The Dirty List
1, 4 - Dioxan
A by-product generated by a process called ethoxylation, in which ethylene oxide, is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh. Likely a carcinogen, linked to organ toxicity, birth defects. A drinking water pollutant.
Found in: products that sud.
A heavy metal, used to block sweat ducts, preventing sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. Viewed as carcinogen link to neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, skin and organ contamination. Has the ability to accumulate within the body & more.
Found in: anti-perspirant
Used as a pH adjuster and ingredient stabilizer. Linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity, skin and organ irritation.
Found in: all types of hair products.
A disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and allergies.
Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers, anti-bacterial soap.
BHA + BHT
Butylated Hydroxyanisole + Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Synthetic preservatives used to extend shelf life in cosmetics and food. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors and may cause liver, kidney, thyroid damage.
Found in: all types of hair, face, body, cosmetic products.
Glycol ether that functions as a fragrance additive, solvent with a sweet odor.
Possible carcinogen, reproductive toxicity, and skin irritant.
Found in: products that contain “fragrance”
Filters harmful UVA/UVB rays. May cause cell damage and mutation. Endocrine disruption.
Labeled as: Oxybenzone (or Benzophenone-3), Octinoxate (or octyl methoxycinnamate), Octocrylene, Octisalate, Homosalate.
Found in: sun products
Coal Tar Ingredients
A byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent.
Labeled as: Coal Tar Solution, P-phenylenediamine, Aminphenol, Diaminobenzene.
Found in: hair dye, shampoo look for any ingredients
Surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development.
Labeled as: Diethanolamine (DEA), Cocamide DEA, Cocamide MEA, Triethanolamine (TEA), Monoethanlamine (MEA), Ethanolamine (ETA)
Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid [EDTA]
A chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs.
Present where Disodium EDTA, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA and HEDTA, others with -EDTA
Found in: hair color, moisturizers, cleansers, body wash, foundation, mascara, eye liner
Used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity.
Present where quaternium-15 (formaldehyde releasing), DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea (formaldehyde releasing), diazolidinyl urea (formaldehyde releasing), sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (bronopol), tosylamide/formaldehyde resin and several other preservatives are listed.
Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, nail polish, eyelash glue.
A skin-lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation.
Found in: skin-lightening creams, cleanser, moisturizer.
Mercury + Mercury Compounds
A heavy metal, used a preservative substance added to delay composition and inhibit spoilage by preventing growth of bacteria, yeast, and/or mold in a product, anti-microbial agent. Linked to neurotoxicity, organ and developmental toxicity.
Found in: mascara, eyeliner.
A solvent, used for viscosity control. Possible link to skin irritation, cell damage and mutation, neurotoxicity, developmental toxicity. Look for methoxyethanol.
Found in: anti-aging creams & treatments
METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE AND METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE
Chemical preservatives and fragrance enhancers that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers, and causes of contact skin allergies.
Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash.
A by-product of petroleum distillation. Used as a moisturize. Linked with skin irritation, contact dermatitis, allergy trigger.
Also listed as: liquid paraffin, liquid petrolatum, paraffin oil.
Found in: all types of face products.
UV protection, ingredient stabilizer, penetration and texture enhancer, preservative. Used to reduce the white chalky tint of mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The size of a nanoparticle causes concern because it is easily absorbed through the epidermis of the skin unlike non-nanoparticles that lay on the surface of the skin due to being a larger size. Manufactures do not have to disclose the qualities and quantities of particles found in products. The use of nanoparticles is not labeled in ingredients. The potential risks organ, reproductive, developmental toxicity and DNA/cell damage, skin and organ irritation.
Found in: sunscreens, anti-aging treatments and products.
Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption.
Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.
PARABENS [METHYL-, ISOBUTYL-, PROPYL- AND OTHERS]
A class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, anti-microbial agent. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Potential carcinogen and developmental, reproductive, and immune toxicity.
Found in: hair products, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.
PHTHALATES [DBP, DEHP, DEP, DMP AND OTHERS]
A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects.
Not labeled in ingredients.
Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.
Extract derived from human or animal placentas. Used in treatments and products to increase hair thickness and collagen production. Besides this being a moral issue exposure to high levels of progesterone and estrogenic chemicals can increase risk of various cancers as well as act as a endocrine disruptor.
Found in: hair treatments, anti-aging treatments and products.
POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL [PEG COMPOUNDS]
PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens.
Found in: hair products, moisturizer, sunscreen, foundation.
Used as a colorant, frangrance, ingredient, acne treatment. Derived from benzene. Linked to skin irritation, possible endocrine disruptor and organ toxicity.
Found in: shampoo, styling products (foam and mouse), hair dye.
RETINYL PALMITATE AND RETINOL [VITAMIN A]
A nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically.
Found in: moisturizer, anti-aging skincare.
SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE AND SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE [SLS AND SLES]
SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh.
Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
SYNTHETIC FLAVOR OR FRAGRANCE
An engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed.
Found in: all types of cosmetics.
A volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can cause birth defects.
Found in: nail polish.
TRICLOSAN AND TRICLOCARBAN
Antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems.