Toxic Chemicals in Skincare
1. BHA & BHT: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used as preservatives in a variety of personal care products. Both of these chemicals are also used as preservatives in foods. These chemicals are linked to several health concerns including endocrine disruption and organ-system toxicity.
- Found in: Lip products, hair products, makeup, sunscreen, antiperspirant/deodorant, fragrance, creams.
- Health Effects: Endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer and irritation.
2. Coal Tar Dyes ("CI"): Coal tar is a known carcinogen derived from burning coal. It is a complex mixture of hundreds of compounds, many of which are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) [1,2]. Coal tar is used in food, textiles, cosmetics and personal care products. Experimental studies have found that application of and exposure to coal tar produce skin tumors and neurological damage.
- How it's labeled: Coal tar solution, tar, coal, carbo-cort, coal tar solution, coal tar solution USP, crude coal tar, estar, impervotar, KC 261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naphtha, high solvent naphtha, naphtha distillate, benzin B70, petroleum benzin [3,4]
- Health Effects: Cancer and organ system toxicity.
3. DEA: Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) are key examples of ethanolamines—a chemical group comprised of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and alcohols. They are used in a wide range of applications including cosmetics and personal care products.