Warehouse B
Our Toxic World
Page Two
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Getting Our Morning Poison


By James Donahue


Short of slipping in the shower, few of us consider ourselves in any danger when we go through our morning grooming routine. That is because we are not chemists.


Most of us have little idea what that long list of chemical names on the back of our shampoo bottle, our mouthwash bottle, and the toothpaste tube consists of, or what these things might do to us if ingested, or merely rubbed on our skin.


We have used these products much of our lives and nothing ever happened. Why should we think there is any danger? It is a matter of trusting the manufacturer. After all, "they" are regulated by our government, are they not?


And therein rests the fallacy. Can you really trust a government that lets mad cow disease creap into our stores and then tries to hide it? Or a government that starts wars on behalf of big oil and munitions manufacturers? Can you really trust a company that cares about profit over public safety?


Consider this sobering piece of information: The American National Cancer Institute has determined that over four million new chemical compounds were formulated, many of them for cosmetic use, between 1965 and 1982. Since then, an estimated 6,000 new chemicals were formulated every week. And about 3,000 of these were manufactured to deliberately add to our food. And 884 neuro-toxic chemicals are presently used in the cosmetic, perfume and toiletries industries.


Among the most common of these chemicals is Sodium Lauren Sulphate, a product known by about 90 different names ranging from Product No. 161 to Gardenol. Sodium Laurel Sulphate is used in industry as an ingredient in floor de-waxers, engine degreasers and garage floor cleaners. The military used it in the toxic defoliant fondly remembered as agent orange during the Vietnam War.


Believe it or not, many toothpastes, shampoos and soap products contain Sodium Laurel Sulphate, even though it is now identified as a severe poison. Why would they use it? Because the stuff foams and makes the shampoo or gel thick, giving the user a sense of a rich lather.


Even though it is freely used in shampoo, the chemical also damages hair follicles, causes hair loss, harms the eyes and is implicated in the formation of cataracts in adults.


Toothpaste also contains fluoride, a by-product in making atomic bombs. Touted as a chemical that hardens teeth, it really turns teeth brown, attacks bones and joints. It is a very bad poison. It is almost impossible to find a brand of toothpaste today that doesnt contain this substance. I found one brand in a local health food and vitamin store, which I use.


It is not uncommon for toothpastes to carry a warning label by law because they contain sodium laurel sulphate. It says: Warning. Keep out of reach of children under six years of age. In case of accidental ingestion seek professional assistance or contact a poison control center immediately.


How many of us have swallowed toothpaste? I know I have. Most days I dont have a clean glass of water readily available in the bathroom so I find other ways of rinsing my mouth. Sometimes I do it with mouthwash.


But wait. Mouthwash often is found to contain a chemical called propylene glycol. We know this chemical by another name when we pour it into our car radiators every winter . . . antifreeze. Why they put it in our mouthwash is unknown to me. The stuff is so poisonous that it is known to irritate the skin, cause mouth ulcers and even oral cancer. If ingested it damages the kidneys and liver. So dont swallow your mouthwash, especially if you might have swallowed some toothpaste.


Back to shampoo for a moment. Another heavy ingredient in our commercial shampoo is nitrate. Most chemicals we put on our skin are readily absorbed into the body. This is especially true with nitrates. One study showed that shampooing can put more nitrate into our blood than eating a pound of bacon.


There is another interesting type of chemical used in nail polish, anti-aging creams, certain shampoos, Oil of Olay, shampoos, deodorants, sunscreens and conditioners. These are called phthalates. They are classified as plastic-softeners. This chemical is found in the urine of users which means it gets in the bloodstream just by contact with the skin. Phthalates are suspected of disrupting the development of the testicles, reducing sperm counts, and damaging the liver and kidneys. Great stuff.


Another suspicious chemical found in deodorant is an anti-perspirant called parabens. These have been shown to mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, which drives the growth of human breast tumors. Needless to say, doctors feel there may be a direct link to breast cancer.


And finally, note that most deodorants also contain some form of aluminum, a metal linked to Alzheimers disease and also breast cancer.


Your best bet is to search the health food stores for good old tar soap for washing the body and hair, brush your teeth with pure water, comb your hair, and let it go at that.


Have a nice day.