Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Slathering on cancer-juice ..... but doesn't it make me look pretty?

When I took some classes at the UW to improve my writing skills, one of my fellow classmates chose as a assignment subject the dangers of U.S. cosmetics. It was the first I'd heard about the possible dangers of parabens. I knew tolulene possessed bad juju, but what was dibutyl phthalate? DEA (diethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine) is in like every shampoo in the supermarket, isn't it? I was intrigued by her work and research. I've wondered about the scented lotion I purchase at the bath shop in the mall, and the soap I use almost compulsively as I putter around the kitchen. Are these products exposuring me to cancer causing chemicals?

Here's an article about some worshops in the Seattle area on cosmetic chemicals. The forums have come and gone, but the article lists some of the chemicals to avoid, and gives tips on products that try to avoid them, like Kiss Your Face, which makes the face moisturizer I use (and raved about on January 14, 2006).

The PI article contains helpful information about what you might be using to preen with. Just ignore the dunderhead quotes in the article a.k.a
"The government is supposed to protect the people from these sorts of things," said Jimm Harrison.....


At 9:27 AM, Anonymous sunni said...

Y'know, I've never been hugely concerned about this kind of thing, mostly because I figured the amount of chemicals needed to cause damage is more than I'd ever take in (kind of like the prions in beef thing; I haven't been willing to completely give up some things I value because of some risk from them). But your post did get me wondering, so I browsed the EWG report, looking specifically for the face products I use, and also the Kiss My Face line.

KMF is in the "moderate" range, at an overall rating of 1.8 -- which, on a 0 to 5 scale, seems awfully low to be getting a warning light. And it turns out that some of their products are what bumps the overall ranking up; most are in the safe level. And the stuff I use every day (frankly, cheaper and more widely available products from brands that have been around since I started paying attention to such things) is also within EWG's narrow "safe" range, even though the overall brand listing is in the higher moderate range (above 2, but I don't recall the specific values for Dove and Olay now).

An interesting exercise, but will it change my choices? Most likely not ... I'm gonna die sometime anyway. And money is a nontrivial factor for me; maybe if it wasn't, I'd be more willing to buy KMF or other, less chemically-laden products.

Even so, I'm appreciative that you enabled me to do my digging -- and even more appreciative that we have an abundance of choices, including, to some degree, making our own beauty products. A toast to you, Lewlew! [clink!]

At 10:18 AM, Blogger lewlew said...

Cool weblink, Sunni. Thank you for posting it.

The KMF moisturizer I use is in the moderate range of 2, because of a few of the ingredients in it. I'll have to check and see if the other ones I was using were higher. I know they gave my skin fits, and I've been really happy with KMF. I originally bought this product because of the price ($2.99 for a 16 0unce bottle) and the list of ingredients were mainly ones I could recognize.

I have allergies to some of the binders in synthetic fragrances and things like formaldyhyde make my allergies worse. I can't use dryer sheets on my clothes, or scented laundry detergent, because of the scents and formaldyhyde (in the sheets; it helps bind the fabric softner to the sheet). But money is an issue, as well, for me. My favorite suave shampoo is also in the two range =).

Thank you for the information.

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Jimm said...

It's unfortunate this dunderhead quote has made it's way around the web. I never said this. It's a dunderhead statement.



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