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PEG Compounds in Cosmetics: A Little-Known Danger to You

How many cosmetics and toiletries do you use in a day? Go ahead and add them all up, from shampoo and body wash to makeup and hair dye. You assume those products are safe and non-toxic, right?

But did you know that, according to the government agency that "regulates" cosmetics, the FDA's Office of Cosmetics and Colors, "... a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA."

That's right. And an Environmental Working Group analysis shows that "89 percent of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution."

Many common cosmetics like
shampoos, mousse, moisturizers,
deodorants and shaving products
contain PEG compounds shown to
have harmful impurities ... but there
are smart alternatives noted below!

That means that the cosmetics you use daily likely contain ingredients that have not been studied at all, have been studied inadequately, or worst of all, have been studied and have been found to cause harm.

Why You Don't Want Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) in Your Cosmetics
One such ingredient that is widely used, yet seldom spoken of, is polyethylene glycol (PEG). PEG-6, PEG-150 and other similar names are all close relatives of the PEG family.

PEG compounds are synthetic chemicals used in cosmetics as surfactants, cleansing agents, emulsifiers, skin conditioners and humectants that many believe could increase the risk of a variety of cancers, including breast cancer.

They contain various harmful impurities, according to a report by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) committee that was published in the International Journal of Toxicology, including:

  • Ethylene oxide: Ethylene oxide increases the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer, according to experimental results reported by the National Toxicology Program.

  • 1,4-dioxane: According to the National Toxicology Program, "1,4-dioxane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."

  • Polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs): Known to increase the risk of breast cancer.

  • Lead

  • Iron

  • Cobalt

  • Nickel

  • Cadmium

  • Arsenic

Unfortunately, the risks associated with PEG compounds are widely underexposed. Even the CIR concluded that many PEG compounds "are safe for use" in cosmetics, yet they added that PEG compounds should "not be used on damaged skin."

Things do appear to be moving in the right direction, though, as some 23 PEG compounds have been named by the CIR Expert Panel as "high priority" for initiation of safety reviews in 2005.

Do My Cosmetics Contain PEG Compounds?

According to the Environmental Working Group, the following percentages
of common toiletries contain PEG compounds and other impurities that are
linked to breast cancer.

Hair Dye
Baby Bath Wash
Douche/Personal Cleanser
Menopause Cream
Depilatory Cream/Hair Remover
Baby Lotion/Oil
Anti-Itch/Rash Cream
After Sun Products
Lip Balm/Treatment
Facial Moisturizer/Treatment
Shaving Products
Anti-Aging Treatment
Styling Product
Eye Treatment
Foot Odor/Cream/Treatment

What's the Alternative?
It may seem like an impossible feat to find cosmetics and toiletries that don't contain PEG or other harmful additives, but if you can move beyond the major commercial lines of cosmetics sold in grocery store and drug store chains, they can be found.

The best alternative is to use natural varieties of cosmetic products found in health food stores or online.

However, the risks of PEG compounds, especially in products made for damaged or sensitive skin, are so widely unknown, that even many products claiming to be natural contain them. So do some label-scrutinizing research ...

Read the Label
Your best bet is to be your own detective and actively seek out -- and avoid -- any products that contain PEG compounds (and, ideally, other unknown or questionable chemical additives.)

Organic, pure cosmetics offer the best chance of being non-toxic, but read the label -- or ask a trusted representative at a natural health products store -- nonetheless.

One natural brand that has gone the extra mile to ensure their products are free of PEG compounds and other impurities is Aubrey Organics -- you can review many of their products right now, including shampoos, conditioner, skin lotion, hairspray, soap and much more.

Brands like Aubrey Organics have gone
the extra mile to ensure their cosmetic
products are free of PEG compounds
and other impurities. They offer a full line
of cosmetics including shampoos,
conditions, deodorant, hairspray, and
much more.

See Aubrey Products Now!

Also, highly recommends that you check out the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Report, which includes a searchable directory of cosmetics and any harmful additives they contain. You can search by product name and see whether the cosmetics and toiletries you use daily contain questionable ingredients that could be slowly wreaking havoc on your health.


Dangers of PEG Compounds in Cosmetics

Cosmetic Ingredient Review Priorities

Environmental Working Group: Skin Deep Report

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