It can be difficult to eliminate ALL the troublesome ingredients in our household products, but there are some that we do avoid completely when purchasing personal and household goods.
These are formaldehyde, fragrance, phenoxyethanol and triclosan.
Here’s some information about each.
COMMONLY FOUND IN HAIR PRODUCTS, COSMETICS AND HOUSEHOLD CLEANING AGENTS
Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring gas found in many things, including plants, smoke, fruits, fish, processed foods and alcoholic beverages. It is classified as carcinogenic to humans and is known to cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. In excessive amounts, formaldehyde can cause dermatitis, hair loss and permanent skin sensitisation. It can also trigger asthma and breathing difficulties.
Occupational exposure to formaldehyde can occur in a wide variety of fields, most particularly construction, healthcare and manufacturing, and while there is certainly an argument that formaldehyde is harmless at low doses, it is important to consider your overall exposure, based on your occupation and the products you’re using daily.
Due to the fact that it is naturally occurring, therefore impossible to avoid entirely, we choose to avoid it completely in the personal and household products that we use.
“Since formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, exposure to formaldehyde must be minimised to as low a level as is reasonably practicable.”*
For more information
COMMONLY FOUND IN PERFUMES, CLEANING PRODUCTS, AROMA-EMITTING DEVICES, COSMETICS AND LAUNDRY PRODUCTS
Fragrance chemicals have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.
Fragrance isn’t actually a thing. It’s not a specific product or single chemical. It’s a cover term for any number of hundreds of products and the fact of the matter is, we usually don’t know which ones. Manufacturers don’t have to share the exact products used to scent their range and often this has to do with trade secrets.
As a consumer, if I have a sensitivity to a certain ingredient, I’d really like to know whether or not it’s in the product I’m buying. Because maybe I’m fine with the “fragrance” ingredients of one company but not of another: the point is, how can we possibly know?
I believe that companies have a responsibility to let consumers know what ingredients are in their products but because they’re not required to do this and can simply use the word “fragrance” or “parfum”, I choose to vote with my dollars and purchase from companies that do.
COMMONLY FOUND IN PERFUMES AND COSMETICS
Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that’s used in perfumes and other cosmetics to make them last longer and is the reason you can spray some on in the morning and still detect it in the afternoon.
Among other concerns, phenoxyethanol is linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity, skin irritation and headache.
While most of us are probably used to living with phenoxyethanol around, there are serious concerns about its use with newborns and while we might not spray perfume on our infants, we do tend to hold them close for substantial amounts of time. Babies can be exposed through skin to skin contact or inhalation.
For more information:
COMMONLY FOUND IN ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAPS AND TOOTHPASTES
Triclosan is an antibacterial substance commonly used in soaps and toothpastes.
While the US Food and Drug Administration banned the use of triclosan in some soap products in 2016, Australian authorities maintain it is still safe for consumer use.
Triclosan has been linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive issues and can impact immune responses and cardiovascular function. In light of this, it’s one of the four key ingredients we avoid.
For more information: