Did you know the average woman uses over 500 toxins on their skin PER DAY from “beauty” products alone!!? AND that there are over 2,000 chemicals banned or restricted in cosmetics in the EU vs. only 8 in the US. Canada has more comprehensive regulations than the US with 573 banned or restricted chemicals in cosmetics, however this is still a far cry from where we should be when it comes to minimizing our daily risk of chemical use.
The average woman uses over 500 toxins on their skin per day.
What does this mean?
This means that before we even leave the house in the morning we’ve doused ourselves in a chemical cocktail from our body washes, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, makeup and so on. The chemicals are everywhere and each one of the products we use contain a whole list of them — which are suspected of causing all sorts of health problems such as cancer, genetic mutations, reproductive harm, and birth defects.
Over the last 5+ years I’ve become much more cognisant of what I’m putting ON + IN my body. I still have a long way to go, but I’m making improvements every day when it comes to reducing my toxic load. One area that always seems to fall at the waist side is toothpaste, so it got me thinking…. how toxic is my toothpaste?? So here is what we know:
We know that our mouth is one of the most absorbent parts of our body, so even though you are spitting out your toothpaste and not swallowing it, some of the ingredients are still being absorbed into your bloodstream.
We also know that there are dangerous chemicals found in most commercial toothpaste brands and unfortunately these harmful ingredients can be difficult to recognize on the label. Here are the top 10 most concerning ingredients that should be avoided:
- Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)
Inorganic chemical compound used to make toothpaste look white. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there’s concern regarding the inhalation of TiO2 as it may be carcinogenic and cause non-reproductive-organ-system toxicity. There’s no oral benefit to this chemical, it’s simply used to make toothpaste more appealing. It may be listed in the ingredients as CI 77891.
Pesticide used as an antibacterial agent claiming it helps fight plaque and gingivitis. Oddly enough, in 2016, the FDA banned triclosan from soaps, however still allowed it in toothpastes. Associated health concerns include cancer, weakened heart function, endocrine disruption, bone distortion, and it may even contribute to creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Surfactant and foaming agent that irritates and strips away the lining of the mouth which may lead to canker sores and mouth ulcers. SLS may also cause possible organ toxicity and may lead to stomach issues and cancer. Manufacturers often list SLS by other names, including:
- Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)
- Monododecyl ester
- Sodium salt
- Sulfuric acid
- Sodium salt sulfuric acid
- Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid
- Sulfuric acid monododecyl ester sodium salt
- Aquarex methyl
- Akyposal SDS
- Hydrogen sulfate
- Dodecyl alcohol
Added to prevent cavities by re-mineralizing and strengthening teeth. Ingesting too much fluoride can cause permanent tooth discoloration, nausea, vomiting, headaches, stomach problems, skin rashes, impairment in glucose metabolism, and can [ironically enough] make teeth more brittle long-term due to fluorosis. There’s a lot of conflicting opinions regarding fluoride and its need in commercial toothpaste formulas. Topical applications are not believed to be effective unless it’s applied after brushing so the biofilm is removed and fluoride can be absorbed.
Used as preservatives to extend shelf life. Parabens have been linked to hormone disruption and negative effects on the brain & nervous system. They are also possible carcinogens. Parabens are found in a wide-range of beauty and grocery products; even if the levels in these individual products are considered “safe,” the accumulation in our bodies could cause major problems, including an increased risk of cancer.
- Artificial Sweeteners
Used as flavouring agents. Watch out for Aspartame, and Sodium Saccharin. A 2014 study determined that aspartame is a possible carcinogen; as it accumulates in the body, it may lead to headaches, dizziness, weakness, memory loss, and gastrointestinal distress. Saccharin was linked to cancer in a few clinical studies in the 1970’s but continues to be a commonly used additive in food and hygiene products.
Food additive derived from red seaweed and used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve. It has been shown to potentially cause intestinal distress, inflammation, and possible tumors in the colon.
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
Used as a foaming agent and to adjust pH levels. DEA is an endocrine disrupter that is banned in the EU. It’s a possible carcinogen, skin irritant, may contain harmful impurities (nitrosamines), and can trigger asthma. Studies also indicate negative impacts on neuro developmental, brain and nervous system.
- Propylene Glycol
Synthetic chemical compound used as a surfactant to keep toothpaste moist and easy to release from the tube. It’s known to irritate the skin, eyes, lungs, mucous membranes, and could possibly cause cancer, reproductive issues and has been linked to damage to the nervous system, liver and heart. The industrial-grade form is used in antifreeze, enamels, detergent solvents, and paint.
- Artificial Colors
Used to make commercial toothpaste look pretty. Artificial colors are linked to hyperactivity and ADHD in children and are considered toxic. Some dyes are also linked to anxiety, migraines and cancer. There is zero purpose other than for aesthetics.
- Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)
Unfortunately avoiding these toxic toothpaste ingredients can be difficult, but just know that there are safer options out there for you; in fact you can even make your own toothpaste at home, which allows you to take control the ingredients, tailor the texture, flavour and abrasiveness just the way you like it, and even reduce your use of plastic packaging. Dental serums are also a great option for reducing plastic packaging and are a practical alternative to using pastes – plus they last longer!
So why do companies use so many chemicals in our beauty products if all the benefits can be found with natural sources?
They do this because it is much more cost effective to buy large quantities of synthetic ingredients for mass processing than it is to buy organic ingredients, extracted from nature. It also extends shelf life making these products far more profitable than the perishable options. YOU decide if making the switch is worth it for you.