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Labels on cosmetics and personal care products are a tough code to crack. The industry is so shockingly unregulated that it’s usually impossible to trust the claims that manufacturers place on their products. A word such as “natural” can be used by anyone for anything. Even “organic” is misleading with so many fake organic products posing as all natural. Companies are supposed to use an organic label only if all ingredients are certified-organic, but they can also say it’s “made with organic” if it contains a minimum of 70% certified-organic ingredients. Regardless, 30% still leaves a lot of room for toxins.

Unless a chemical used in personal care products is proven to cause harm to human health, it is classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe).  The whole industry has an “innocent-till-proven-guilty” approach to ingredients". Founder, Jamie MacLean 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization have concluded that 80% of all cancers are attributed to environmental rather than genetic factors, including exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, many of which are found in household cleaning products.  The Health and Environmental Hazards Hidden In Traditional Household Cleaning Products

The best thing we consumers can do is understand and read ingredient lists carefully in order to avoid chemicals that are known to be harmful. At Petal & Post, you can rest assured that none of these hazardous chemicals will be found in the products we carry. Below is a list of the chemicals we restrict and you should avoid that are commonly found in everyday conventional personal care products:

Argireline
  • Where Botox Injections Target Specific Muscles, Argireline Targets the Entire Face. This May Actually Increase Facial Sag Because the Neurotransmitters this Drug Inhibits are What's Maintaining Facial Firmness
Aluminum
  • A Metal that Can Lead to Alzheimer's, Breast Cancer & Lung Disease
Ammonium
  • A Toxic Carcinogenic Chemical that Can Cause Irritation to Nose, Eyes & Lungs
Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Chemical Bleaching Agent Used in Acne Treatments, Bar Soap, Facial Cleansers, Hair Dyes & Food Additives; Highly Toxic & Irritating to the Skin
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) & BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
  • Carcinogenic Preservatives that Encourage the Breakdown of Vitamins Such as Vitamin D, Can Cause Lipid & Cholesterol Levels to Increase
Bismuth Oxychloride
  • A Synthetically Prepared Crystalline Powder Used in Cosmetics as a Filler & to Bind the Other Ingredients, the Powder Has to Be Forced Into the Pores, Resulting in Clogged Pores Or Irritated Skin
Bone Black (D&C Black #3)
  • The FDA Determined that the Color Additive Used in Face Powder, Eye Shadow & Mascara Safe Despite Noted Low Levels of Potentially Carcinogenic Impurities Present
Carboxymethyl Cellulose (Cellulose Gum)
  • Used in Cosmetics as a Thickening Agent, Carcinogenic, Inhalation Could Cause Chemical Pneumonitis
Chlorphenesin
  • Reported to cause irritation and contact dermatitis in many, particularly those with sensitive & dry skin. In addition, research has shown it relax the skeletal muscle, depress the central nervous system and cause respiratory depression (slow or shallow breathing) in infants.
  • Many countries, such as Japan, have restricted its cosmetic use by giving it concentration limitations.
