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North Adams Chiropractor | North Adams chiropractic care | MA | Personal Care Products

Living Well

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Chiropractic and Nutrition               413-663-5500


Personal Care Products

What if I told you, “you need only to do one small thing to live a happier, healthier and richer life.” Would you do it?  

It’s a simple thing really -   Stop purchasing and using Personal Care Products which contain dangerous chemicals which compromise your health. That’s not so hard to do to live a happier, healthier and richer life now is it?

Below I’ll help you get started by identifying several personal care products you use every day so you can start eliminating these toxins from your home. But first, a little about what’s getting into you.

Most of us think the FDA and EPA keeps close control and reviews the many chemicals allowed to be used in the manufacture of the soaps, shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics and other personal care products we use on our bodies daily. The cold facts are that they are not.  

The US FDA does not actually regulate nor take active participation in monitoring the manufacture or sale of cosmetics. Nor does it have any authority to require pre-testing of products before they are sold to us or to re-call products proven as unsafe.  While the FDA and the EPA have come out with lists of banned substances and cancer-causing chemicals used as ingredients for cosmetics, no one is really checking on these except for and concerned watchdog civic organizations.

Of the more than 100,000 man-made chemicals introduced into the environment in the past 50 years and the 1,000 new chemicals developed each year the EPA has only investigated a small percentage. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products.  The results were as follows: 884 of the chemicals used were toxic; 314 caused biological mutation; 218 caused reproductive complications; 778 caused acute toxicity; 148 caused tumors; 376 caused skin and eye irritations (Judith Berns, “The Cosmetic Cover-up,” Human Ecologist )

Women’s bodies can have four times the amount of toxins as Men do for a couple clear reasons. Women carry 10% more body fat than men which enable their bodies to store more fat-soluble toxic materials. Many of fat soluble toxins in our personal products have been tentatively linked to breast cancer and hormone disruption. Women can also transfer these toxins to children in utero and through breast milk, which some researchers suggest can affect fetal development and childhood growth*.  Also, women surveys conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics indicate that women use an average of nine personal care products each day –exposing themselves to a mixture of over 100 individual chemicals.

There is no legal requirement for cosmetic companies to test their products for safety before putting them on the market or to disclose all ingredients on labels. Also, if cosmetic products are determined hazardous, product recalls are voluntary. Even personal care products found in the natural foods section of stores may contain harmful contaminants. The claim that a product is ‘natural’ has no legal meaning.

As it stands now, U.S. chemicals policy does not adequately protect public health. Until we achieve the sweeping federal policy reform needed to protect environmental health, the burden of responsibility for protecting ourselves from exposure to harmful chemicals lies on us, the consumers.

What’s Getting Into Us? - Let’s Start With Our Morning Routine

Here are some of the nasty chemicals you may be starting your day with:


Triclosan: Exposure to triclosan has been linked to skin irritation and eczematous rash and long term chronic exposures may be linked to thyroid disruption, increased allergies and asthma. Triclosan has been shown to be secreted in breast milk. It can also turn your toothpaste into chloroform when mixed with chlorinated water.

Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate  (SLS or SLES): is used as a foaming agent and is a possible carcinogen. It is suspected to be persistent and bio accumulative.


Sodium Fluoride:

Dentists have trumpeted the virtues of fluoride for years, claiming it’s the best defense against tooth decay. Fluoride supposedly builds strong, healthy teeth. In reality, sodium fluoride, a by-product of aluminum manufacturing, can also be found in rat poisons and industrial pesticides. According to the Akron Regional Poison Center, ingesting 1/10 of an ounce of fluoride can kill a 100-lb. adult. Ingesting even a small amount of sodium fluoride may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Yet despite its dangers, sodium fluoride continues to be a staple in all leading brand’s of toothpaste.

Also DEA:  As Noted Below

Shampoo’s -

DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (momoethanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine): Look for names like Cocamide DEA or MEA, Lauramide DEA, etc. These are hormone disrupting chemicals and are known to form cancer causing nitrates and nitrosamines. 

Fragrance:  Fragrance is present in most deodorants, shampoos, sunscreens, skin care, body care, and baby products. Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. "Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most of all of them are synthetic. symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observation by medical doctors have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes. 


woman_deodorant.jpgDeodorants -

Fragrance: As noted above

Triclosan: As noted above

Phthalates: are another class of chemicals that are often used in deodorants and antiperspirants that you may want to avoid.  High phthalate levels found in the blood and urine of women of child bearing age have been linked to a higher risk of birth defects. This suggests that phthalates may disrupt hormone receptors as well as increase the likelihood of cell mutation.


The Final Word -

Remember these soaps, shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics and other personal care products are all absorbed into our bodies through the skin in minutes after application. Check the ingredients on your personal care products and start by replacing the ones you use the most with better ones.

Here are a couple great web sites where you can find better options: www.goodguide.com  and the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database  allows you to look up any product, brand, or ingredient of concern to find out more information about toxicity and health effects.

You can also choose products from companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, which means they have pledged to remove toxic chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives in every market they serve.


Live Well



North Adams Chiropractor | Personal Care Products. Dr. Francine Lajoie is a North Adams Chiropractor.