Posts Tagged ‘toxins’

Did You Know What The Stickers You Find On Your Produce Mean?

The PLU (Price look-up) code is usually a four-digit number, currently in the 3000 – 4999 range, identifying the type of bulk produce, including the variety.

These stickers you will find on produce such as fruit, vegetables, herbs, and nuts, actually tell you quite a bit about the produce:


* If there are only 4 numbers that means they were conventionally grown.

* If there are 5 numbers starting with number 8 that means they are genetically modified (GMO).  The industry soon realized that we weren’t buying the produce with the number 8 and quickly decided to remove the number 8 as a part of their code, making it hard to distinguish genetically modified produce.  Adherence to the IFPS’s PLU standards is voluntary, including the decision to label produce as genetically modified.

* If there are 5 numbers starting with 9 that means they were organically grown (no pesticides or GMOs).

If you have some time and I mean lots of time, you can read the Global and Regional PLU List that will tell you all about what the first 4 numbers mean.


Do You Want To Stop The Use Of Toxins In Your Cosmetics?

The U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee have scheduled a Congressional hearing on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 10:15 a.m. to discuss the need to strengthen federal cosmetics regulations. Recent reports involving mercury in face cream, formaldehyde in hair products and lead in lipstick, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has called the first official Congressional hearing on cosmetics safety in more than 30 years. Now is the time for us all to act. Please go to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and send your letter today to the health subcommittee members and tell them: We don’t want mercury in our lotions, formaldehyde in hair products and baby shampoos, or lead in our lipstick. Together we can make a difference!

Official Announcement entitled “Examining the Current State of Cosmetics”

Is There Mercury In Your Skin Products?

Federal and State health officials are warning consumers not to use certain off-brand skin creams, antiseptic soaps and lotions because they may contain mercury, according to a report released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  The products are marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles, and some are also marketed as acne treatments for teenagers.  The brands are made abroad and sold illegally in the U.S., typically in ethnic communities or on the Internet, primarily targeting Latino, African-American, Middle Eastern and Asian consumers.  These skin products containing mercury have been found in at least seven states, including Texas, California, Virginia, Maryland, New York and Minnesota.

Mercury can damage the kidneys and the nervous system, and interfere with the development of the brain in unborn and very young children.  A person can get mercury in their bodies merely by breathing in mercury vapors or touching people who have used these skin products.

FDA-approved cosmetics and beauty products must include a label that lists the ingredients in English.

The FDA is advising consumers to check the label of any skin lightening, anti-aging or other skin product they use.  The FDA said, if the product contains “mercurous chloride”, “calomel”, “mercuric”, “mercurio”, or “mercury”, stop using the product immediately.

Detoxification? Cleansing?

The detoxification process is highly complex but I want to talk briefly in basic terms about how it works to help us fully understand the importance of detoxification and cleansing.

Detoxification is the body’s natural process to filter waste and toxins from our cells, organs and blood.  There are two primary organs responsible for detoxifying the body, and those are the liver and the kidneys.

Cleansing is the process of actually eliminating these toxins from our body.  After the liver and kidneys filter out and breakdown the toxins, the toxins are then sent to two different places, either into the urine or into bile to be removed.

Whether you are dieting or not, we expose ourselves to many different things that can cause toxicity in our bodies.  Arbonne’s Herbal Detox Tea is something you need to incorporate into your diet everyday.  This product is formulated to help rid your body of toxins while preparing your body for your successful weight loss goals and to maintain good health.  This product is an all-natural blend of botanical ingredients that supports the normal functions of the liver, kidneys and blood, while supporting toxin elimination.

Don’t confuse this product with the detox diets, where you do a severe detox diet for three to five days, and you fast, and you gradually incorporate liquids and solids back into your diet. This is a product that is designed to be used everyday; it is mild and contains all natural herbs, without the harshness of some of the trendy diets that are on the market today.

The key thing to remember about Arbonne’s Herbal Detox Tea is the antioxidant protection, the diuretic characteristics, and the fact that we are naturally supporting our detoxifying and cleansing processes, by removing the toxins, and eliminating them from the body.

Product Information

How Clean and Green Are Your Cleaning Products?

DfE Label“EPA allows safer products to carry the Design for the Environment (DfE) label. This mark allows consumers to quickly identify and choose products that can help protect the environment and are safer for families.

When you see the DfE logo on a product it means that the DfE scientific review team has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that-based on currently available information, EPA predictive models, and expert judgment-the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.

