Category Archives: Educate Yourself

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XLVI

You have had enough of your dry cracked hands from this winter weather! You stop by the beauty section of your favorite organic/natural grocery store to see if they have any good hand creams. You figure, considering the store, anything you pick up is sure to be a safe bet. Does the first hand cream you scan meet your standards? This is Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

LabelPoise45

The Ingredients

Purified Water: Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice: Safe!  This ingredient is used for its nutrient content and moisturizing properties.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil: Safe!  Coconut oil is used for is skin conditioning and moisturizing properties. It is high in vitamins E and K.

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil: Safe!  Sunflower Oil is comprised of triglycerides (esters of glycerol and fatty acids) and has a high Vitamin E content.  It primarily acts as an emollient and assists the skin in retaining moisture.

Glyceryl Stearate Citrate:

Cetearyl Alcohol: Safe! Typically naturally derived from Coconut and Palm Oils (though it can be derived synthetically), it is a mixture of Cetyl and Stearyl fatty alcohols.  This ingredient acts as a thickener and moisturizer in personal care products.  In pure form,  this ingredient can be a slight skin irritant and permeator, and is toxic to mucous membranes.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity.  (MSDS)

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil: Safe! Sweet Almond oil is high in oleic acid and is primarily used as an emollient.

Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil: Safe!  Safflower oil is made from safflower seeds and is high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Safflower oil helps the skin retain moisture and promote elasticity. It may be a slight skin and eye irritant, though it is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or a developmental toxin.  (MSDS)

Cetyl Esters: Beware!  This ingredient is derived from vegetable sources, such as coconuts, and is typically used as a thickener in cosmetics.  It is comprised of various fatty alcohols and fatty acids.  It is typically 1 to 3% of the weight of the formula.  There is no data regarding toxicity, carcinogenicity, or mutagenicity.  (MSDS)

Natural Fragrance: Safe!/Beware! Without knowing what flavors were used and assessment of toxicological information and benefits cannot be determined.

Natural BEESWAX (cera alba):Safe!   This ingredient is derived from worker honeybees within a bee hive.  It is used as a thickener and skin barrier.

Vegetable Glycerin: Safe!  This ingredient is derived from palm, coconut, soy, or other vegetable fats.  It is used as an emollient and has the ability to draw moisture and oxygen to the skin.  There is no information in mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, developmental toxicity, or teratogenic effects.  In pure form is can be a skin, eye, and lung irritant, and may be toxic to the kidneys with prolonged exposure.  It is typically used in concentrations of 2 – 5% of the formula and is a minimal concern.  (MSDS)

Glyceryl Oleate: Safe!  This ingredient consists of oleic acid and glycerin both from vegetable sources as indicated on the bottle.  It is used as an emollient, emulsifier, and fragrance ingredient.  (MSDS)

Lauryl Laurate:

HONEY (mel): Safe!  Honey is a humectant that draws moisture into the hair, which helps to maintain elasticity, shine, and overall health of hair.

Xanthan Gum: Safe!  This ingredient is a polysaccharide (carbohydrate consisting of sugar molecules) secreted by Xanthomonas campestris (a bacterium). It is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or cause developmental toxicity, though it can be an eye, skin, and lung irritant in pure form. There is a risk of long term biodegraded products being more toxic than pure Xanthan Gum. (MSDS)

Glyceryl Caprylate:

Sodium Levulinate:

Potassium Sorbate:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is the potassium salt of sorbic acid, which is likely synthetically derived though it is naturally occurring in some berry species. It is widely used as a preservative in food, wine, and personal care products. It is known to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form, though it is not generally considered to be a carcinogen, mutagen or teratogen in humans, however, additional research suggests that is is mutagenic and genotoxic in human blood cells (in vitro). It is typically not used in concentration above 0.2%, so it should be fine in this product.  (MSDS)

Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil: Safe!  This oil is made from the kernels of the argan tree found in Morocco. It is high in oleic and linoleic fatty acids and is renowned for its hair repairing and moisturizing properties. (MSDS)

Sodium Phytate (from rice bran):

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict: This product doesn’t look half bad. The top 5 ingredients are all moisturizing, hopefully the beeswax down the list will help the skin retain that moisture. There are a few ingredients that we have not come across before (intentionally left blank). We’ve been doing this series for a while, and yet we are always coming across new ingredients! What are your thoughts on having 5 ingredients that the 44 other Label Poise’s have not covered? Check back tomorrow for the details on those ingredients!

