What is that chemical?

What is that chemical?

Want to know what nasties are in the products you buy? Check out this list….

Chemical What is it? Found in Effects
Formaldehyde (1) Embalming fluid, also used in insulation in 1970s. Nail polish, hair spray, medicines and vitamins, fabrics, wood products Immune system, respiratory, nervous system, brain and lymphatic cancer
Methylene Chloride (dichloromethane) Volatile organic solvent found in paint strippers Aerosols such as deodorant and air fresheners Liver disease, nervous system, cancer, skin irritation, birth defects
Phthalates Plasticizer Perfume, eye shadow, moisturizer, nail polish, liquid soap, and hair spray (2) Fast food, milk, meat. Baby lotion, baby shampoo Endocrine disruption, liver and kidney disease, reproductive damage, obesity.
Parabens Preservative Moisturiser, anti-aging serums, shaving gel, toothpaste, make-up Endocrine disruption, immune system, make reproductive issues
Polychlorinated Biphenols (PCBs) (3) Coolants, lubricants Fish, meat, dairy Acne, respiratory irritation, GIT issues, depression, liver damage, anaemia, endocrine disorders, birth abnormalities
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (4) Surfactant and detergent Body wash, shampoos, hand soaps, cleaning products, bubble bath, mouthwash Dermatitis, skin irritant, mouth ulcers.
Triclosan (5) Antibacterial agent, antibiotic Hand sanitisers, shaving cream, toothpaste Harmful to frogs when washed down the sink, resistant to bacteria, immune function and hormone disruption
Synthetic Fragrances (6) Cocktails of chemicals Nearly everything – read your labels Respiratory issues, migraine headaches, asthma


  1. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. Toxic Substances Portal https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=218&tid=39
  2. Peter M. Lorz, Friedrich K. Towae, Walter Enke, Rudolf Jäckh, Naresh Bhargava, Wolfgang Hillesheim “Phthalic Acid and Derivatives” in Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2007, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a20_181.pub2
  3. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp17.pdf
  4. Toxnet Toxicology Data Network. https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+1315
  5. Office of the Federal Register. Safety and Effectiveness of Consumer Antiseptics; Topical Antimicrobial Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use.https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2016-21337
  6. Preventative Medicine Reports. Vol 5. Health and Societal Effects from Exposure to Fragranced Consumer Products. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.11.011
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