    Coal Tar & Lake Dyes
    • A Known Carcinogen Banned in the EU, But Still Used in North America. Used in Dry Skin Treatments, Anti-Lice and Anti-Dandruff Shampoos, Also Listed as a Colour Plus Number, I.E. FD&C Red No. 6
    • Low-Level Exposure is Linked to Cancer, Allergic Reactions, Nausea, Fatigue & Skin Problems
    • Look For Cade Tar Or Pine Tar Instead
    • Coal Tar Derived Colours Include: Paraphenylenediamine (PPD)
    Colorants (FD&C & Other Coal Tar Dyes)
    • Carcinogens, Topical Irritants, May Cause Acne & Skin Irritations, May Contain Aluminum, Have Caused Tumors in Rats, Low-Level Exposure is Linked to Cancer
      DEA
      • Cocamide Dea, Lauramide DEA, Linoleamide DEA, Oleamide DEA Ndea (N-Nitrosodiethanolamine); Forms When DEA Reacts with Nitrosating Agents Or the Actual Addition of Nitrite as a Preservative. As There is No Way to Determine If DEA Has Been Formed, It is Imperative to Avoid All Products Containing DEA as It is a Known Carcinogen. Often Used in Cosmetics to Adjust the PH, and Used with Many Fatty Acids to Convert Acid to Salt (Stearate), Which Then Becomes the Base for a Cleanser
      • Also, See Ethanolamine Compounds
        Dimethicone (& Other Methicone Ingredients)
        • Silicone Emollient Used in Cosmetics Which Coats the Skin & Does Not Allow Toxins Out, May Promote Tumors and Accumulate in the Liver and Lymph Nodes
        Dioxin
        • Powerful Hormone Disrupting Chemical Linked to Cancer, Nervous System Disorders, Miscarriages & Birth Deformity. Stored in Fat Cells, Contained in Sulfates that Provide Foaming Action
        DMAE Dimethylamineothanol
        • Marketed as "Face Lift in a Bottle", However, What It Does is Temporarily Paralyze the Small Muscles of the Face, Making It Seem like Wrinkles are Less Visible, No Long Term Results of Application are Yet Known
        Emulsifying Waxes (& the "Fatty Acids")
        • Could Be Vegetable Or Petroleum Based, Combination of Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Peg-150 Stearate, & Steareth-20, Could Cause Endocrine Disruption, Developmental/Reproductive Toxicity & Skin Irritation
        Ethanolamine Compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA and Others)
        • Can be found in most personal care products and cosmetics.
        • Look for: Triethanolamine, diethanolamine, DEA, TEA, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, linoleamide MEA, myristamide DEA, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate [2]
        • Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) are key examples of ethanolamines—a chemical group comprised of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and alcohols.
        • Health Concerns Include:
        • Cancer: Nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA) is listed as a carcinogen in the National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens. Experimental studies show that NDEA causes liver cancer and kidney tumors in rats and cancer of nasal cavity in hamsters. [7] TEA and DEA have found to be hepatocarcinogenic (producing or tending to produce cancer in the liver) in female mice. [4,8,9]
        • Bioaccumulation: Studies show that 52 to 68 percent of DEA in hair dyes, body lotions and shampoos remain on the upper layers of the skin after exposure. [10]
        • Organ System Toxicity: Studies have found that DEA affects human male reproductive health. DEA alters sperm structure, causing abnormalities that affect the sperm’s ability to swim and fertilize the egg. [11] DEA accumulates in the liver and kidney, causing organ toxicity and also possible neurotoxic effects such as tremors. [12] Another study suggests that memory function and brain development in offspring could be permanently affected by a mother's exposure to DEA. [13]
          Ethoxylated Surfactants and 1,4-Dioxane
          • Never Listed Because it’s a By-Product Made From Adding Carcinogenic Ethylene Oxide to Make Other Chemicals Less Harsh. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Has Found 1,4-Dioxane in 57 Percent of Baby Washes in the U.S. 
          • Avoid Any Ingredients Containing the Letters "Eth."
          Formaldehyde Releasing Agents
          • Including: Quaternium-15, 1,4-Dioxane, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methenamine, Sodium Hydromethylglycinate
          • Highly Toxic Gas, Suspected Carcinogen & Neurotoxin; May Be Fatal If Swallowed, Absorbed Through Skin, or Inhaled
          • Probable Carcinogen and Irritant Found in Nail Products, Hair Dye, Fake Eyelash Adhesives, Shampoos.
