List of Toxic Ingredients

by Bonnie Breniser


You Are Washing Your Hair
and Brushing Your Teeth with
Anti-Freeze, Engine De-greasers, and Solvents!

And washing your body with dead diseased animal parts!


According to Cancer Prevention Coalition press release; 17 June 2002…Cancer and health risk experts just concluded reviews that indicate mainstream cosmetics and personal hygiene products pose the highest cancer risk exposures to the general public, higher than smoking.

“Every day, the US produces or imports 42 billion pounds of chemicals – enough to fill tanker trucks extending from San Francisco to Washington DC and back again.  Over the next 25 years, global chemical production is expected to double in size, and the EPA predicts 600 new hazardous waste sites to appear each MONTH in the US ― adding to the 77,000 hazardous waste sites CURRENTLY in the country.”

― Not Just A Pretty Face – The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry


The Body’s Largest Organ: The Skin

With skin covering approximately 20 square feet of the human body, it is the largest human organ and is your first line of defense against harmful substances, temperature, infection, and dehydration. For adults, the skin is between 15 and 20 percent of total body weight.  Therefore, healthy skin is very important for overall well-being.

Your skin is the largest absorbing organ on the human body. The skin can soak in many types of toxins and petrochemicals due to its large surface area. This can result in cancer-caused compounds slowing building up in the body and accumulating in the fat.  (The liver has the highest fat content of any organ.)

If you were to lay in your bath tub of chlorinated water for 20 minutes, your skin would absorb equivalent to drinking 8 glasses of water. Chlorine shuts down the thyroid function. Clean, pure water is essential to life.


Beware of the term “ORGANIC” and “NATURAL”

People misinterpret the term “organic” as something naturally grown without poisons or chemicals.  
Organic chemist define the term “organic” as to be “composed of carbon compounds”.  Thus; gasoline is organic, rubbing alcohol is organic, Dioxin (a known carcinogen) is organic…highly toxic industrial solvents like benzene, hexane, toluene, xylene, and carbon tetrachloride are all organic!  By this definition, every artificial compound synthesized by an organic chemical laboratory is “organic”.  And when these adulterants are added to essential oils, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, etc., the term “Organic” can still legally be used. 

“Natural” can mean anything to anybody.  A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients states this… “Natural” doesn’t mean pure or clean or perfect either.  “Natural” according to the FDA implies that ingredients are extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to synthetically.  There is no basis in fact or scientific legitimacy, the FDA says, that products containing natural ingredients are good for the skin.  It continues to state…According to the cosmetic trade journal Drug and Cosmetic Industry, “All plants [including those used in cosmetics] can be heavily contaminated with bacteria, and pesticides and chemical fertilizers used to improve crop yields.” 



Not Just Another Pretty Face

Ugly Side of the
Beauty Industry

The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry  


Cosmetic Ingredients

Consumer’s Dictionary
of Cosmetic Ingredients

The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry


Food Additives

Consumer’s Dictionary
of Food Additives

Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives



Many natural products companies use preservatives to kill bacteria.  These preservatives are typically toxic, using mixtures of benzoic acid (have been associated with asthma and eczema) and benzyl alcohol (irritating and corrosive to the skin and mucous membranes), and other chemicals.

Talcum powder (produced from Talc, a magnesium trisilicate mineral) in its Natural form may contain Asbestos which is known as a human carcinogen.  Women using these types of “feminine powders” have a 50-90% higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. 


Cosmetic Toxin Awareness: Get educated!

The main ingredient in many mass-produced soaps is a mysterious substance known as “tallowate”.   These are the fatty remains of dead diseased animal parts.  

{ When an animal dies, whether it be slaughtered due to disease, road kill, etc. it is taken to rendering plants to be disposed of. Brains, fatty tissues, hooves, horns, intestines bones, tendons, cartilage, skin, blood, and all other unwanted parts of diseased or dead animals are collected into large vats, grinded and steamed-cooked.  Then the fatty remains that float to the top (known as “tallow“) is shipped to soap manufactures. }


Anti-bacterial soaps that contain poisonous pesticides and fungicides as ingredients can create serious health risks.


Propylene glycol, the main ingredient in automotive antifreeze, brake and hydraulic fluids, and de-icers.  It is found in many soaps, cosmetics, toothpastes, shampoos, deodorants and lotions.  Because of its ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the Environmental Protection Agency in the US requires workers to wear protective gloves and goggles when working with this substance.  Material Safety Sheets required by OSHA warn against skin contact because it can have systemic impacts such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. 

It is implicated in contact dermatitis, kidney damage and liver abnormalities.  It can inhibit skin cell growth in human test, can cause gastro-intestinal disturbances, nausea, headache and vomiting, central nervous system depression and can damage cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin and surface damage (according to the Material Safety Data Sheet).