Chobani Simply 100 vs. Dannon Light & Fit Greek vs. Yoplait Greek 100

Nature’s Pulchritude is kind of into ingredients. Okay, we are really into ingredients! I thought Chobani’s digs at Yoplait and Dannon were interesting and are a prime example of companies realizing that ingredients and associated perceived quality are a marketing strategy for companies. Of course, you cannot call out other companies if your ingredients are no better. Let’s see how these greek yogurts stack up! All flavors listed are for Peach. I am not affiliated with any brands in any way shape or form, have not received any compensation for this post!

Chobani Simply 100

Copyright Chobani

Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei), Peaches, Chicory Root Fiber, Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Pectin, Natural Flavors, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract, Fruit And Vegetable Juice Concentrate (For Color).

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 5.3oz (150g)
Servings per Container 1
Amount per Serving %DV*
Calories 100 Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g-
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Potassium 240mg 6%
Sodium 65mg 3%
Total Carbs 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 7g-
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 15% · Iron 0%

About Chobani Simply 100® Blended Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Only natural non-GMO ingredients
  • 75% less sugar than regular yogurt based on USDA data*
  • Excellent source of protein and fiber
  • Made with milk from cows not treated with artificial growth
  • hormones**

  • Includes probiotics and live cultures
  • No preservatives
  • Gluten free
  • Kosher certified
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Less than 5% lactose

Ingredients
One of the first things I noticed about this product was that it was sweetened with Stevia extract. Chobani’s other product lines more or less only use evaporate cane juice. Stevia is used because it provides a sweet taste (150x sweeter than sugar) without the added calories. (Learn more about stevia). That also explains why it is the last ingredient. Pectin is a thickener, typically derived from fruit though it is not specified here. Locust Bean Gum and Guar Gum are also thickeners. Monk Fruit Extract is another “natural alternative to sugar” sweetener, that has a similar controversy around it like stevia. I don’t see a preservative listed, Chobani uses salt in their other products.

One drawback is Chobani claims the milk used in their yogurt is non-GMO, however, they are NOT certified by the Non-GMO Project, the most known non-GMO certification in the US. They are instead certified by a european certifier. This could be good or bad. Chobani could have gone with a european certifier (eurofins) because they are more rigorous than the non-GMO Project. Or, Chobani’s products may not meet non-GMO Project standards. Expect a post on this in the near future.

Nutrition
Overall this is good. High in fiber and protein, and much lower in sugar than Chobani’s other products.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek

Copyright Danone

Ingredients
Fructose. Typically naturally derived but not the best ingredient. Corn starch is a thickener. Malic acid is used to enhance flavor. Sucralose was specifically pointed out by Chobani. Sucralose,commonly referred to as Splenda, is a zero calorie sweetener that is 320-1,000 times sweeter than sucrose. Sucralose is the new alternative to aspartame another zero calorie sweetener that has received a significant amount of scrutiny. Sucralose is manufactured from Sucrose. Stevia and Monk Fruit Extracts are the “naturally derived” versions of Sucralose. Potassium Sorbate is a synthetically derived preservative that is commonly used in natural ingredients. Acesulfame Sorbate is another artificial zero calorie sweetener. This product very likely uses GMO milk and peaches.

Nutrition
This product is high in protein, but has no fiber. Sugar is the same amount as Chobani Simply 100 (7 grams).

Yoplait Greek 100

Copyright Yoplait

Ingredients
Not much difference in this product than the Dannon Light & Fit Greek.

Nutrition
Yoplait Greek 100 is high in protein, though 4 grams less than Dannon & Chobani, with no fiber, and 9 grams of sugar, 2 grams more than Chobani and Dannon.

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict: Chobani Simply 100 is head and shoulders above Dannon Light & Fit Greek & Yoplait Greek 100. The ingredients in Dannon and Yoplaits yogurts are standard across the mass produced food industry–filled with artificial and synthetic ingredients. Chobani clearly perceives their products to have better ingredients, though the jury is still out on Stevia extract and Monk Fruit extract. They may be naturally derived compared to sucralose and acesulfame sorbate but that does not mean they different on impact on the body. I recently tried the Simply 100 and it was pretty bland, it could have done without the 7 grams of sugar, assuming some of that sugar is not attributed to the peaches. This is coming from someone who eats plain Greek Yogurt, which is quite bland with less sugar.

