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Chemicals and Toxins in Shampoo

written by: Laura Jean Karr•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 2/10/2010

There are several toxins in today's commercial shampoos. Learn more about what they are and how they affect the human body.

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    Commercial shampoos are rife with toxins. The majority of chemical toxins in a standard bottle of shampoo are used to both extend the shelf-life of the product and to make mass producing the product cost effective for the manufacture. Some of the following toxins are known carcinogens, while other are shown to actually stop certain functioning of the human body's working systems.

    In the following information there are some words that you'll be reading over and over; we'll define them here. Biocide, is simply a chemical substance that kills living organisms. A Carcinogen is a word used to describe any substance that directly promotes or causes cancers. Cytotoxin is a term used to refer to a substance that destroys cells. A Neurotoxin is a substance that destroys cells in the brain and the bodiescentral nervous system.

    Dangerous Chemicals

    MIT (methylisothiazolinone): This is a chemical biocide, allergen, cytotoxin and neurotoxin that is added to commercial shampoos to control bacterial growth in water based substances. Prolonged use of this chemical can not only start to destroy your cell function but as the University of Pittsburgh study shows concern with, is that MIT can effect the neurons of unborn fetuses. Governmental and business agencies in Japan and the United States have not done testing on the effect of the human body for this toxin and state that there is not enough data to stop thechemicals production and consumer usage.

    Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: This is a chemical substance that is also known by Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, SDS and NaDS. Manufactures use this chemical to enhance lather and remove oil. This chemical is a biocide that eats away at skin tissues and is retained in the body's cells on a long term basis. Known to cause the following: canker sores, skin rashes, dandruff, skin infections, skin corrosion, swelling of the hands, arms and face, eye irritation and mimics the human hormone Oestrogen. First studied and known to cause such effects since the printed report in the Journal of The American College of Toxicology in 1983, the governmental and businessagencies in several counties have yet to stop mass consumer usage of this chemical.

    DEA (diethanolamine): This chemical is used in shampoos for its lather enhancement and as a wetting agent. DEA is a biocide, cytotoxin and neurotoxin. DEA mixes with other cosmetic ingredients to create NDEA (nitrosodiethanolamine) a known carcinogen. Studies have linked this chemical to an increase in stomach, liver, esophagus and bladder cancers. It is also known to inhibit fetal brain development and cause miscarriages. Currently, there is no legal regulation from governmentalagencies to stop mass production or consumer usage of products containing this chemical.

    Other known toxins in commercial shampoos include:

    • Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate - Biocide and general toxin that inhibits human reproduction, human development and is known to reduce fertility.
    • Parabens - mimics the human hormone estrogen increasing the human risk of breast cancer, infertility in young women and hormone imbalances in males.
    • Propylene Glycol - strong skin irritant that can cause both liver and kidney damage.
    • Tocopheryl Acetate - can cause the human immune system to overreact and can cause skin itching, burning, scaling, hives and blistering.

    For more information on toxins in commercial shampoos and the effects that they have on human health, visit the following web sites: www.cdc.gov and www.naturalcures.com

    Read on at Bright Hub for information about the dangerous chemicals in hair conditioners and how you can make your own safe and organic shampoo and conditioner.