To Your Health
October, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 10)
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Another common antibacterial agent used in personal care products is triclocarban. It has not been adequately studied for toxicity. What is known is that it's also a pesticide and breaks down into some cancer-causing chemicals.

MSG: Most people are aware that MSG in food causes a reaction in some people. But did you know that MSG can be hidden in your personal care products too? MSG is a neurotoxin and excito-toxin. It's toxic to your nervous system and excites your bran cells to death. Watch out for ingredients like hydrolyzed protein, amino acids, yeast extract and glutamic acid which are common sources of hidden MSG in cosmetics and personal care products.

Other ingredients: These are ingredients that are considered a trade secret by the manufacturer. The company does not want you to know what these chemicals are. You have no way of knowing if these ingredients are safe of harmful.

It's important to note that these chemicals are not only in products for adults. They are also in the products you use on your infants and children, even in products that are labeled as safe and gentle.

Deceptive Marketing

Natural and organic products are becoming increasingly popular as people are becoming more health conscious. Not all natural products are what they appear to be. Some key terms that give the impression of safer and healthier products have no official definition. Here are a few examples:

  • Natural - suggests the ingredients are derived from natural sources rather than being produced synthetically. However, there are no industry standards for what natural means. The product may contain all natural ingredients, just a few natural ingredients added to a synthetic product or even no natural ingredients at all.
  • Hypoallergenic - mean the manufacturer believes the product is less likely to cause allergic reactions. But there are no standards for classifying a product hypoallergenic. The manufacturer may actually test the product before classifying it hypoallergenic or simply remove fragrances and call it hypoallergenic. The manufacturer is not required to prove this claim.
  • Fragrance-Free - means the product has no detectable odor. Fragrance ingredients may still be added to mask offensive odors from the materials used to make the product.

You can protect yourself and your family and ensure the products you buy are safe and healthy by following some simple guidelines. First, learn to read labels, including determining which ingredients are safe and which are not. Second, choose products that are certified organic through the National Organic Program, the food organic standards, rather than the pseudo-organic standards of Ecocert or OASIS. Third, if organic isn't that important to you or not within your budget, at least make sure that all the ingredients listed on the label are safe.