I encourage you to read labels, and look beyond the nutritional facts. Artificial ingredients may not have fat and calories, but that does not mean it is good for you, better than products that use real ingredients, or most importantly that it is not negatively impacting your body!

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XLV

The first Label Poise of 2016!  Continue to expect Label Poise every other Thursday in 2016! Have a product you want insight on?  Let me know in the comments!

I picked up this lip balm on my hunt for a quality, all natural, non irritating, moisturizing lip balm. My long time readers remember my unfortunate experience with a lip balm from a very well known brand. My ingredients to avoid are linalool and beeswax (as the first ingredient). My last lip balm selection turned out well. Will my streak continue This is Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

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The Ingredients

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*: Safe!  This ingredient is used as an emollient, moisturizer, and skin conditioning agent. The type of Castor Oil in this product is unlike Castor Oil you will find in a drug store, as the castor seeds are roasted and the oil is typically extracted by hand. This ingredient is not known to be toxic or carcinogenic, though it is a suspected penetration enhancer.

Cera Alba (Beeswax)*: Safe!   This ingredient is derived from worker honeybees within a bee hive.  It is used as a thickener and skin barrier.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*: Safe!  Coconut oil is used for is skin conditioning and moisturizing properties. It is high in vitamins E and K.

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*: Safe!  Sunflower Oil is comprised of triglycerides (esters of glycerol and fatty acids) and has a high Vitamin E content.  It primarily acts as an emollient and assists the skin in retaining moisture.

Flavor*: Safe!/Beware! Without knowing what flavors were used and assessment of toxicological information and benefits cannot be determined. The ingredient is certified organic, though that does not mean it may not have drawbacks.

Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil*: Safe! Raspberry Seed Oil contains high concentrations omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids of linolenic, alpha linolenic, and oleic, which act as antioxidants for the skin. This ingredient is also high in alpha and gamma tocopherols (vitamin E, antioxidants) and carotenoides (vitamin A); it is believe to have anti-inflammatory properties. (MSDS; MSDS)

Rosa Rubiginosa (Rosehips) Seed Oil*: Safe!/Beware! This oil is extracted from the seeds of the ‘sweet briar’ rose native to Europe and western Asia. Rose hip seed oil is an emollient that is high in vitamins A and C. There is limited toxicity information available on oil extracted from this species of Rose, though it is unlikely to be of concern.

Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Extract*: Safe! The ingredient is used for its soothing and rejuvenating properties. It is believed to be a humectant and emollient.

*Organic

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  My strategy worked again!  This product is certified organic and has 8 ingredients. The combination of Castor and Coconut Oils and beeswax work really well. Coconut and castor oil penetrate the skin well and contribute to healthy lips. The two ingredients of mild concern are aloe vera leaf extract and rose hip seed oil due to limited information. Interested in learning more about this product? Check back TOMORROW for the second ever Label Poise-Pulchritude Critique REVEAL!

Winterize: Skin

If you live in the northern hemisphere, it is officially winter. Despite mild temperatures thus far in much of the United States, winter typically brings cold sometimes frigid temperatures and dry air which more often than not disturbs the skin’s moisture balance. Those with skin conditions, such as eczema, often experience flare ups during the winter due to the increased dryness of their skin. To keep your skin soft and supple, and prevent skin ailments, everyone should “winterize” their skin regimen. The same way many women have 2 foundation shades–one for spring/summer and one for fall/winter–you should have at least 2 skin regimens that reflect the changes in the environment! Given such, your regimen will be based on your location. Those in warmer states/countries may not need as much of an adjustment, where as those in northern latitudes will have very clear differences in their regimens.

No Copyright Infringement Intended

MOISTURE

Say it with me: “Moisture is key.” In areas where the temperature is below 40 degrees for most of the winter, there is typically little available moisture in the air. As a result, the air will try to pull moisture for your skin or hair, resulting in dryness. The relative humidity (humidity and dew point) on a weather forecast is a great indicator of when moisture levels in the air are low. This is also why many ladies with natural hair avoid products with the humectant glycerin during colder months. Using a heavier butter-based (shea, cocoa, etc) moisturizer can help keep moisture in your skin. For example, though coconut oil is my go to during the summer, I switch to a much heavier homemade shea butter mix to moisturize. Less substantial moisturizers (i.e. mineral oil/petroleum based) are unlikely to keep your skin soft and truly moisturized for 24 hours, especially once the cold air reaches your skin (Author’s Note: Petroleum based products are great for keeping moisture in and forming a protective barrier after you’ve used a moisturizer, user Beware!. Using a moisturizing soap (note: not surfactant based “soaps”) is also beneficial. A true soap is a saponified (alkali reaction, typically KOH) vegetable oil.