          • Banned in the EU
          Fragrance (Parfum)
          • Highly Allergenic, Contains Large Quantities of Toxins & Chemicals Not Disclosed. Fragrance is Connected to Headaches, Dizziness, Asthma, and Allergies
          • Fragrance-Free Means that Fragrance Chemicals Have Been Added to the Product to Mask the Natural Aromas of the Ingredients
          • A Catchall For Hidden Chemicals, Such as Phthalates
          Glycerin
          • We only permit plant-derived Glycerin. Glycerin without the Vegetable Qualifier Usually Means Petrochemical
          Glycerol Stearate
          • Fatty Acid Primarily Derived From Animal Fat & Used as An Emollient; Linked to the Creation of Free Radicals & Prostaglandin Inhibitors; Can Be a Skin Irritant, Carcinogenic, & Comedogenic
          GMO (Genetically Modified Organism)
          • When Animals are Force-Fed GMOs, They Developed Stomach Lesions and Malformations of Organs. GMO Food is not Labeled as Such in the U.S. Due to the Lack of Testing But Almost All Other Countries Have Banned the Use of GMO in Food and Body Products
            Hexane
            • Very Toxic Solvent Used to Extract Essential Oils & Botanicals
            Hydroabietyl Alcohol
            • Found in Styling Gel/Lotions. Unsafe For Use in Cosmetics
            Hydroquinone
            • Toxic, Irritant, Banned in Europe.
            • A Skin Bleaching Chemical that Can Cause Hyper-Pigmentation Or a Skin Disease Called Ochronosis, with Blue-Black Lesions that in the Worst Cases Become Permanent Black Caviar-Size Bumps. In Animal Studies, Hydroquinone Has Caused Tumor Development
            Imidazalidol Urea
            • Strong Irritant, Releases Formaldehyde, Toxic
            Lanolin Un-Purified (Anhydrous)
            • While Lanolin Itself is Highly Skin Beneficial, it May Contain Carcinogenic Pesticides Such as DDT, Lindane, Dieldrin and Other Neurotoxins.  The products we carry with Lanolin in the ingredients list contain medical grade purified lanolin free of pesticides.
            Matrizyl
            • Is a New Plypeptide. It is said that Matrizyl is at Least as Effective Against Wrinkles as Retinol. It is said to Work By "Relaxing Facial Tension", Similarly to Botox. We Feel that Repeatedly Paralyzing the Muscles Can Only Sap Their Inherent Strength
            MEA
            • See Ethanolamine Compounds
                Methylisothiazolinone
                • Antimicrobial Agent Inhibits the Development of Particular Neuron Structures that are Essential For Transmitting Signals Between Cells. Damaging to a Developing Nervous System
                • According to the EPA in the 1998 document, Reregistration Eligibility Decision: Methylisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone a highly corrosive chemical that has been found to be toxic in animal studies when inhaled, ingested or applied to the skin or eyes.
                • A 2002 and 2006 scientific study published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and The Journal of Neuroscience respectively, showed in vitro neurotoxicity and that chronic exposure had toxic effects on neuron cultures.
                Musks
                • Nitromusks Including: Musk Xylene, Musk Ketone
                Ocyl Stearate
                • Fatty Acid Used as An Emulsifier Known to Have Neurological Side Effects, Organ System Toxicity, Skin Irritant, Acne Producing, Contact Dermatitis & Allergic Reactions
                Paba (Para-Aminobenzoic Acid)
                • Sunscreen Ingredient that May Cause Formation of Nitrosamines (Highly Carcinogenic Chemicals), Produces Free Radicals on the Skin, Causes Cellular Mutations & is a Hormone Disruptor
                Parabens
                • Parabens Including: Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben
                • Petrochemicals that are Estrogenic, Carcinogenic & Allergenic
                Paraffin Wax
                • Made From Petroleum, Also Known as Mineral Oil Wax, Interferes with Skin's Ability to Eliminate Toxins, Slows Down Skin Function and Cell Development, Possible Carcinogen
                PEG Ingredients
                • Carcinogenic, Acne Causing, Contact Dermatitis
                Petroleum (Petroleum Jelly)
                • Potentially Carcinogenic Petroleum Ingredient that Can Alter and Reduce the Skin's Natural Moisture Factor, Can Promote Acne & Contact Dermatitis
                Phenonip
                • Preservative Blend of Phenoxyethanol, Methylparben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben & Isobutylparaben
                Phenoxyethanol
                • Synthetic Ether Alcohol Preservative
                • Found naturally occurring in green tea, but the commercial ingredient is synthetically produced and is created by treating phenol with ethylene oxide in an alkaline medium which all reacts to form a pH-balanced product.