Propylene glycol is also found in foods like salad dressings.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is used as a surfactant to break down the surface tension of water.  It is used in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers, car wash detergents, and just about every soap and shampoo on the market.  And yet, according to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology; Vol. 2, No. 7, 1983, SLS is a mutagen.  Balding men and women listen up.  In sufficient amounts, it is capable of changing the information in genetic material found in cells! It has been used in studies to induce mutations in bacteria.  SLS actually corrodes hair follicles and impairs ability to grow hair!  It denatures protein, impairs proper structural formation of young eyes, creating permanent damage.  SLS can damage the immune system.  It can cause separation of skin layers and cause inflammation to the skin.  If it interacts with other nitrogen bearing ingredients, Carcinoginic Nitrates can form as a result.

Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in some soap, is a chlorophenol, a class of chemicals suspected of causing cancer in humans. It is also a chlorinated aromatic compound, similar in molecular structure to some of the most toxic chemicals on earth: dioxins, PCBs and Agent Orange. Do you really want these substances being applied intentionally to your skin?

Unfortunately, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration does not regulate the ingredients in soap, shampoos, lotions and cosmetics.  Some ingredients in mass-marketed soap including Isopropyl Alcohol, fragrances, DEA, FD&C Colors, Propylene Glycol and Triclosan have been proven harmful to human health. Isopropyl alcohol’s drying effects can also remove protective oils and create microscopic cracks in the skin, which can trap and harbor bacteria and other pathogens. DEA (diethanolamine) are hormone disrupting chemicals known to form cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines. Dr. Samuel Epstein of the University of Illinois has found that repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancers.

Regarding coal-tar derived FD&C colors, A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients states “many pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation…and absorption (of certain colors) can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and death.” Do you really want pretty colors when they could cause sensitivity, irritation or worse?

Some synthetic colors, such as FD & C Blue No. 1, are suspected carcinogens (cancer causing agents).  Blueing is a dye that makes whites look whiter in clothing.  Blue No. 1 can be found in foods like marshmallows to make them look whiter.  Other studies have shown that the popular food additive, Yellow Dye #5, can instigate asthmatic breathing.  These toxic colorings are not only in our personal care products, but also in food.  For instance, Red & Yellow dye in a dog collar can cause a staph infection in the animal.  (This actually happened to my girlfriend’s dog.)  What about our children?

Sadly, many of the compounds in the commercial fragrances use in bath and body products are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. The word “fragrance” on a soap or perfume label can mean any of 4,000 different ingredients, most of which are synthetic. Not only are fragrances potentially carcinogenic, according to Home Safe Home author Debra Lynn Ladd, “Clinical observation by medical doctors has shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope and other behavioral changes.” A surprising number of people experience a dry-skin reaction from many common fragrances. 

Therapeutic-grade essential oils are a wonderful healthy natural approach for fragrance.

Nearly 72% of the asthmatics have adverse reactions and hypersensitivity reactions to fragrances ― among the most costly of the US health problems. The American Lung Association also states that asthmatic attacks affect about 14.6 million Americans and kill an estimated 5,000 people each year. Headaches cost Americans $50 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses.

Most perfumes contain the same toxic chemicals found on the hazard waste lists of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. To name a few: acetone, ethanol, tolene, camphor, methylene chloride, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, formaldehyde, limonene, linalool, g-terpinene, beta-phenethyl, musk amberette, musk xylene and musk keytone.

Many other potentially toxic petrochemicals are found in commercial personal care products. Some quarternium compounds, like behentrimonium chloride, can be fatal if ingested and can cause necrosis (tissue death) of the mucus membranes in concentrations as low as one percent.



“The law allows a manufacturer to ask the FDA to grant ‘trade secret’ status for a particular ingredient. If the FDA grants the request, the substance does not have to be listed on the label.”

― A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients





These same toxic ingredients are also found in well-known “trusted” baby brands. 

For example; Destin Diaper Rash Ointment, Creamy, Fresh Scent contains sodium borate, an ingredient that should not be used on infant skin or injured skin.

While Johnson & Johnson advertises “mild and gentle enough for newborns”.  According to Safe Trip to Eden by David Steinman explains why the company changed out the harming cleanser sodium lauryl sulfate with the much milder sodium laureth sulfate.

According to the EPA, lauryl is converted to laureth by adding a petrochemical called ethylene oxide.  But this process; known as ethoxylation, creates the petroleum-derived contaminant (1,4-dioxane), a known animal and probable human carcinogen.