No Copyright Intfringement Intended

Exfoliate

Don’t forget to exfoliate. Dry skin can accumulate particularly faster during winter. Exfoliating not only removes dry, dead skin but also helps your skin better absorb moisturizers. Monthly or biweekly should be a good starting point, adjust based on your specific skin needs. Be sure NOT to over exfoliate! Never be rough with your skin when exfoliating! If you notice your skin becoming rough/dry/patchy/inflammed after exfoliating: stop exfoliating and apply coconut oil to over-exfoliated skin at least 2x a day until the skin softens. Try a sugar/oil scrub with a few drops of your favorite essential oils, avoid exfoliants with polyethylene beads.

No Copyright Infringement Intended

Diet

Incorporating more foods with high omega-3 fatty acid content can do wonders for your skin. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include: flaxseed oil, walnuts, sardines, salmon, beef, and soybeans (opt for organic). Also be sure to stay hydrated, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein.

No Copyright Infringement Intended

Protect Your Skin

This is a given, but always wear appropriate clothing in cold weather. This includes a proper warm coat, gloves, scarf, hat, etc. In addition, you should continue to wear a sunscreen during the winter. This is especially true if you do any winter sports or outdoor winter activities!

Suggested Winter Skin Routine:
  • Wash with true soap
  • Exfoliate
  • Moisturize with a heavy butter or heavy oil
  • Apply SPF face moisturizer in the morning
  • Incorporate Omega-3’s in at least 1 meal

 

What are your winter skin care tips?

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XLIV

It’s been a while!  What’s new?  Expect to see more post more regularly in the near future! 🙂 Any content you want to see?  Let me know in the comments!

Many of my long time readers will remember my story about finding a good lip balm after an unfortunate experience with a lip balm from a very well known brand. Well, I have been trying various lip balms that I purchased after looking at the ingredients, being sure to avoid linalool and high beeswax products. Did my own strategy work? This is Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

LabelPoise44

The Ingredients

Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*:  Safe!  This oil contains Vitamin E and contains antioxidants.

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*:   Safe!  This ‘oil’ is a liquid wax and has a moderate fatty acid content

Beeswax*:  Safe!   This ingredient is derived from worker honeybees within a bee hive.  It is used as a thickener and skin barrier.

Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil*+: Safe!  Also known as hemp oil, this oil is extracted from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant and is used as an emollient and skin conditioning agent. (MSDS, MSDS)

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil:  Safe!  Orange Peel Oil is used as a skin conditioning agent and fragrant.

Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil: Safe!  This oil can be extracted from fresh or dried ginger root, typically via steam distillation. This ingredient can be an eye , lung, and skin (dermatitis) irritant in high concentrations (pure form). Ginger Root Oil is typically used as a fragrant or masking agent and is likely used in low concentrations, similar to other essential oils. (MSDS)

Tocopherol: Safe!   Also known as Vitamin E, Tocopherol is a is a fat soluble alcohol with antioxidant properties.  This ingredient is not known to have carcinogenic or toxic effects.  It can also be used as a preservative for oils. (MSDS)

 

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  My strategy worked!  I selected this product based on the ingredients the my familiarity with products from the maker of this product. The ingredients are simple. The primary ingredients are “moisturizing” oils or to be scientifically correct oils that penetrate the skin with beeswax used as a thickener and binder. Interested in learning more about this product? Check back TOMORROW for the first ever Label Poise-Pulchritude Critique REVEAL!

Major Fast-Food Chain Is Now GMO-Free

Your voices are hear and the efforts of Chipotle are commendable.  Hopefully other fast food chains will follow suit in the near future.

Chipotle Is Now Totally GMO-Free

 
Chipotle Is Now Totally GMO-Free

Chipotle is completely off GMO ingredients. (Photo: Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) –Chipotle says it has completed phasing out genetically modified ingredients from its food, making it the first national fast-food chain to do so.

The Denver-based chain had already been using mostly non-GMO ingredients, but was working on making final changes to its tortillas.

