not to Buy list
Note: in some cases products sold in Canada might be made with different ingredients than the U.S. products analyzed by EWG.

4. If my product doesn't include any of the David Suzuki Foundation's dirty dozen, is it safe?

Avoiding the dirty dozen is a good place to start, but the reality is that there are thousands of industrial chemicals in cosmetics. Most of them aren't tested and because we use so many products each day, their impacts could be cumulative. Limiting your exposure by limiting the number of products you use is an additional step to avoid the dirty dozen chemicals. But at the end of the day, we need stronger regulations to protect consumers. Take action here.

5. Does any organization rate and rank companies and their products?

Yes. The U.S. Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetic safety database is one such resource. You can search their database by product name, company name or ingredient. Also, there are helpful shopping tips in this Queen of Green blog post: Be a savvy shopper, buy a little smarter.

6. How can I get my work place to go scent-free?

Scents are found in consumer products, like cosmetics, appearing on the ingredient list as 'Fragrance' or 'Parfum'. Headaches are just one of the side affects people can experience, but allergies and asthma are common as well. Not ideal when you're hard at work.
The David Suzuki Foundation office is scent-free and we've designed an office toolkit to help anyone go green at work. Going scent-free is just one of our many suggestions. Your co-workers will thank-you.

7. Do 'natural' products work as well?

There are safer cosmetics products on the market that work well, but not every product works for every person's individual body chemistry. You'll need to try a few different brands and formulations before you find one that works for you. If possible, try a sample or travel sizes of a product first. Then if something doesn't agree with you, you won't have wasted the money.
Part of being a savvy consumer is letting a manufacturer know what you think of its product. Don't be afraid to put pen to paper, or send an e-mail, to let a company know what you think. If a safer product doesn't work for you, consider donating it to an agency or charity who can make sure it gets to someone in need.

8. How can I start making my own cosmetics?

Making your own personal care products is simple and fun. There are many books and online recipe resources. Here are few ideas:

9. I'm a guy. Do I really need to worry about this stuff?

Although the term 'cosmetics' conjures images of lipstick tubes, eyeliners and mascara, the fact is both men and women use personal care products such as soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and shampoo.
The average person uses 10 personal care products daily. But when the Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe cosmetics looked a little closer, they found that women and men use 12 and six products, respectively. Those six used by men contain about 85 chemicals. Learn more about why men's products are risky, too.

10. What can my non-profit organization do to get involved?

There are many ways organizations can help amplify the work to get toxic chemicals out of cosmetics. Here are our suggestions:
We will continue to build this FAQ's resource. Have a question? Send us an e-mail at: contact@davidsuzuki.org
Where to go for more information about toxic chemicals in personal care products:
Breast Cancer Action MontrealLocal organization with a variety of online resources.
Campaign for Safe CosmeticsU.S.-based campaign endorsed by the David Suzuki Foundation.
CancerSmart 3.0: the consumer guideToxic Free Canada's resource on practical ways to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals in everyday household products.
FemmeToxicOnline youth focused campaign for safer cosmetics.
Guide to Less Toxic ProductsThe Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia's online resource.
Leaping BunnyCruelty-free standard providing assurance that animal testing has not been used.
Skin DeepU.S.-based Environmental Working Group's electronic database detailing the ingredients and hazard ratings for 55,000 personal care products.

Photo: 'Dirty Dozen' cosmetic chemicals to avoid
(Credit: Roberto Berna via Flickr.)
Some of the ingredients in beauty products aren't that pretty. U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.

We surveyed Canadians to see how many of the Dirty Dozen ingredients below appeared in their cosmetics, and our findings show that 80 per cent of entered products contained at least one of these toxic chemicals.
For more detailed information on the Dirty Dozen, please see below or check out our Dirty Dozen backgrounder
You can avoid harmful chemicals when you use our shopper's guide, and audit your bathroom cupboard using this list of harmful ingredients:

1. BHA and BHT

Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more »

2. Coal tar dyes

Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as "CI" followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. "FD&C Blue No. 1" or "Blue 1"). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain. Read more »

3. DEA-related ingredients

Get the sustainable shopper's guide to cosmeticsUsed in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA. Read more »

4. Dibutyl phthalate

Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more »

5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives

Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer. Read more »

6. Parabens

Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions. Read more »

7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)

Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as "unscented." Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more »

8. PEG compounds

Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., polyethylene glycol). Read more »

9. Petrolatum

Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer. Read more »

10. Siloxanes

Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more »

11. Sodium laureth sulfate

Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate). Read more »

12. Triclosan

Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Read more »
Download the backgrounder for more information.

