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How to Avoid Hormone-Disrupting Cosmetics

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It may be surprising to learn the average American woman uses 12 personal care products each day, containing nearly 168 different chemicals.1 Although the European Union (EU) has been proactively regulating the number of chemicals their consumers are exposed to in cosmetics, the U.S. has not.

Following his study2 evaluating the number of personal care product adverse events reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Shuai Xu, dermatologist from McGaw Medical Center at Northwestern University, commented:3

“Here is a $400 billion industry with millions of products and multiple controversies, but we only had about 5,000 adverse events over the course of 12 years. That’s very, very underreported. [The EU] banned more than 1,000 chemicals. We’ve only banned 10. They’ve been very proactive about looking at chemical safety and putting the burden on manufacturers to prove their cosmetic products are safe.”

In the U.S., personal care products are allowed to reach store shelves without any prior authorization by any federal agency. Only after a product has demonstrated harm may the FDA take action. Compounding the situation, the FDA has made manufacturers responsible for ensuring the safety of the products they produce, and companies are not required to share those tests with any federal agency or the public.

Unfortunately, this has led to a plethora of dangerous chemicals in cosmetics and cleaning supplies marketed to the public. One compelling study4 published in Environmental Health Perspectives demonstrated that by reducing the use of cosmetics containing specific chemicals, participants could significantly reduce their exposure.

Changing Cosmetics May Reduce Exposure to Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

The researchers began with the premise that personal care products are a potential source of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as parabens, triclosan, phthalates and phenols.5 They enrolled 100 young women in a youth-led, community-based research intervention study to determine if using products with lower levels of these chemicals could result in lower urinary concentrations.

The researchers measured urine samples for phthalate metabolites, parabens, triclosan and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) before and after intervention, using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. They found more than 90 percent of the participants had detectable levels of phthalates, parabens and BP-3 prior to using the replacement products.6

The participants used alternative cosmetic products labeled paraben- and phthalate-free for three days. Afterward, urinary concentrations decreased by over 40 percent for parabens, over 27 percent for monoethyl phthalates and over 35 percent for triclosan.

However, increases of butyl and ethyl parabens were detected in nearly half the participants.7 The authors suggested these may have been contaminants in the cosmetics or unlabeled ingredients, which they were unable to ensure were paraben-free.

The study demonstrated even a short break from certain kinds of makeup, shampoos and lotions may lead to a significant drop in hormone-disrupting chemicals.8 While the study did not include males, it is important to note shaving creams and lotions, after shave and other personal care items used by men also contain these chemicals.

While the authors suggested potential contaminants existed within personal care products used in the study, the results may also suggest the potential manufacturers are using ingredients not included on the label and hidden under “trade secrets.”

Your Cosmetics May Contain Secret Toxins

Although this study evaluated the effect of reducing exposure to parabens, phthalates and BP-3, it’s important to remember your personal care products may contain a variety of chemicals and other toxins dangerous to your health.

In an Environmental Defense report,9 researchers shared results from testing 49 different makeup items, finding serious heavy metal contamination in nearly all the products. Contamination included lead, beryllium, thallium, cadmium and arsenic.

Although the FDA has set what they consider to be safe limits for many chemicals found within personal care products, the concern is not exposure to one product with one use. Instead, as demonstrated by the number of personal care products women use on a daily basis, cumulative exposure is likely overloading your body and contributing to a wide range of health problems.

A number of toxic chemicals are included under the general category of “fragrance.” These combinations are protected by a loophole in the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act,10 intended to ensure consumers have information to make informed choices. However, companies are not required to disclose “trade secrets,” under which fragrances and flavor ingredients fall.11 

While the list of toxic chemicals commonly found in personal care products is long, a few dangerous chemicals to avoid on your product labels include:12

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate — A surfactant found in nearly 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products
  • Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives — Used to help prevent bacterial growth, but also a known human carcinogen
  • Toluene — A petrochemical used as a solvent in nail polish, nail treatments and hair coloring products

Risks Associated With Paraben Esters Affect Men and Women

Since personal care products contain a diverse combination of chemicals and it is unethical to experiment on humans, it is nearly impossible to scientifically demonstrate a specific cause and effect in humans.13 For this reason, many experiments are done using animal models.