The Food and Drug Administration maintains that GMOs are safe, and most of the country’s corn and soybean crops are genetically modified to have certain traits like resistance to herbicides and plant diseases.

In recent years, however, activists have been calling for regulations that require labeling for foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Many companies have responded to such concerns; Whole Foods has said all products in its stores that contain genetically modified ingredients will be labeled as such by 2018.

Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells has said in the past that the company felt it was best not to use GMOs given the “lack of consensus” about their effects.

On its website Monday, Chipotle said it was “G-M-Over It.”

Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has around 1,800 locations, has enjoyed strong sales growth in part by playing up the quality of its ingredients and defining itself as a more wholesome alternative to traditional fast-food chains. On a page explaining its transition away from genetically modified ingredients, for instance, it cited “fast food” under an image of a burger as an example of where people might encounter GMOs.

To rid its menu of GMO ingredients, Chipotle said its suppliers planted non-GMO corn varieties for its tortillas. It also replaced soybean oil with sunflower oil to cook its chips and taco shells, and with rice bran oil in other recipes. The new oils are made from crops for which there are no genetically modified varieties available for commercial use, the company noted.

It said the changes did not result in significantly higher costs and that it was not raising prices.

Going forward, the company said it was working on removing additives from its tortillas as well.

The announcement comes after Chipotle said in January it would stop serving pork in about a third of its restaurants after finding one of its suppliers violated its animal welfare standards. The company said it doesn’t expect the pork shortage to be fully resolved until late this year.

Chipotle still serves Coca-Cola fountain drinks, which are made with high-fructose corn syrup.  But this past summer, it started testing a root beer that is organically sweetened in Denver. That test is ongoing, said Chris Arnold, a company spokesman.

The completion of the phase-out was first reported by The New York Times and CNN.

 

Toxic Substance Control Act To Be Updated After 39 Years

Finally! 

The US is finally about to update its toxic chemical protections, after 39 years

But convenience comes with a cost. Any baby born in America today is likely to carry hundreds of synthetic chemicals in his or her body at birth. According to a 2008-2009 report by the US Department of Health and Human Services, traces of nearly 300 pollutants, “such as chemicals used in fast-food packaging, flame retardants present in household dust, and pesticides,” have been found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. And some chemicals in common use today are linked with certain cancers, Parkinson’s, developmental disorders and other illnesses. Any baby born in America today is likely to carry hundreds of synthetic chemicals in his or her body  

So it is a national scandal that the United States’ primary chemical safety law hasn’t been updated since the day it was enacted, back when America’s No. 1 song was “Disco Duck” and appointment TV meant “Charlie’s Angels.” Since the day it passed in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) hasn’t protected anyone. The chemicals in products you buy at the store—from clothes to couches to cleaning supplies—are essentially untested and unregulated.

For decades, Congress has been trying to fix TSCA, but the lawmakers have gotten nowhere.

There have been hearings since 1994, and several proposed bills, but industry opposition kept the reform effort from advancing. Meanwhile, thousands of chemicals have come on the market. They permeate every aspect of American life. And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been all but powerless to police them. 

In recent years, however, some companies have begun to realize the current system isn’t good for their bottom lines either. As one DuPont executive testified before Congress in 2010:

“In the absence of reforms to TSCA we are seeing a plethora of state actions that are serving to create tremendous uncertainty in our markets…we think a robust reformed TSCA would remove the motivation for state by state regulation of chemicals.”

She went on to describe the hundreds of millions of dollars her company had spent to reformulate products after the market moved away from a particular chemical in response to consumer pressure. Now, after years of denial, many in the industry are now willing to accept more federal regulation to secure a predictable system that will restore consumer confidence in the safety of their products. The Lautenberg Act would let EPA do the things most Americans assume it can already do.
 

Companies such as Walmart—which announced a robust chemicals policy in 2013—began to step up and do their own testing on household products. That helped nudge chemical companies to the negotiating table—and so did new state laws. Although states have only restricted about a dozen chemicals or chemical groups for health reasons in 40 years—providing little protection to most Americans—the threat of 50 different local regulators was enough to get industry to see the benefits of a  single strong federal regulator, empowered to offer a final “yay” or “nay.” 

That realization provided an opening for longtime public health champion Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to negotiate with chemical industry ally Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) in 2013. After Lautenberg passed away, Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico took over on the Democratic side, continuing the negotiations. 