Product manufacturers who become DfE partners, and earn the right to display the DfE logo on recognized products, have invested heavily in research, development and reformulation, to ensure that their ingredients and finished product line up on the green end of the health and environmental spectrum, while maintaining or improving product performance.

EPA’s Design for the Environment Program (DfE) has allowed use of their logo on hundreds of products. These products are formulated from the safest possible ingredients and, in 2007, reduced the use of “chemicals of concern” by 80 million pounds, up from 59 million pounds in 2006.”



Toxins – Why are babies and children more vulnerable?

Babies & children are exposed to higher levels of environmental toxins than adults. Children eat more food, drink more fluids, breathe more air, and have more surface skin compared to their body weight than adults. This causes a higher exposure to pollutants and contaminants in the air, their food, and care products.

Their bodies are more rapidly growing and developing, so chemicals that can harm development can do maximum damage at this critical time. Children also play on the floor, where allergens, such as dust, and heavier-than-air chemicals settle and collect.

Then there’s natural behavior: Putting everything in the mouth is a crucial part of normal development, the way a baby learns about the world. Many times, these toxic chemicals will cross the barrier from mother to child” — for instance, the main ingredient in deodorant ends up in breast milk.


The cosmetics industry was de-regulated in 1938 allowing personal care product companies to use ANY raw material in their products without FDA approval.

Many companies commonly use toxic chemicals & pesticides in products because they are cheaper to manufacture.

Many US products have been banned in Europe due to the ingredients they contain.

Johnson & Johnson has been told to either add a warning label to their products or take the word “Baby” off of their Lotion if they wish to continue product sales in India.

70% of all personal care products contain toxins or cancer causing agents.

60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into the body.

The FDA does not require studies on long-term health risks, only short-term irritancy tests (such as animal testing).


How to protect yourself/ your family:


1. Read ingredient labels

• Many companies market “natural” product lines containing lavender, chamomile, etc. however many also contain harmful ingredients.

• Don’t assume what you are buying at a “natural food store” is free of chemicals.

• Be aware of long words that you cannot pronounce that have the words “from coconut oil” in parenthesis. Natural ingredients that are broken down chemically are no longer natural.

• Look for the words “cold-pressed” or “organic” on the label

• Find out if the ingredients are organic. Very high toxicity levels of pesticides become concentrated in liquids extracted from plants.

2. Use Certified Vegan Products when available to reduce overall exposure

3. Educate yourself – Some sources for more information:

The Environmental Working Group – a government watchdog organization that tests many common household products and publishes their safety profiles online at ( Here you can:

a. Search product categories and sort them based on toxic concerns

(i.e., “Baby shampoo” search shows products of most concern to least concern)

b. Search specific products and companies for toxic ingredient information

(Aveeno, Johnson & Johnson, Gerber, etc).

c. Research ingredients for specific health concerns

(propylene glycol, polysorbate-60)

Healthy Child Healthy World (

Is this your Child’s World?” by Doris J. Rapp, M.D.

Home Safe Home” by Debra Lynn Dadd

Natural News Network (

Scorecard (

What is in your “Baby” Products?

Ingredients to avoid and why:


Most US companies have not tested their products for safety and are using ingredients considered unsafe for children. Many also include ingredients not disclosed on the label, which is why they have been banned in many European countries. Don’t be fooled by words like “natural” or “gentle” on labels, some of these are the worst on the lists.

The following were reported to be the top ingredients to avoid on one website, but were given relatively low scores on the EWG website. On further investigation I found that this was because the FDA has not assessed them for safety in the US (even though they are considered toxic).


1. Propylene Glycol

*Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– One of the main active ingredients in Anti-freeze, and known toxin. Used to de-ice airplanes.

– One of the main ingredients in Johnson’s Baby lotion and baby shampoo.

– This is so highly toxic that industrial workers are warned of severe health risks if contact occurs (brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities). Stick deodorants contain a higher concentration than most industrial applications.

– Health Concerns: Alters the skin structure to allow other chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin increasing the amounts of other chemicals that reach the bloodstream.

– Other Concerns: Skin sensitizer, suspected respiratory, skin, immunotoxicant and neurotoxicant.


2. Isopropyl Alcohol

*Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Solvent and denaturant (poisonous substance that changes another substance’s natural qualities).

– Used in antifreeze and shellac.

– Health Concerns: Eye, skin, & lung irritant, classified toxin.


3. Mineral Oil (modified crude oil)

*Not assessed for safety in the US – NO SAFETY DATA AVAILABLE – EWG

– coats the skin like plastic wrap, inhibiting it’s ability to breathe and release toxins.


4. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

*Classified toxin; Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Used in cleansers to dissolve oil & grease.

– Health Concerns: Strips the natural moisture, leaves the immune system vulnerable and is potentially carcinogenic. Skin or sense organ toxicity hazards suspected.


5. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS or SLES)

*Insufficient Safety Data – EWG

– Often derived from coconut oil, then chemically altered.

– Originally designed for car washes, garage floor cleaners, and engine degreasers.

– Found in 95% of shampoos & body cleansers, even the natural ones.

– Known skin & eye irritant; enhances allergic response to other toxins/allergens.

– Causes irritation/ infection in the genitals of young children, yet it is the main ingredient in baby shampoos and bubble baths.

– Health Concerns: Skin Irritation/corrosion, hormone imbalance, eye irritation & eye deformities in children, protein denaturing, and carcinogen.

– Health implications found in a 1983 report from the American College of Toxicology.


6. DEA, MEA, TEA (Cocamide DEA or MES, Lauramide DEA, etc.)

*Classified toxin and carcinogen – EWG

– Readily absorbed in the skin. Has hormone disrupting chemicals known to form cancer-causing nitrates.

– Health Concerns: Skin/lung sensitizer, liver/intestinal toxicity, neurotoxicant, respiratory toxicity, skin toxicity.

* Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois said “repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancers.”

** John Bailey, who oversees the cosmetic division for the FDA said the new study is especially important since “the risk equation changes significantly for children”.


7. FD&C Color Pigments

*Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Health Concerns: Suspected carcinogen, not properly assessed.

– Made from Coal Tar. Absorption of certain colors can cause oxygen depletion, even death.

– Highly controversial additive, animal studies show almost all of them to be carcinogenic. – American College of Toxicology.


8. “Fragrance”

*Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Health Concerns: immune sensitization, neurotoxicant

– “Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors has shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes,” – Home Safe Home.



*Classified toxins, insufficient safety data – EWG

– Preservatives that release **formaldehyde.

– Health Concerns: skin sensitizer, possible carcinogens, and gastrointestinal/liver toxicants

** Formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Serious side effects include weakening of the immune system and cancer. – Mayo Clinic.

– Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde releasing ingredients.


10. Talc

*Cancer Hazard, classified toxin, Not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Health Concerns: Respiratory toxicant, linked to uterine cancer and respiratory problems in infants.

– Literally suffocates the skin!!


11. Boric Acid

*Classified toxin, unsafe for use in cosmetics or infant products, reproductive/developmental toxicant, – EWG

– Health Concerns: neurotoxicant, liver, kidney, respiratory and skin toxicant, bioaccumulative (builds up quickly in babies).

– Linked to potential for reduced fertility or reduced chance for a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

– Used in MANY diaper rash creams (Vaseline, Gerber, Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno, Desitin, Palmer’s Balmex, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste).

– Commonly used in eye drops (Visine, RhotoV)!


12. Salicylic Acid

*Classified toxin; penetration enhancer – EWG

– Health Concerns: Triggers systemic immune response, photosensitizer, blood toxicant, skin toxicant, bioaccumulative (builds up quickly in babies).


13. Triclosan

*Classified toxin, not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Registered pesticide with EPA!

– Can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform gas.

– Health Concerns: Immunotoxicant, skin toxicant/ irritant.


14. Titanium Dioxide

*Carcinogen, not assessed for safety in the US – EWG

– Known to cause cancer & birth defects in animal testing.

– Health Concerns: carcinogen, has not been assessed properly.



*Classified toxins, insufficient safety data – EWG

** Parabens are preservatives that have been identified as estrogenic and disrupt normal hormone functions. Estrogenic substances are chemicals foreign to the body that mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone, estrogen. Estrogen has been shown to control the growth of  breast cells, and exposure to external estrogens has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.

– Cause many allergic reactions and skin rashes yet still widely used in care products.

– Health Concerns: breast cancer risk, endocrine disruptor, skin sensitizer and toxicant.


16. Quaternium-15 (Q-15)

*Classified toxin, insufficient safety data – EWG

– Preservative that releases formaldehyde. Relatively common cause of allergic contact dermatitis.

– Health Concerns: Skin sensitizer, immunotoxicant, blood toxicant, skin toxicant


17. Chlorine (environmental safety hazard)

– Found in tap water, pools, laundry detergents, cleaning agents & food processing.

– Contributes to asthma, hay fever, anemia, bronchitis, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium, dizziness, heart disease, high blood pressure, nausea, etc.