                • There are several animal studies that demonstrate that it is toxic - with effects on the brain and the nervous system - at moderate concentrations.
                • In Japan, there is a concentration limit up to 1% for its use in cosmetics.
                • In Europe, the European Union classifies it as an irritant and there are various studies (on rabbit skin, for example) that demonstrate reactions at low doses.
                • The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) data sheets show chromosomal changes and genetic mutation effects in testing as well as testicular atrophy and interference with reproductivity in mice.
                • An 2005 Italian study also determined that Phenoxyethanol is a contact allergen.
                Phthalates
                • Including: Dibutyl, Dehp, DEP, DBP
                • Convenient, Squeezable Plastics & Dangerous When Heated. Reproductive Toxins, Birth Defects of the Male Reproductive System, Carcinogens, Mutation Agents, Stored in Fat Cells
                Polyaminopropyl Biguanide (PHMB)
                • The substance polyaminopropyl biguanide (PHMB) has been banned in the European Union (EU) in personal care products effective January 1, 2015 and is classified as a CMR-substance.
                • A CMR-substance is a substance classified in Part 3 of Annex VI to CLP Regulation as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction. Therefore, CMR-substances can be cancer-causing or harm hereditary genes, fetuses or the human fertility.
                • PHMB is a preservative that is used in cosmetics such as makeup removers, body lotions, creams and towelettes. The substance is a suspected carcinogen, it is detrimental to the environment and it is allergenic.
                  Propelene Glyco
                  • Associated with Irritant and Allergic Contact Dermatitis as Well as Contact Urticaria in Humans; These Sensitization Effects Can Be Manifested At Propylene Glycol Concentrations as Low as 2%
                  PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
                  • A Common Plastic Used in Children's Toys & Cosmetic Packaging, Releases Dioxins, May Cause Cancer & Affect Immune and Reproductive Systems
                  PVP (VA Copolymer)
                  • This Petroleum Derivative Can Be Found in Beauty Products like Hairsprays & Other Cosmetics. The Chemical Can Be Considered Toxic & May Cause Damage to the Lungs of Sensitive People
                  Silicone Chemicals
                  • Including: Cyclomethicone, Cydotetrasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane
                  Sodium Hydroxymethyl Glycinate
                  • A Preservative that Irritates the Skin, a Possible Cancer Agent
                  Sodium Laureth & Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
                  • Find It in Many Cosmetics, Personal and Hair Care Products.
                  • Skin Irritant; Rapidly Absorbed Into the Heart, Liver, Brain and Eyes Which Can Cause Long Term Effects; Linked to Cataracts in Adults and Inhibiting Proper Development of Children’s Eyes; Skin Structure, Allowing Other Chemicals to Penetrate Deep Into the Skin, Increasing the Amounts of Other Chemicals that Reach the Bloodstream; Animal Studies Show Sense Organ Effects
                  • Used to Enhance Foaming Action; Surfactant; Penetration Enhancer
                  Stearic (Animal Derived)
                  • Acids, ALs, & Others
                  • Stearic acid is a fatty acid naturally occurring in many plant and animal oils. Due to it's molecular structure it is widely used in cosmetics as an emulsifier and can also be found in soaps, body washes and shaving creams.
                  • The Fatty Acid Derived from Animal Fat, Can Be a Skin Irritant, Carcinogenic, & Comedogenic
                  • The Stearic Acid found in our products are strictly plant derived.
                  Synthetic Elastin
                  • Suffocates Skin By Not Allowing Moisture in Or Out. Found in Facial Creams and Body Lotions
                  Talc Powder
                  • A Mineral that Can Contain Asbestos, Should Not Be Used On Babies, Linked to Ovarian Cancer, Respiratory Toxin & Carcinogenic When Inhaled
                  TEA Ingredients (Not TEA, But Rather Ingredients with Tea in Front)
                  • Also known as Triethanolamine ingredients with TEA in front such as Tea lauryl sulfate.
