Phthalates have been linked to decreased fertility in females and faulty reproductive development in male foetuses because of their 'gender bender' or hormone disrupting properties 8. They are found in lipstick, nail varnish to make it chip resistant and hairspray to add flexibility. Phthalates are rarely listed on the label as they are often included under blanket terms such as 'parfum'.
SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate)
SLS, a detergent, is found in approximately 90% of commercial shampoos, including "no more tears" baby shampoos as well as toothpastes, bubble baths and shower gel. It makes a product bubble and foam. It is a caustic cleanser that can cause irritation to the scalp, eyes and skin. According to the Women's Environmental Network there is some evidence to suggest reproductive effects and damage to liver, lungs & immune system.
The US Environmental Protection Agency registers triclosan as a pesticide giving it a high score for its risk to human health and to the environment. It is thought to encourage anti-microbial resistance in the same way as excessive anti-biotic use according to research at Tufts University in Boston. Triclosan has been found in breast milk and fish 9. It is used in deodorants, toothpaste and washes as an anti-bacterial.
Used in anti-perspirants, the substance is banned or restricted in cosmetics by the US Food and Drug Administration.
1 Bevan, Sally (2004) Pure Living
2 Percutaneous Absorption; Drugs - Cosmetics - Mechanisms - Modelling; 3rd edition (1999) eds Bronaugh & Maibach
5 Kenton, Leslie (2003) Skin Revolution
6 Byford, Shaw, Hall, Coldham, Drew, Pope, Sauer, Horton, Darbre (collective); Oestrogenic activity of parabens in MCF7 human breast cancer cells (2002), Oestrogenic activity of isobutylparaben in vitro and in vivo (2002) & Oestrogenic activity of benzyl-paraben (2003) , Darbre, P.D., Underarm Cosmetics & Breast Cancer (2003)
7 Oishi, S, Effects of propyl paraben on the male reproductive system (2002)
8 Women's Environmental Network (2002/3) www.wen.org.uk
9 Opinion on triclosam resistance adopted by the EU Scientific Steering Committee Meeting, June 2002, Adolfsson-Erici, Pettersson, Parkkonen, Sturve; Triclosan, a commonly used bactericide found in human milk and in the aquatic environment in Sweden (2002)