This article “French told to avoid 185 cosmetic products” caught my eye a few days ago. I promised some of our customers that I would go over the information, but there is too much for one article. So here’s the first – hope you find it useful!

Endocrine Disruptors seemed a good place to start, since they rated a mention in over half of the products on the list:

Hormones are incredibly important to every stage of our development, controlling and regulating our growth, metabolism, nervous system, reproduction, sleep and mood, among many other things. The glands that secrete hormones are known collectively as the Endocrine System. When we speak of endocrine disruptors, we’re speaking of chemicals that can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system and hormone production.

Research suggests that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during pregnancy and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming – and this is why it’s important to limit exposure to endocrine disruptors if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or thinking about getting pregnant in the near future. It was in this context that we’ve already mentioned endocrine disruptors known as phthalates in earlier blog posts, here and here.

It’s also really important for teenagers of course! To be honest, I would recommend avoiding endocrine disruptors at ANY time, but most especially during any phase when the body is going through significant growth or change related to hormones.

As mentioned above, 32 of the 185 products listed were on the list because of containing the silicone emollients Cyclopentasiloxane and/or Cyclotetrasiloxane, both known hormone disruptors. Incidentally, Cyclopentasiloxane is one of the chemicals that are in the ‘Herbal Nappy Cream’ that we blogged about a while back. You find them in a lot of face creams, sunscreens, foundation and hair products, often in combination with other synthetic silicone oils (eg Cyclomethicone or Dimethicone).

The presence of Ethylhexyl Methylcinnamate earned a place on the list for 44 products. This is a UV filter that has been shown to impact upon the endocrine systems of laboratory animals. The chemical has been identified in humans, including breast milk samples. Also known as Octinoxate, this is found in sunscreens, tinted moisturiser, foundations, lip balms and other products.

It’s already a selling-point for a product to be Paraben-Free. In 2014, some of the most dangerous Parabens – Isobutyl, Isopropyl, Benzyl, Pentyl and Phenylparaben – were prohibited in the EU, so none of these Parabens were found in the list of products. However, despite being known endocrine disruptors, Propylparaben and Butylparaben are not yet banned and their presence saw another 26 products added to the list of Products to Avoid.

Last but not least, the antibacterial Triclosan is responsible for a further 6 products being on the list. Triclosan used to be found in a lot of toothpaste, deodorant and mouthwash. It’s known to interfere with oestrogen and thyroid function, which is why most – though sadly not all – companies have eliminated it from their formulations.

I know it seems reasonable for us to think that the Government would be right across this sort of thing and would ban chemicals that are known or suspected to be harmful. Unfortunately, in Australia we tend to follow the ‘lead’ of the US, which has banned less than 20 chemicals in skincare. This is in stark contrast to the EU which has banned well over 1200 chemicals. Therefore, here in Australia, for the time being at least, we need to keep doing our homework and getting smart about what to look out for. If you’re looking for a great place to start, there’s a whole lot of easy-to-understand information on Chemicals to Avoid on the Y natural website.

Warmest wishes,
Barbara xx

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