Secret Harmful Chemical In Your Hair Products

Let’s face it, most of us choose a specific hair product because we believe what it claims to do wonders for our hair? …AND, if it’s says “natural” it will most definitely give us that extra push to purchase this magical hair potion. However, more often than not these words are just “marketing-fluff” and you will need to read the ingredient lists. This goes for natural products too, as more times that not that “green tea extract” is 100th on the ingredient list!

Harmful Chemical In Personal Care Product

I know, I know, you don’t have time to read through the 40 chemicals listed on the back on a product. This is why I am here! You really only need to scout the label for a few products and the main one is called “cyclopentasiloxane“.

Harmful Chemicals In Personal Care

 What Is “cyclo-penta-siloxane”?

Cyclopentasiloxane is part of the “siloxane” chemical family. However, this one in particular is also referred to as “D4” by health Canada. Another harmful siloxane to watch out for is called cyclotetrasiloxane (D5)..but this one isn’t found as frequently in products.

Why Avoid Buying Products With Cyclopentasiloxane?

Not only is this chemical prohibited on Health Canada’s Cosmetic Hot List, but has been found to be carcinogenic in multiple scientific studies.

The European Union also has classified cyclopentasiloxane (D4) as an endocrine disruptor, based on evidence that it interferes with human hormone function,[i] and a possible reproductive toxicant that may impair human fertility.[ii]  Additionally, Environment Canada is in the process of restricting siloxanes, but it could take years to do the screening. Best to just avoid these products all together.

Where Else This Chemical Be Found?

Personal care products are just one of many products that contain cyclopentasiloxane. The chemical can also be found in deodorant creams, cosmetics and facial moisturizers…yikes!


[i]DHI Water and Environment. Study on Enhancing the Endocrine Disrupter Priority List with a Focus on Low Production Volume Chemicals. Revised Report to DG Environment. Hersholm, Denmark: DHI, 2007.

[ii] European Commission. Regulation (EC) 1272/2008, Annex VI, Table 3.2. Sep 2009.

Silly Putty Chemical Used In Fountain Soda and McDonalds Food!

Sometimes we go through life being oblivious to what’s in our food. However, nowadays it REALLY pays off to take an extra look at the label of the food product you are eating! Especially if it’s at a fast food joint.

This week I made a shocking discovery…the chemical “dimethylpolysiloxane” is being used as a food additive in fountain pop and a whole slew of fast food here in North America.  Just today, I found that it is in Filet-O-Fish at McDonalds, Crispy Chicken Strips, the McChicken, the White Meat portion of Chicken McNuggets, Hashbrowns, their Fuitopia Strawberry Passion Awareness,  Fountain Diet Coke, Cinnamon Melts, French Fries, their Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie Fruit Base, and Mango Pineapple Fruit Base..if you don’t believe me check for yourself right here.

Surpringly, PDMS has only been allowed in food since 1998! (16 years).  Basically, the FDA’s decision was approved five years after a request by Dow Corning – a manufacturer of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) – had formally sought approval. Ironically, that same December 24th, 1998, the FDA’s decision on allowing use of PDMS in human foods, also allowed the direct use of Formaldehyde (at concentrations not exceeding one percent of the weight of the PDMS) as a “preservative agent in defoaming agent containing dimethylpolysiloxane”.

PDMS is viscoelastic, meaning that at long flow times (or high temperatures), it acts like a viscous liquid, similar to honey. However, at short flow times (or low temperatures), it acts like an elastic solid, similar to rubber. In other words, if some PDMS is left on a surface overnight (long flow time), it will flow to cover the surface and mold to any surface imperfections. One of its more famous uses, is in Silly Putty!

So what is so concerning about PDMS? Well when subjected to higher temperatures – it degrades into compounds that include Formaldehyde, which is a widely recognized cancer-causing substance.

So the next time your at McDonalds, Wendy’s or getting fast food…read the label! Your body will thank you for it.

Shocking Chemicals In Hair Straightening and Protecting Products

Hair Straightening Products

We live in a time where you can do almost anything you want to your hair and it will look “somewhat natural”. Thirty years ago, if you wanted to straighten your hair, and it was super curly, most hair dressers would give you your money back {according to my mother who has exceptionally curly hair}. I have even heard that women used an actual iron! – yep, the iron!