The bill Udall and Vitter came up with, known as the Lautenberg Act,  would let EPA do the things most Americans assume it can already do. These include a mandate to review the safety of all chemicals in commerce, a required safety finding before a new chemical can enter the market, powerful new authority to require testing of chemicals, and explicit requirements to protect the most susceptible—infants and pregnant women— from harmful chemicals, along with concrete deadlines, a new source of funding, and more. Cutting a deal with big bad interest groups can lead to progressive change.

Rare political circumstances have forced the industry to make major concessions, so the result is a strong bill that has 11 Democratic and 11 Republican sponsors. It actually might pass—yes, something big might pass Congress and become law—and it would be the most important environmental law since the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. (The House also seems to be working on a bipartisan basis.) 

But laws are never perfect. The big trade-off here is that some decisions by EPA on chemicals will supersede some state actions and restrictions.  As David Vitter put it, “Republicans agree to give EPA a whole lot [of] new additional authority, which we’re not in the habit of being excited about, to state the obvious. In exchange, that leads to … a common rulebook.”

Even so, there are limits to the preemption of state authority in the bill. For example, all state actions taken before 2015 remain intact, and, after enactment, states can restrict a chemical until and unless EPA takes up that same chemical and addresses the same uses.

This week, three progressive Democrats announced their support for the bill after negotiations yielded changes that allow states to “co-enforce” federal requirements on chemicals and better ensure EPA can restrict chemicals in finished products (such as formaldehyde-laden floor boards). Still, there is no question the bill remains a compromise. In many ways, the dynamic here is like Obamacare, where the President had to cut deals with Big Pharma and the insurance industry to get legislation passed. That bill wasn’t perfect, but nine out of ten Americans have health insurance and the other benefits of the law.

In other words, cutting a deal with big bad interest groups can lead to progressive change. 

Of course, to some that’s heresy. They see the strange bedfellows as being more important than the substance. In my view, we’ve got a classic case of the perfect vs. the good—and in an era when precious little good has come out of Washington, I’ll take it. 

After decades of inaction and several “ideal” bills that couldn’t attract the bipartisan support necessary to pass, it’s time to move forward. We can let this moment pass and leave American families vulnerable to the dangerous chemicals that surround us, or we can forge ahead with a dramatic improvement over current law.

(via Quartz)

 

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XLIII

It has been a particularly harsh winter, which has resulted in your hands being dry and rough.  You are ready for spring and want moisturized hands along with it!  You are looking for a high quality moisturizer, so you went to a health food store to explore their products.  You find a hand cream that has 4 ingredients!  There is nothing you cannot pronounce and nothing looks too chemical-ish, but is the product what it seems?  Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

LabelPoise43

The Ingredients

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter: Safe!  This ingredient is derived from the nut of the Shea Tree and is used for its moisturizing properties.  (MSDS)

Goat’s Milk: Safe! Goat’s Milk is used in cosmetics for its high moisturizing effects. Goat’s Milk contains various vitamins ((A, B6, B12, E), proteins, beta casein, and triglycerides which give it its moisturizing capabilities. Avoid!  if vegan, vegetarian, or you have a milk allergy. Goat’s Milk is not known to be toxic, nor a skin, eye, or lung irritant in individuals without a milk allergy. (MSDS; MSDS; MSDS)

Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract:  Beware! Green Tea extract is used for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, astringent, emollient, skin conditioning, uv absorption, and humectant properites. It is typically used in concentrations not exceeding 2% in leave-on products, and 1% in rinse-off products and are considered safe for use in cosmetics when formulated to be non sensitizing. Green Tea Extract is a slight skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form.  No information on developmental, reproductive, or teratogenic toxicity available. (MSDS;CIR)

Rose Extract: Safe!/Beware! This ingredient is obtained from Rose buds and petals. It is typically used in concentrations of 5-10% as an astringent, anti-inflammatory, and emollient. This ingredient is not known to be an irritant to skin, eyes, or lungs, nor is it known to be carcinogenic. (MSDS)

 

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict: 4 ingredients. The Green Tea and Rose extracts are likely in concentrations of less than 5% each and are likely of minimal concern!  Looks like your Label Poise is really developing!

