How Not to Poison Your Mother

How Not To Poison Your Mother

These days, its not just a case of looking at the pretty packaging and thinking how nice that would look on her bathroom shelf or dressing table, you need to see beyond the outer wrapping.

Are most bathroom cabinets bulging with toxins? Are most womens make-up and toilet bags a cocktail of chemicals that can do you harm?. Several of these products are known carcinogens while others affect your immune system, nervous system, eyes and internal organs.

By the time a woman leaves home in the morning, she is likely to have used at least 250 chemicals on her hair, face and body.

Skincare products

When you got out of the shower this morning, blow-dried your hair and used hairspray, you may have just poisoned yourself a little bit. If you do this every morning as your regular routine, you are accumulating these poisons by the bucketful. A hot shower opens up the pores in your skin making it easier for chemicals to enter your bloodstream.

Your skin is your biggest organ of both elimination (ie how spots, rashes, psoriasis and eczema appear) and of absorption (how you absorb creams, lotions, bath/shower products, soap, fabric softener etc) making this time of day one of your most vulnerable.

Lets Look at Some of the Culprits:

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate (SLS)

This is the ingredient used in car washes and garages as a degreasing agent. The same one that produces all that foam and lather when you shampoo your hair or get into a bubble bath or use liquid soap. Its used because its cheap and when mixed with salt produces lots of bubbles. Its a known skin irritant, stops hair growth, can cause cataracts, damage childrens eyes and cause urinary tract infections.


A Class A carcinogen. It is used as a disinfectant; fixative, germicide and preservative in a wide variety of products from deodorants to liquid soaps, and from nail varnish to shampoos. Also known as formalin, formal/ methyl aldehyde, it has been linked to lung cancer and leukaemia.


Parabens are probably the most well known and talked about of these chemicals. Listed on bottles as butyl/methyl/ethyl/propyl/isobutyl/alkyl parabens or alkyl parahydroxy benzoates. Used in some toothpastes, moisturisers, lotions, serums and deodorants.


Parabens are used as a preservative but can make xeno-estrogen (a chemical induced estrogen) in the body, this has been linked to many cancers including breast cancer, testicular cancer, colon and prostate cancer. Also linked to reductions in sperm count. So perhaps you men should leave off the body sprays!


Toluene is a common solvent found in nail enamels, hair gels, hair spray, and perfumes. It is a neurotoxin and estrogen mimic and can damage the liver, disrupt the endocrine system and cause asthma. Beware nail studios that don't have proper air extraction.


Fluoride in American toothpaste labels carries a warning about fluoride use. ‘Keep out of the reach of children under 6. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Centre immediately'.

Fluoride is often added to mouthwash. It probably does no good at all if you are over 35 and the FDA has stated that pregnant women should avoid it.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene Glycol found in engine coolants and antifreeze, airplane de-icers, tyre sealants, rubber cleaners, polyurethane cushions, paints, adhesives, enamels and varnishes, and in many products as a solvent or surfactant (when you mix oil with water). Guess what? Despite the fact that the safety data sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as it is a strong skin irritant and can also cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. It is likely to be in your shampoo, baby wipes, baby shampoo, sunscreen, moisturisers and skin creams. Its cheap and it gives the ‘glide factor to lotions. But it clogs pores and causes skin to age faster.



The distant cousin to Asbestos – yes you did read that correctly. It is linked to an increased risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer and urinary tract disorders and certainly should not be used near mouth and nose or other orifices. In fact don’t use it at all. Some baby powder tins actually say, ´Do not use near mouth or nose´! So don´t dust it on your baby´s, or anyone else´s, bottom and certainly not near your mouth and nose - of course it is in face powder and powder puffs.


Sometimes listed as, 5-chloro-2 (2,4-dichlorophenoxy) phenol, this is an antibacterial agent in deodorants, toothpastes, anti-bacterial hand washes, vaginal washes and mouthwashes. Toxic dioxins (cancer causing chemicals) are produced during its manufacture or incineration. It is stored in breast milk, adipose tissue (fat if you remember the X Files) and in fish. Serious investigations are underway on this chemical. We don’t need antibacterial hand washes, old fashioned soap is good enough and half the price.

So if you want to keep yourself chemical free, just make sure you read every label before purchase!

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