The most popular tool used today in households, is the good old ceramic hair straightener. The technology on these suckers has become quite advanced; some even have silver nanoparticles in them to increase the heat distribution and effectiveness of the product at lower temperatures (i.e. you wont burn your hair).

hair straighten1

Heat Protection Spray Review

The main problem is in the “heat protecting spray!” Yes, it does miracles for your hair and helps it to also look “red-carpet shinny”, but have you ever considered why?

There are often at least 30 chemicals in each spray bottle!! Some of which are known to be carcinogenic! {I was shocked to learn this in the scientific literature}. The main chemical of concern however is formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs)

What Is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde releasing preservatives are commonly used in place of formaldehyde, and release small amounts of formaldehyde over time.[i] The purpose of these chemicals is to prevent bacteria from growing in water-based products.


Main “formaldehyde-releasing preservatives” in products today:

  • Quaternium-15 (**the most sensitizing of these FRPs)

  • Dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
  • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1
  • 3-diol (bronopol)

Formaldehyde Dangers To Health

Formaldehyde is considered a known human carcinogen by many expert and government bodies, including the United States National Toxicology Program[iii] and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.[iv] A shocking 2009 review of the literature on occupational exposures and formaldehyde shows a link between formaldehyde and leukemia.[v] Formaldehyde in cosmetic is also widely udnerstood to cause allergic skin reactions and rashes in some people.[vi],[vii]

Since low levels of formaldehyde can cause health concerns – at levels as low as 250 parts per million[viii], and even lower levels in sensitized individuals[ix] – the slow release of small amounts of formaldehyde are cause for concern.

When formaldehyde is present in a product, people can be exposed by either inhaling it or absorbing it through the skin. Inhalation usually occurs from the off-gas of the product.  Animals studies indicate that formaldehyde can be absorbed through the skin when formaldehyde-containing personal care products, including formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are applied.[x]

Other Personal Care Products That Contain Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives?

Besides, hair straightening spray, these chemicals can be found in shampoos and liquid baby soaps.  Nail polish, nail glue and eyelash glue also contain them.


[i] Moennich JN, Hanna DM, Jacob SE (2009). Formaldehyde-releasing preservative in baby and cosmetic products. Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association 1:211-214.

[ii] Jacob SE, Breithaupt A (2009). Environmental Exposures – A pediatric perspective on allergic contact dermatitis. Skin & Aging. July 2009: 28-36.

[iii] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. ”Formaldehyde (Gas) CAS No. 50-00-0: Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Eleventh Report on Carcinogens. December 2002. Available at: Accessed October 16, 2009.

[iv] International Agency for Research on Cancer. “IARC classifies formaldehyde as carcinogenic to humans.” Press release. June 15, 2004. Accessed January 9, 2009.

[v] Zhang et al 2009. Meta-analysis of formaldehyde and hematologic cancers in humans. Mutation Research 681: 150-168.

[vi] Flyvholm MA, Menné T. Allergic contact dermatitis from formaldehyde. A case study focusing on sources of formaldehyde exposure. Contact Dermatitis. 1992 Jul;27(1):27-36.

[vii]  Boyvat A, Akyol A, Gürgey E. Contact sensitivity to preservatives in Turkey. Contact Dermatitis. 2005;52(6):333-337.

[viii] Flyvholm MA, Hall BM, Agner T, Tiedemann E, Greenhill P, Vanderveken W, Freeberg FE, Menné T. Threshold for occluded formaldehyde patch test in formaldehyde-sensitive patients. Relationship to repeated open application test with a product containing formaldehyde releaser. Contact Dermatitis. 1997;36(1):26-33.

[ix] Jordan WP Jr., Sherman WT, King SE. Threshold responses in formaldehyde-sensitive subjects. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1979;1(1):44- 8. Also confirmed by personal communication between Dr. Sharon Jacob and Stacy Malkan, February 26, 2009.

[x] Bartnik FG, Gloxhuber C, Zimmermann V. Percutaneous absorption of formaldehyde in rats. Toxicol Lett. 1985;25(2):167-72.

Fire Retardant Chemical In Mountain Dew

Let’s face it, we all have a carbonated beverage now and again, or a Gatorade after a long workout. Or maybe your the one who opts for the “sugar-free” beverage FRESCA when you want to reduce your caloric intake and be nicer to your body (even though it still contains aspartame).