However, hormone disruptors, such as parabens, which affect how estrogen and other hormones are used in the body, effectively create an imbalance in the body’s hormonal system. Since your hormones are responsible for the management and regulation of nearly every system in your body, this effect can have far reaching consequences.

Parabens are man-made chemicals used as preservatives in personal care products, foods, pharmaceuticals and beverages. Oftentimes, manufacturers will use more than one paraben in a single product. This only increases your exposure and the cumulative effect they may have in your body. Common parabens you may find listed on your product labels include:14,15 




Methylparaben

Ethylparaben

Propylparaben

Benzylparaben

Butylparaben

N-propylparaben

Isobutylparaben


Studies linking the action of parabens on the expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors and noncancerous cells16 found methylparaben increases breast cancer tumor proliferation17 and demonstrated human epidermal growth factor receptors enhance the ability of butylparaben to stimulate breast cancer proliferation.18

Methylparaben decreases the proliferation of keratinocytes and promotes skin aging.19 Parabens also have an adverse effect on the vitality of sperm and damage the late stage of spermatogenesis in an animal model.20

Lab tests done on 315 male patients21 in a fertility clinic found those exposed to parabens had lower testosterone levels and more sperm that are abnormally shaped and slow moving.

The study suggests these ingredients may contribute to a rising number of men experiencing infertility. Those who had a low concentration of parabens had a lower proportion of sperm with abnormal morphology, while those with higher levels had DNA damage in the sperm, lower motility and higher abnormal morphology.

Consider the Chemicals You May Inhale or Touch

Although these toxic chemicals are commonly found in personal care products, they are also found in conventional cleaning products, impacting your health and the environment. Making a simple switch to safer alternatives using ingredients you may already have at home will help to reduce your exposure and the damaging impact on the environment.

Dish soaps often contain phthalates, and triclosan is found in many detergents and over-the-counter antibacterial products. Speaking about perchlorethylen, Judith Schreiber, Ph.D., chief scientist of environmental protection for the New York Attorney General’s office,22 said it is a neurotoxin, increasing your risk for neurological effects, liver and kidney diseases and cancer.

This chemical is a component of spot removers, carpet cleaners and dry cleaning solutions. Another group of chemicals known as quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) are standard ingredients in many antibacterial solutions and are commonly found in fabric softeners.

Quaternium-15 is likely the most well-known of the quats and is a known formaldehyde-releasing chemical found in hair conditioners, hair styling products, shaving products and household cleaning products. Other quats include:23






Benzalkonium chloride

Cetalkonium chloride

Cetrimonium chloride

Lauryl dimonium hydrolysed collagen

Stearalkonium chloride

Diethyl ester dimethyl ammonium chloride

Dialkyl dimethyl ammonium methyl sulfate

Hydroxyethyl methyl ammonium methyl sulfate

Chemical DTDMAC (ditallow dimethyl ammonium chloride)

Quaternium-15,18, 26 and other numbers

Reduce Your Chemical Exposure Using Simple Solutions

It is critical to track adverse events as they relate to any chemical or product you use. Report any adverse reaction you or your family experiences to the FDA24 on their phone line (1-800-FDA-1088), online or their paper reporting form. The cosmetic industry is not interested in moving toward tighter regulations, which leaves you in charge of regulating what you and your family put on your skin.

Your skin is an excellent drug delivery system, so what goes on your body is as important as what goes in your mouth. It is important to remember that while you may wear gloves as you clean, not all the solution may be removed from the surface after you’re finished.

You likely have many of the ingredients you already need to effectively and efficiently clean your home. Discover some simple solutions in my previous article, “Keep a Clean House With Nontoxic Cleaners.”

Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome will also help to protect you from some of the toxins you ingest by filtering them — a protection you don’t get when they are absorbed through your skin.

Find recipes to make your own homemade bath and handwashing products that don’t contain additional by-products and preservatives. Coconut oil is a healthy skin moisturizer that has natural antibacterial properties.

The Environmental Working Group has an extensive database to help you find personal care products free of potentially dangerous chemicals.25 Products bearing the “USDA 100% Organic” seal are among your safest bets if you want to avoid potentially toxic ingredients. Be aware products labeled “all-natural” may still contain harmful chemicals, so it’s wise to check the full list of ingredients.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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