                  • Severe irritants, can contain ammonium salts, eye irritant, sensitizer, may cause formation of carcinogens and are mildly toxic.
                    Triclosan
                    • Found in a Lot of Antimicrobial Soaps and Toothpaste Products, It Can React with Chlorine in the Tap Water to Create Chloroform. This is a Toxic Chemical that Can Give You Cancer. If You Breathe Enough Chloroform, You Will Die. When You Wash Your Hands with Antibacterial Soap that Contains Triclosan, You are Getting the Fumes Emitted From this Chemical Reaction
                    Triethanolamine
                    • Commonly Used as a PH Adjuster & Often Combined with Fatty Acids to Make Salt. Stearate & Triethanolamine are Utilized as a Base For Cleansers. It is Known to Cause Allergic Reactions like Eye Irritations, Dry Skin & Hair, & is Potentionally Toxic When the Skin is Exposed to Prolonged Absorption
                    Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP)
                    • Used to make nail polish more flexible and durable. It’s also used in plastics manufacturing and as a fire retardant in furniture and foam products.
                    • A new study by researchers at EWG and Duke University finds that nail polishes can contain this suspected endocrine disruptor called triphenyl phopshte, also know as TPHP.
                    • TPHP is thought to disrupt hormones in humans, and in animal studies has upset reproductive and development processes.
                    • Treat Collection Nail Polish is proudly free from triphenyl phosphate (TPHP).
                      Quaternium, 7, 15, 31, 60
                      • A Highly Toxic Preservative that Releases Formaldehyde, Causes Skin Rashes & Allergic Reactions; Carcinogenic

                      References

                      [1] Dodson, R. E., Nishioka, M., Standley, L. J., Perovich, L. J., Brody, J. G., & Rudel, R. A. (2012). Endocrine disruptors and asthma-associated chemicals in consumer products. Environmental health perspectives, 120(7), 935.
                      [2] Ingredient Watch List: Ethanolamines (MEA, DEA, & TEA)—Potential Carcinogens (2012). Available Online
                      [3] Price, C. J., Marr, M. C., Myers, C. B., & Jahnke, G. D. (2005). Postnatal development of rat pups after maternal exposure to diethanolamine. Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology, 74(3), 243-254.
                      [4] Stout, M. D., Kissling, G. E., Suárez, F. A., Malarkey, D. E., Herbert, R. A., & Bucher, J. R. (2008). Influence of Helicobacter hepaticus infection on the chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity of triethanolamine in B6C3F1 mice. Toxicologic pathology, 36(6), 783-794.
                      [5] Triethanolamine Available Online.
                      [6] Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1–109 Available Online.
                      [7] Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition (2011) Available Online.
                      [8] Hepatocarcinogenic Available Online.
                      [9] Lehman-McKeeman, L. D., Gamsky, E. A., Hicks, S. M., Vassallo, J. D., Mar, M. H., & Zeisel, S. H. (2002). Diethanolamine induces hepatic choline deficiency in mice. Toxicological sciences, 67(1), 38-45.
                      [10] Kraeling, M. E. K., Yourick, J. J., & Bronaugh, R. L. (2004). In vitro human skin penetration of diethanolamine. Food and chemical toxicology, 42(10), 1553-1561.
                      [11] Panchal, S. R., & Verma, R. J. (2013). Spermatotoxic effect of diethanolamine: An in vitro  study. Asian Pacific Journal of Reproduction, 2(3), 196-200.
                      [12] Gamer, A. O., Rossbacher, R., Kaufmann, W., & van Ravenzwaay, B. (2008). The Inhalation toxicity of di-and triethanolamine upon repeated exposure. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46(6), 2173-2183.
                      [13] Craciunescu, C. N., Wu, R., & Zeisel, S. H. (2006). Diethanolamine alters neurogenesis and induces apoptosis in fetal mouse hippocampus. The FASEB journal, 20(10), 1635-1640.