So what do Gatorate, Powerade, Mountain Dew and Fresca all have in common? A chemical called “Brominate Vegetable Oil” (BVO). BVO is classified as a food additive, but there is limited knowledge of its composition, researchers have found. However, it does contain bromine, which is also a flame retardant! YUCK! It’s main use however is to keep flavor oils in suspension and provide that cloudy appearance.

SOFT DRINK SHOCKER Although, Health Canada and the Food and Drug Administration in the USA say there are “no health risks associated with BVO when the density-adjusting agent is used according to regulations” (i.e. 15 ppm are allowed to be used in citrus or spruce-flavored beverages as consumed), it still doesn’t sit right with many consumers today. If it there are no health risks, why is it banned in Japan and mostly all EU countries?!

It is important to note the BVO was used in Canada prior to the creation of Health Canada’s food additive table in 1964 and was only formally added to the table with its current restrictions in the late 1960s or 1970s (aka, when North American’s were not addicted to soda!). The problem only escalates when you learn that carbonated soft drinks are the most-consumed beverages, with an average of 44.7 gallons consumed per person, per year in America (source: Huffington Post). So it is most likely, that consumers will ingest more than the limit of 15ppm of BVO – making it harmful to one’s health!

Health Effects of Bromine To Body

So what are the exact health implications BVO causes? There is limited research but scientists will acknowledge that bromine Bromine will build up in your body lipids (aka your body holds onto it and doesn’t properly excrete it). According to Mary Hartley, R.D. in SHAPE Magazine

“BVO leaves residues in the body’s fatty tissues, including the brain, liver, and other organs,” Hartley says. “It can cause a wide variety of symptoms, such as headaches, vision problems, loss of coordination, and skin rashes. Animal studies show that BVO is transferred from mother’s milk to a nursing infant, which, in theory, could cause heart lesions, fatty changes in the liver, impaired growth, and behavioral problems.”

Action Taken to Remove Brominated Vegetable Oil From Gatorade

There has been an overgrowing movement to take BVO out of PepsiCo’s drinks. In fact, a young girl by the name of Sara Kavanagh, now 16, created a petition on the ever-so-popular “” website  last year called “Don’t put flame retardant chemicals in Gatorade” after Goggling the ingredient found on her Gatorade. As a result 206,652 people signed her online petition and as of January, 2013 PepsiCo removed BVO from Gatorade, and replaced it with “sucrose acetate isobutyrate” (SAID).

Small Problem – PepsiCo’s ONLY removed BVO from Gatorade, not Mountain Dew or Fresca

I applaud PepsiCo for doing the responsible thing and voluntarily getting BVO out of Gatorade without waiting for government officials to require it to do so. That said, Gatorade without BVO is nutritionally no better than with it.

The unfortunate part about all this, is that despite PepsiCo taking BVO out of GATORADE and replacing this chemical with SAID, they did NOT REMOVE BVO from any other products they make. It is still in Mountain Dew and a slew of other soft drinks -grr!

remove BVO from mountain dew If you want PepsiCo to remove BVO from all drinks, sign the petition here.

Great News! Proctor and Gamble Banning Triclosan

Triclosan In Toothpaste- NO MORE!

Earlier this month Eco-Savy published an article about “triclosan in toothpaste”. However, triclosan is used in a wide variety of personal care products including shaving creams, hair conditioners, deodorants, liquid soaps, hand soaps, facial cleansers and disinfectants

Consumers have raised a lot of concern surrounding “triclosan” and earlier this month industry giant Proctor & Gamble promised to phase out triclosan and DEP (a pthalate) from products worldwide. This is SOOOO GREAT!

no more triclosan

What is Triclosan and Pthalates?

Triclosan is a hormone disrupting chemical that is found in over 1,600 products in Canada. It is linked to superbugs and harms aquatic organisms. Phthalates are found in fragrances and PVC, and are linked to a whole host of human health problems, including birth defects in the male reproductive system, asthma, obesity, and cancer.

Walmart Phasing Out Key Toxic Chemicals In Products!

Following Proctor & Gamble’s announcement, just last week Walmart U.S., the largest retailer in the United States, launched a “Policy on Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables” , laying out their plans to phase out key toxics and to improve ingredient disclosure.