The quest for cancer prevention and
control through nutrition, lifestyle and environmental
contained in this web site are presented for information purposes
only. The material is in no way intended to replace professional
medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. The
materials in this web site cannot and should not be used as a
basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment.
POTENTIALLY HARMFUL CHEMICALS OFTEN FOUND IN THE HOME
A colourless, volatile, flammable liquid produced by the fermentation of
yeast and carbohydrates. Alcohol is used frequently as a solvent and is also
found in beverages and medicine. As an ingredient in ingestible products,
alcohol may cause body tissues to be more vulnerable to carcinogens. Mouthwashes
with an alcohol content of 25% or more have been implicated in mouth, tongue and
Alpha Hydroxy Acid
An organic acid produced by anaerobic respiration. Skin
care products containing AHA exfoliate not only damage skin cells, but
the skin's protective barrier as well. Long term skin damage may result from its
A metallic element used extensively in the manufacture of aircraft
components, prosthetic devises and as an ingredient in antiperspirants,
antacids and antiseptics. Aluminium has been linked to Alzheimer's
Animal Fat (Tallow)
A type of animal tissue made up of oily solids or semisolids that are
water-insoluble esters of glycerol with fatty acids. Animal fats and lye are the
chief ingredients in a bar of soap; a cleaning and
emulsifying product that may act as a breeding ground for bacteria.
A porous clay that expands to many times its dry volume as it absorbs water.
Bentonite, commonly found in many cosmetic foundations,
may clog pores and suffocate the skin.
Aerosol propellant. Flammable and in high doses may be narcotic or cause
An insoluble fibrous protein that is too large to penetrate the skin. The
collagen found in most skin care products is
derived from animal skins and ground up chicken feet. This ingredient forms a
layer of film that may suffocate the skin.
DEA, MEA, TEA.
Cause allergic reactions, irritate the eyes and dry the hair and skin. Can
be carcinogenic, especially to kidney and liver.
A potentially carcinogenic by-product that results from the process used to
bleach paper at paper mills. Dioxin treated containers
sometimes transfer dioxins to the product itself.
Elastin of High -molecular weight
A protein similar to collagen that is the main component of elastic
fibres. Elastin is also derived from animal sources. Its effect on the
skin is similar to collagen.
A colourless, non-flammable gas or liquid that can produce mild upper
respiratory tract irritation. Fluorocarbons are commonly used as a propellant in
A toxic, colourless gas that is an irritant and a carcinogen. When combined
with water, formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant, fixative or preservative.
Formaldehyde is found in many cosmetic products and
conventional nail care systems.
Usually petroleum-based. Can cause headaches, dizziness, rashes, respiratory
problems, vomiting, skin irritation and multiple chemical sensitivity.
A syrupy liquid that is chemically produced by combining water and fat.
Glycerin is used as a solvent and plasticiser.
Unless the humidity of air is over 65%, glycerin draws moisture from the lower
layers of the skin and holds it on the surface, which dries the skin from the
Imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin
These formaldehyde-forming preservatives can cause joint pain, allergies,
depression, headaches, chest pain, chronic fatigue, dizziness, insomnia and
asthma. Can also weaken the immune system and can even cause cancer. Found in skin,
body and hair products, antiperspirants and nail polish.
A fine white clay used in making porcelain.
Like bentonite, kaolin smothers and weakens the skin.
A fatty substance extracted from wool, which is frequently found in cosmetics
and lotions. Lanolin is a common skin sensitiser that can cause allergic
reactions, such as skin rashes.
A highly concentrated watery solution of sodium hydroxide or potassium
hydroxide. Lye is combined with animal fats to make bars
of soap, which may corrode and dry out the skin.
Methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl paraben
Are used to extend a product's shelf life and
inhibit microbial growth. Highly toxic. Can cause rashes and other allergic
A derivative of crude oil (petroleum) that is used industrially as a cutting
fluid and lubricating oil. Mineral oil forms an oily film over the skin
to lock in moisture, toxins and wastes, but hinders normal skin respiration by
keeping oxygen out.
Also known as octyl dimethyl, PABA is found mostly in sunscreens.
Like DEA, a nitrosamine-forming agent. Theres concern that the energy absorbed
by this sunscreen is then turned into free radicals, which may actually increase
the risk of skin cancer.
A petroleum based grease that is used industrially as a grease
component. Petrolatum exhibits many of the same potentially harmful
properties as mineral oil.
Aerosol propellant. Is flammable and in high doses may be narcotic.
A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid
and industrial antifreeze. In skin and hair products,
propylene glycol works as a humecent, which is a substance that retains the
moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of
moisture or water. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) warn users to avoid skin
contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver
abnormalities and kidney damage.
A petroleum-based ingredient used in hairsprays.
Very drying, irritating and corrosive.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)
Harsh detergents and wetting agents used in garage floor cleaners, engine
degreasants and auto cleaning products. SLS is well-known in the scientific
community as a common skin irritant. It is rapidly absorbed and retained in the
eyes, brain, heart and liver, which may result in harmful long-term effects. SLS
could retard healing, cause cataracts in adults, and prevent children's eyes
from developing properly. Found in many shampoos and
Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
SLES is the alcohol form (ethoxylated) of SLS. It is slightly less
irritating than SLS, but may cause more drying. Both SLS and SLES may cause
potentially carcinogenic formations of nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos
and cleansers by reacting with other ingredients. Large amounts of
nitrates may enter the blood system from just one shampooing.
Coal-tar dyes are generally labelled as FD&C or D&C followed by a
A soft grey-green mineral used in some personal
hygiene and cosmetic products. Inhaling talc may be harmful as this
substance is recognised as a potential carcinogen.