Who is David Suzuki?

David Suzuki


David SuzukiDavid Suzuki, Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is renowned for his radio and television programs that explain the complexities of the natural sciences in a compelling, easily understood way.
Dr. Suzuki is a geneticist. He graduated from Amherst College (Massachusetts) in 1958 with an Honours BA in Biology, followed by a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961. He held a research associateship in the Biology Division of Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Lab (1961 – 62), was an Assistant Professor in Genetics at the University of Alberta (1962 – 63), and since then has been a faculty member of the University of British Columbia. He is now Professor Emeritus at UBC.
In 1972, he was awarded the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship for the outstanding research scientist in Canada under the age of 35 and held it for three years. He has won numerous academic awards and holds 24 honourary degrees in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and is a Companion of the Order of Canada. Dr. Suzuki has written 48 books, including 19 for children. His 1976 textbook An Introduction to Genetic Analysis (with A.J.F. Griffiths), remains the most widely used genetics text book in the U.S. and has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Greek, Indonesian, Arabic, French and German.
Dr. Suzuki has received consistently high acclaim for his thirty years of award-winning work in broadcasting. In 1974 he developed and hosted the long running popular science program Quirks and Quarks on CBC Radio for four years. He has since presented two influential documentary CBC radio series on the environment, It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. His national television career began with CBC in 1971 when he wrote and hosted Suzuki on Science. He was host of Science Magazine (1974 – 79) then created and hosted a number of television specials, and in 1979 became the host of the award-winning series, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. He has won four Gemini Awards as best host of different Canadian television series. His eight part television series, A Planet for the Taking, won an award from the United Nations. His eight part BBC/PBS series, The Secret of Life, was praised internationally, as was his five part series The Brain for the Discovery Channel. On June 10, 2002 he received the John Drainie Award for broadcasting excellence.
Dr. Suzuki is also recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology. He is the recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for Science, the United Nations Environment Program Medal, UNEPs Global 500 and in 2009 won the Right Livelihood Award that is considered the alternate Nobel.
For a more complete list of David's professional accomplishments and awards, please refer to his full CV here (31.5Kb PDF). To read some of Dr. Suzuki's latest writings, please visit the Science Matters Archive. Each week in Science Matters, Dr. Suzuki examines how changes in science and technology affect our lives and the world around us. You can also take a look at his book list with Greystone books.


Greystone Books — David Suzuki's Canadian Publisher (English)
Éditions du BorĂ©al — David Suzuki's Quebec Publisher (French)
Allen & Unwin — David Suzuki's Australian Publisher

These Articles are from: http://www.davidsuzuki.org
Here is where I shop for My Green Products!

by Jen McLennan

To your health and the health of your family!
Jen McLennan

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Did You Know......?

Did you know.................
50% of all illness is due to poor indoor air quality (Source: 1989 State of Massachusetts Study)
AIR FRESHENERS: interfere with the ability to smell by coating nasal passages with an oily film, or by releasing a nerve deadening agent! Toxins in air fresheners include: Formaldehyde: highly toxic, known carcinogen. Phenol: can cause skin to burn, peel, and sweat. Can cause convulsions, coma, circulatory collapse and even DEATH!

LIQUID DISH-SOAPS: is the leading cause of poisonings in the home for children under the age of 6 (over 2.1 million accidental poisonings per year) (contains formaldehyde and ammonia in most brands) One Million poisonings in Canada each year are due to household cleaner ingestion. Some are fatal. The #1 cause of household poisoning is dish detergent. What kinds of chemicals are in those products? http://www.rense.com/general19/chemical.htm

AUTOMATIC DISHWASHING DETERGENTS: contain dry chlorine that is highly concentrated. #1 cause of child poisonings, according to poison control centers.