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XLII

Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

The Ingredients

Aqua (Water): Safe!  Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Glycerin: Safe!  Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture in the skin. Glycerine can be derived from fats and oils, or synthetically–which is not indicated here.  (MSDS)

Propylene Glycol: Beware!  Propylene Glycol aka PPG is used as a penetration enhancer, humectant, and stabilizes the product despite temperature changes. This ingredient is not believed to be carcinogenic or a developmental toxin, though it may be contaminated with impurities such as Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-dioxane which are carcinogens. It is a suspected mutagen and teratogen. It is believed to be a skin irritant. In pure form it can be toxic to the central nervous system and may cause target organ damage (lungs and kidneys) with prolonged or repeated exposure. This ingredient is low on this list and should only be a low-moderate concern.  (MSDS)

PPG-5-Ceteth-20: This ingredient is a polyoxypropylene, polyoxyethylene ether of cetyl alcohol and is used as a surfactant and emollient. PPG-5-Ceteth-20 is typically used in concentrations of 0.05-10% in leave-on products and 0.5-9% in rinse-off products. The primarily concern of this ingredient is contamination with Ethylene Oxide, a suspected carcinogen, and 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen. It was not found to be a skin or eye irritant in tests performed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR). There is limited additional information available about this ingredient, it is not known to be a carcinogen. (MSDS)

PEG-12 Dimethicone: Beware!   This ingredient is 12 molecule polyethylene glycol combined with dimethicone, making it a silicone-based polymer.  It can also be described as an ethoxylated polymidethylsilocane.  It is used to improve spreadability and create a smooth feeling.  It is typically used in concentrations of 0.5-3%.  It can be a skin and eye irritant in pure form.  This ingredient, along with various other ethoxylated chemicals and PEGs, may be contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals such as 1,4-dioxane and Ethylene oxide, as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). (MSDS; MSDS; MSDS; CIR)

Honey Extract: This ingredient is an extract of honey and is used for its antiseptic, skin moisturizing, and soothing properties. No toxicological information available. (MSDS) safe/beware

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice: Safe!  This ingredient is used for its nutrient content and moisturizing properties.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein: Safe!  This ingredient is naturally derived and contains wheat oligosaccharides (carbohydrates) and acts as a moisturizer and film former to nourish skin (or hair). It is not known to be a carcinogen or mutagen, though it can cause eye and dermal irritation in pure form.  Avoid! if you have a gluten allergy. (MSDS)

Panthenol: Safe!  This ingredient is a provitamin of B5.  Panthenol is an alcohol analog of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).  It is used as an anti-static and conditioning agent.  It can be derived from plants or animals therefore it may not be vegan friendly. There is debate about what benefits panthenol can actually provide to hair as a vitamin being that hair is not living.  Panthenol is a mild skin and eye irritant in pure form, though there is no information on carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, mutagenicity, or developmental toxicity.  It is low on the list of ingredients and should not be a concern.  (MSDS; MSDS)

Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract:  Beware! Green Tea extract is used for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, astringent, emollient, skin conditioning, uv absorption, and humectant properites. It is typically used in concentrations not exceeding 2% in leave-on products, and 1% in rinse-off products and are considered safe for use in cosmetics when formulated to be non sensitizing. Green Tea Extract is a slight skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form.  No information on developmental, reproductive, or teratogenic toxicity available. (MSDS;CIR)

Amodimethicone: Beware!/Avoid!  This ingredient is a derivative of silica and is used as an anti-static film forming agent.  Silicone polymers typically are not toxic though they are not the best ingredients for hair due to their film forming properties which prevent moisture from entering the hair shaft.  No toxicological data available. (MSDS)

Trideceth-12: Beware!/Avoid! This ingredient is an ether of polyethylene glycol and tridecyl alcohol, a long chain fatty alcohol, with 12 units of ethylene oxide, a suspected carcinogen. Tricedeth-12 is primarily used as a surfactant that reduces the buildup of silicones (a silicone is the 5th ingredient). This ingredient has a low molecular weight and show not be used an broken or irritated skin or scalp as it has the ability to absorb through the skin. 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen, is often a byproduct of the reaction used to make this ingredient (ethyloxylation), and therefore may be present in low levels. This ingredient is deemed safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review when formulated to be nonirritating and in current use concentrations, however, there is limited information about this ingredient and no MSDS available, therefore it is rated AVOID as a precaution.

Cetrimonium Chloride: Beware!  Cetrimonium Chloride is a positively charged quaternary ammonium salt. It is used as a conditioning agent and softener, it also improves wet and dry combing of hair. It is also listed as a topical antiseptic and preservative. It is listed as a skin irritant and allergen in a small portion of individuals; it is not a carcinogen (MSDS;MSDS).

