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May 22, 2018  |  Login

Check the Ingredients of Your Personal Products

Steer clear of the harmful chemicals that pervade many personal care items.

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You probably wouldn’t slather harmful chemicals all over your body (unless you’re into that kind of thing), but many of us are unknowingly doing just that several times a day. Personal care products are full of substances that cause cancer and myriad other health-related problems. That is why it’s important to know which ingredients are harmful, and to check the labels of all products, especially those that you use most often, or that are used by children. To be safest, use as few products as possible.

Harmful chemicals are often lumped together as “fragrance” and “flavor,” so look out for companies that list those as ingredients to mask what is really in their products. Here are some other common chemicals to look out for, listed by the products in which they appear most often.

- Many different products: parabens, phthalates, diethanolamine (DEA), methylisothiazolinone (MIT),

- formaldehyde, petroleum derivatives

- Baby bath products: coal tar, FD&C or D&C colors

- Hair dye and bleaches: Phenylenediamines (such as PPD), lead acetate

- Mascara: mercury

- Nail treatments: toluene

- Sunscreen: benzophenone, homosalate, octyl-methoxycinnamate


Take Action / Next Steps
  • Want to learn more? Click here to read about safe, organic personal care products on ecomii.
  • Visit the Cosmetic Safety Database to find out exactly what’s in your products, and what it can do to your health.


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Did You Know?

Click below for more facts about this tip.



1.Greene, Alan. Raising Baby Green, p. 172. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007.

2.Bongiorno, Lori. Green, Greener, Greenest, p. 66. New York: Penguin Books Ltd., 2008.

3.Lewis, Carol. “Clearing Up Cosmetic Confusion.” FDA Consumer Magazine. US Food & Drug Administration. May-June 1998. Available from: [14 July 2008].

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