CHLORINE BLEACH: is a strong corrosive and can burn or irritate skin, eyes and the respiratory system. Can cause vomiting or coma if swallowed! WARNING! Never mix with ammonia as the fumes are very dangerous and can be DEADLY!

AMMONIA: is very volatile and damaging to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract!

FURNITURE POLISH: contains Petroleum Distillates, which are highly flammable and can cause lung and skin cancer!

DRAIN CLEANER: most drain cleaners contain lye, hydrochloric acid or trichloroethane, which are all very caustic. They burn the skin and eyes, and can cause liver and kidney damage.

OVEN CLEANER: contain lye, which is a strong caustic and irritant to skin and eyes. Can cause tissue damage if swallowed.

TOOTHPASTE: can contain a number of harmful ingredients, such as: ammonia, benzyl alcohol/sodium benzoate, colors, ethanol, flavours, fluoride, formaldehyde, mineral oil, plastic (PVP), saccharin. Formaldehyde, mineral oil, PVP, and saccharin are all classified as carcinogens or suspected carcinogen, as is fluoride, which has been banned in many European countries and is the subject of concern with regard to thyroid problems. In fact, as of April 1997, toothpaste is required to carry poison control information on the label as even a small amount can harm or kill a small child.

Occupational Safety & Health analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products. A personal care product is de-fined as anything we use to clean our bodies, or make ourselves look or smell good.
The results are as follows:
884 are toxic
146 cause tumours
218 cause reproductive complications
314 cause biological mutation
376 cause skin and eye irritations
778 caused acute toxicity

Over the last 20-30 years, as more toxic chemicals have been introduced in greater amounts, the level of toxins stored in adipose tissues (fat cells) of our bodies has risen. Bio-accumulation studies have shown that some toxins store in our bodies for life. Greater and greater amounts are being stored at younger ages. Diseases that used to occur later in life are now appearing at younger ages. Diseases that used to be rare are more frequent. For Example: There has been a 28% increase in childhood cancer since the addition of pesticides into household products. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

In one decade, there has been a 42% increase in asthma (29% for men; 82% for women-the higher rate for women is believed to be due to women's longer exposure times to household chemicals) (Source: Center for Disease Control)

Due to the increase in toxic build-up in our bodies, including the toxic build-up of formaldehyde, dead bodies are not decomposing as fast as they used to. (Source: National Institutes of Health)

There is an increased risk for leukemia in children where parents have used pesticides in the home or garden before the
child's birth (Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

Over 150 chemicals found in the average home have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological
abnormalities. (Source): Consumer Product Safety Commission

In most cases, however, you won't find much information on the label. There are no requirements of manufacturers to actually disclose what is in a product, and there is no regulation or enforcement. All of it falls under proprietary trade secret legislation.

Today, cancer is the leading cause of death for women ages 35-74. In 1901 cancer was considered a rare disease. Statistics show that only 1 out of 8000 people had cancer. TODAY, according to the American Cancer Society, 1 out of every 3 people has cancer. TODAY, 1 out of every 2 people has been touched by cancer. The fear of cancer is on every-one’s mind these days. So many forms of cancer and they all had to start somewhere . . .

How Safe is My Family?
This is the question that every parent should be asking themselves.

We have no choice but to breathe the air, eat the food, and drink the water; but we DO have a CHOICE of what we put on our skin and what products we have in our homes.

I know that I personally do not ever want to believe that I caused harm to my family, when I had the choice to change it. I’d love to help ensure a safer home for your family.

For more information on how to make your home a healthier place for you and your family please go to my website and I will call you with the information. I would love to help you have a healthier safer home!
Jennifer McLennan


"To be successful, you must love and believe in what you do! You must have belief in yourself! Anything is possible with belief!"
Written in 2011 by Jennifer McLennan (ME) --- Canada
I truly think if you don't have belief in what you are doing and in yourself, there is no chance in success. But if you do have the belief, all things are possible!

"Life's like a boom-a-rang. The more good you throw out, the more you receive in return." ~Josh S. Hinds

"Treat people how you want to be treated."~Unknown

"Honesty is always the best policy."~Unknown

"No act of kindness, know matter how small is ever wasted."~Unknown

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Sheryl Crow on Motherhood & Healthy Child Healthy World