PEG are synthetic compounds that can often be contaminated with toxic Ethylene Oxide and 1,4 Dioxane. Both are known human carcinogens but the FDA does not require either Ethylene Oxide or 1,4 Dioxane to be listed as an ingredient on product labels. Since it is impossible to know when or if PEGs are contaminated, it is best to avoid them all together.
The following preservatives are known as formaldehyde releasing because, as you guessed it, they release formaldehyde - a known human carcinogen. Avoid these in your personal care products: DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Polyoxymethylene Urea, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Bromopol, Glyoxal and Quaternium-15.
There is debate as to whether these tiny (nano-sized) ingredients can penetrate the skin. The concern then becomes if these nanoparticles can then penetrate into organs, be stored in human cells and even damage DNA. Nanoparticles may or may not be listed on labels, but may be present in products that contain zinc oxide, iron oxide, cerium oxide, and silicon dioxide.
Parabens are a group of preservatives that begin with any of the following: Ethyl, Butyl, Methyl, Propyl, Isopropyl and Isobutyl. (For example, Ethylparaben) Parabens, despite being linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity and endocrine hormone disruption are used in formulations almost as frequently as water. The FDA regards them safe at the levels used in products, but little is known about prolonged, extensive exposure as with daily skin care preparations.
Propylene Glycol is a petrochemical (byproduct of petroleum in the oil refinery process). Also known as: 1,2-Dihydroxypropane, 1,2-Propanediol, 2-Hydroxypropanol, Methylethyl Glycol, Propane-1,2-Diol, 1,2-Dihydroxypropane. It is used in skincare as a hydrator. May cause allergic reactions.
Petroleum, Mineral Oil or Paraffin Oil are byproducts of the oil refinery process. In the United States, unlike the EU, Petrolatum processing is not regulated. This means Petrolatum derivatives may be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, a probable human carcinogen.
Unlike the EU, where Phthalates are banned, the use of these chemicals is unregulated in the US where they may be listed deceivingly as “fragrance” or “parfum” DEP, DBP, DEHP have been linked to endocrine disruption, cancer and developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Some studies have linked synthetic colors in food to cancer, although this has not substantiated by the FDA. Since the skin absorbs everything placed on it, we avoid products containing synthetic colors including Blue 1, Green 3, FD&C Yellow 6 and Red 40.
Synthetic chemical created in the lab to mask the unpleasant odor of other synthetic chemical, most often contain BHT, BHA, Acetaldehyde or Benzophenone. Chemicals which have a suspected link to cancer, reproductive toxicity and allergies.