David Steinman bought products and sent them off to be tested for traces of 1,4-dioxane…the lab results revealed 15 popular baby shampoos and bath products contained the cancer-causing chemical.  And it was NOT listed on the product labels.


“Fluoride toothpastes are supposed to carry a controversial warning to say… Keep out of reach of children under six years of age, and if you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.  The FDA’s own package-size limitations are designed to prevent fluoride poisoning, and the toothpaste manufacturers have a way of giving the message, such as putting it inside the package so that is easy to ignore.”

― A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients

Before Baby
Blood test of newborn babies show toxicity levels which come from mothers using carcinogenetic products during pregnancy; poisoned even before their first baby bath―before having toxic lotions and soaps directly applied to their skin.  It goes as far as rocket fuel components found in breast milk.   And baby formula made with tap water containing weed killers and more!  Not to mention; rat pellets, dog and cat foods contain more vitamins and minerals than human baby formula.

There’s all sorts of stuff found in tap water; antibiotics, prescription drugs, pesticides and herbicides, caffeine…that’s another whole story right there.  Some bottled water is the same contaminated water with a price tag on it.  Ever wondered what kind of water is in your soda? ―and other drinks?!



“Pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies are working right now on carriers and solvents for cosmetic products that will help ingredients penetrate more deeply through the skin.”

― A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients

“As if there weren’t enough concerns about the toxicity of cosmetic chemicals, manufacturers are rushing to incorporate nanotechnology that uses particles 80,000 times smaller that the width of a human hair. Nanoparticles, being so tiny, have the potential to penetrate unusually deeply into the skin and organs, causing exotic physical effects. Animal studies show that some nanoparticles can penetrate cells and tissues, move through the body and brain and cause biochemical damage.”

― “Not Just A Pretty Face – The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry”



These cheap toxic chemical-based personal care products are tested on innocent animals.   These animals are tortured with substance experimental by: forced injection or forced to swallow, sprayed in the eyes (with their eyes forced opened with clamps),  and direct skin application.   More than one hundred animal lives are taken each year.  

And be aware of labels that say “not tested on animals”.  Yea, they themselves do not test their products on animals.  No, they pay someone else to do the dirty work for them, outside the U.S. in other countries.

These over-the-counter products are tested on animals for short term effects, such as skin and eye irritation.  But not tested for health hazardous effects of long-term use.


Here are a few MORE ingredients commonly found in shampoo, conditioner, and soap:

Behentrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydrosypropyltrimonium Chloride, Linoleamidepropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate – These are toxic ammonium compounds. Ingestion can be fatal. Concentrations as low as 0.1% can be irritating to eyes and cause necrosis (tissue death) of mucus membranes.

Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine – Synthetic surfactant; can cause eye irritation and dermatitis.

Alcohol: May increase the risk of developing oral or throat cancer.

Aluminum: Related to nerve damage and brain disorders, such as Alzheimers.

Butane: Aerosol propellant. Is flammable and in high doses may be narcotic or cause asphyxiation.

Diethanolamine (DEA): Foam-boosting surfactant. A potential carcinogen that may form carcinogenic nitrosamines when combined with nitrites.

Flavoring: Some can be potentially carcinogenic.

Fluoride: Potential carcinogen.

Propane: Aerosol propellant. Is flammable and in high doses may be narcotic.

Propylene Glycol: Has been shown to cause dermatitis, kidney and liver abnormalities. Inhibits skin cell growth. Very irritating to the skin.

Salt: Very drying, irritating and corrosive.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Same effects as SLS, only much harsher. Contains ether.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Builds up in the heart, liver, lungs, and brain. Could retard healing, cause cataracts, roughen skin, and lead to improper eye development in children under 6 years.

Sodium Fluoride: Has been shown to be a potential carcinogen.

Tallow (Animal fat): Weighs down the hair and attracts dirt.


And these are just the tip of the iceberg!

While small traces of chemicals are reported to be “tolerable” for us in ONE product; we expose ourselves day after day, many times―hour after hour with a magnitude of these toxic ingredients through cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, toothpaste & mouthwash, soaps & shampoos, air fresheners, household cleaners, deodorant, etc., and then we wonder why cancer rates are soaring!




• Not Just A Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry by Stacy Malkan 2007
• Aromatherapy Handbook for Beauty, Hair, and Skin Care by Erich Keller 1991
• A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter, M.S. 2005 6th edition
• Howard E Lyman with Glen Metzer. Mad Cowboy (New Your: Touchstone Book, 1988)
• Cancer Prevention Coalition press release. 17 Jun 2002
• Journal of the American College of Toxicology; Vol. 2, No. 7, 1983
• Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Ladd 1997
• The Healing Oils of the Bible by David Stewart, Ph.D. 2003