Wonderful post from a guy greenie on finding out what really goes into his little bottle of shampoo –
But I took a close look at my bottle of shampoo one day and my hair stood on end before I even washed it. The front label stated “Vitamin E Moisture Rich Shampoo – Professional performance formula”, but what I read on the back made me wonder about the volume of potential poisons I’ve been washing into the environment over the last 3 decades plus, simply through washing my hair.
Having a blackwater system at the time for recycling our household waste water also made me a little more conscious about this kind of thing. If we had put chemicals down our drains that upset the good bacteria, they couldn’t do their job properly in chewing up all the nasties. Throw it out of balance, and restoring the balance can take a long while.
Here were the ingredients of my shampoo and what I discovered about them:
Sodium Laureth Sulfate – used in clinical testing as a primary skin irritant. Tests on lab animals indicate material may cause mutagenic effects.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine – potential irritant and potentially contaminated with or breaking down into chemicals linked to cancer,
Ammonium Chloride – Harmful if swallowed. May be harmful by inhalation. Skin, eye and respiratory irritant
Tocopheryl Acetate – Vitamin E
Camellia Sensis Leaf Extract – OK depending on extraction process
Fennel – OK depending on extraction process
Fruit Extract – Hrm.. depending on extraction process
Epilobium Angustifolium Extract – OK depending on extraction process
Sunflower Extract – OK depending on extraction process
Hazel leaf Extract – OK depending on extraction process
Sweet Almond fruit extract – OK depending on extraction process
Panthenol – Vitamin B5
Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolized wheat protein – not sure
Quaternium-22 – May contain harmful impurities or form toxic breakdown products
Butylene Glycol – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board
Propylene Glycol – allows other chemicals to penetrate into the skin, suspected Respiratory, Skin or sense organ, Immunotoxicity and Neurotoxicity hazards
Polyquaternium-10 – a mildly irritating toxic polymer
Sodium Chloride – common salt
Tetrasodium EDTA – allows other chemicals to penetrate into the skin
Citric Acid – OK depending on extraction process
Hexylene Glycol – neurotoxin, sensitizer and irritant
Triethanolomine – may contain residual levels of nitrosamines, a carcinogen
Methylchloroisothiazolinone -immune system toxin, lung sensitizer,
Geraniol – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board
Butylphenyl Methylpropional – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board
Linalool – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board
Hexyl Cinnamal – not assessed for safety by Cosmetics Ingredient Review board
Limonene – a hydrocarbon that poses potential risks to wildlife and the environment through water contamination. Carcinogen to some animals
Fragrance (I hate to think)
OK, so before I start sounding overly paranoid, I’m well aware that everything is made up of chemicals – even natural ingredients; and “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean non-toxic. 2 potentially nasty chemicals can also combine to make something quite safe and useful – e.g.; sodium + chloride = salt. The type and level of chemical hazard does also greatly depend on quantity and manufacturing – but the point is, they are being manufactured; in bulk – and that in itself requires huge energy inputs and poses risks for the environment. Nature may produce similar chemicals, but it’s a natural process in harmony with the planet and environment.
And here’s a real kicker – like so many other products in our modern lives, many chemicals used in shampoos have their origins as derivatives of crude oil.