Hydroxyethylcellulose: Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is a modified celluose polymer. Hydroxyethylcellulose is primarily used as a binder, viscosity controlling agent (aqueous), emulsion stabilizer, and film forming agent. It is typically used in concentrations of 0.1 – 3% by weight of the formula. It can be a mild skin or eye irritant in pure form, though it is not known to be carcinogenic. (MSDS;MSDS)

Acrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride/Acrylamide Copolymer: Avoid! This ingredient is used as a film former and anti-static agent. It is typically used in concentrations of 0.1 to 0.25% by weight of a formula. No MSDS found.

Dehydroacetic Acid: Safe! This ingredient is a preservative used for its fungicide and bactericide properties. Dehydroacetic acid is a sodium salt of sodium dehydroacetate. It is suggested to be used in concentrations of no more than 0.6%. It can be a skin, eye, and lung irritant, and can be toxic to kidneys, liver, and central nervous system in pure form. It is not believed to be carcinogenic or mutagenic. (MSDS)

Benzyl Alcohol:  Beware!  This ingredient is made naturally by many plants or can be synthetically derived. It is typically used as a preservative and based on its placement on the list is in low concentration. Benzyl Alcohol is not known to be a carcinogen or teratogen, though it is a mutagen in bacteria and yeast, and may be toxic to the liver and central nervous system in pure form. Benzyl Alcohol can be slightly hazardous with skin contact, but due to its concentration it should be okay. (MSDS)

Parfum (Fragrance): Beware!  Fragrances are often synthetic. Though they are low in concentration in the product, there is still a small chance of having an allergic reaction.

Amyl Cinnamic Alcohol: Beware!  Also known as alpha-amyl cinnamic alcohol or amylcinnamyl Alcohol, this incredient is a water insoluble synthetic fragrance. The used of Amyl Cinnamic Alcohol is restricted by the International Fragrance Association because this ingredient is a possible skin sensitizer. It is not known to be carcinogenic, though it is a possible eye irritant. (MSDS)

Lilial: Avoid! Also known as lily aldehyde or butylphenyl methylpropional, this ingredient is a synthetic fragrance ingredient. It is a suspected cause of contact dermatitis in certain individuals and is a suspected immune system toxicant. The use of lilial is restricted in the European Union and must be labeled if used in concentrations greater than 0.001% in leave-on products and 0.01 in rinse off products. No MSDS found.

Linalool: Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is used as a fragrance and is banned in rinse off products above a concentration of 0.01% (or 0.001% in leave-on products).  It is naturally occurring in various plants and spices, though it may also be made synthetically.  It is considered a skin irritant (causing eczema) and allergen, though pure linalool can have anti-cancer properties.  Given that the concentration is likely quite low it should be fine unless you are allergic to it.

CI 15985 (Yellow #6): Beware!  This is a synthetic yellow dye (food coloring) also known as FD&C Yellow 6 or Sunset Yellow FCF.  This dye in manufactured from the aromatic hydrocarbons of petroleum.  It is not known to be toxic and there are low instances of allergic reaction (aspirin intolerant should avoid this ingredient).  There is no data on mutagenicity, teratogenicity, developmental toxicity, or carcinogenicity.  (MSDS)

CI 140700 (Red #4): Beware!  / Avoid! This is a red pigment also known as Carmine, or C.I. 75470 (Author’s Note: this ingredient appears to be labeled incorrectly. “CI 140700” only yields results for the products it is found in).  Red #4 is obtained from the aluminum salt of carminic acid. This ingredient is toxic to blood, kidneys, bladder, glands, and gastrointestinal tract in pure form.  There is no data on mutagenicity, teratogenicity, developmental toxicity. It is not known to be carcinogenic to humans (IARC Group 3).  (MSDS)

CI 17299 (Red #3): Beware!  / Avoid! This is a red pigment also known as Erythrosine, or E127 (Author’s Note: this ingredient appears to be labeled incorrectly.).  Red #e is organoioine compound derived from fluorone. This ingredient is toxic to nervous system, mucuous membranes, and lungs in pure form, and is a skin, eye, and lung irritant .  There is no data on mutagenicity, teratogenicity, developmental toxicity. It is not known to be carcinogenic to humans (IARC Group 3).  (MSDS)