Category Archives: Chemical Additives

Artificial Colorants, Preservatives

Antibacterial Agent Can Impair Heart Muscle

[Since it’s been over two and a half years since this UC Davis study was published and triclosan is still widely used, I am republishing this post from 8/21/2012.]

Due to an obsession with germs by Americans, antibacterial products have flooded the marketplace. Triclosan, introduced in the 1970’s, has become a popular antibacterial agent in consumer products.

Studies have raised the possibility that the overuse of triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics, but new studies now attribute it to weakening cardiac and skeletal muscle contractility — a problem that can affect people with heart disease and heart failure.

Triclosan Use  Due to the abundant use of triclosan in personal care products, triclosan levels in urine, blood and breast milk are on the rise. It’s used in everyday products, such as:   Continue reading

Is Deodorant Shortening Your Life?

Do you often wonder if you smell? Are you one who NEVER leaves home without a heavy coat of deodorant under your armpits? If so, take note…

The ABC’s of B.O.

Being conscious of your stink factor starts early on in middle school. This is when you sit through the prepubescent talks about the inevitable biological changes that will soon take place, such as emitting a new and rather objectionable body odor.

Companies have used these classroom lessons as an opportunity to promote their deodorants by providing product samples and coupons to preteens. But unless you’re told otherwise, you probably assumed these products are safe.

Here’s what you need to know about minimizing your unique essence, deciphering deodorant ingredients, and being a smart consumer.

How Chemicals Enter Your Body

Hair follicles (small ducts containing the hair shaft) and sweat pores are open entryways to chemicals. Areas of the body that are particularly hairy (e.g., the underarms) and have higher concentrations of sweat pores (e.g., under the arm) are most easily penetrable by chemicals.

Once chemicals enter the body and penetrate the deeper layer of the skin, they’re distributed via the bloodstream where they may exert their effects far from the original point of entry. Transdermal patches are effective because they deliver medication through the skin and into the bloodstream.

“Safe” Until Proven Toxic      

Deodorants (classified as cosmetics) are considered safe only until they’re proven toxic. Until a chemical is tested and evaluated for toxicity or if the results aren’t publicly available, current laws recognize the chemical as safe.    Thousands of chemicals are considered “safe” because the government agencies cannot address the hazards associated with all of them.    Continue reading

Why Supplements Can Make You Sick

pills_dollarphotoclub_65086147_smallerIn 2011 I reported on dietary supplement safety and warned that supplements are not risk-free. Today, based on the cease-and-desist letters sent to major retailers by the New York attorney general, there’s even more evidence that you should be wary of supplements on store shelves.

According to the FDA, makers of the following are not required to show their products are safe or effective before they go on the market:

  • Herbs or other botanicals
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids
  • Other raw ingredients

That’s because over 20 years ago, President Clinton signed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. Under this law, supplements do NOT need FDA approval before they’re sold. This lack of oversight has caused serious illnesses and irreversible health effects.

Per a Congressional investigation in 2010, dietary supplements were found to contain the following:

  • Heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic)
  • Pesticides
  • Filth and bacteria
  • Prescription drugs
  • Super/subpotent vitamins and minerals
  • Toxic compounds

Phony Herbal Supplements Sold by Major Retailers   

Continue reading

Frankenfood: Eating GMO Foods

GMO greenhouseGMO stands for genetically modified organisms which are specifically, genetically modified (GM) or ‘biotech’ crops, used to produce genetically modified foods. These GM plants are created in a laboratory by altering their genetic material (DNA). Scientists can introduce various modifications into the genes of crops, dairy products and animals.

So why and how do GMOs get into your food? Are they safe to eat? Here are some tips to avoid them if you choose to keep them off your plate.

How Crops Are Modified

Genetic modification (GM) is usually accomplished by adding one or more genes to a plant’s genome using genetic engineering techniques. GMO foods are generated using various methods to transfer foreign cells into animals and plants, such as: 1) Gene guns (particle guns) which inject cells with genetic information or 2) Bacterial carriers (a benign bacterial or viral infection).

Why Foods or Food Crops are Genetically Modified

Foods are modified to:   Continue reading

Lifesaving Tips for Fashionable Flying

The chance of you being in an airline accident may be slim, but here are some things to consider before you board your next flight.

Get in Shape

This is not so much a question of looking good, but in an emergency evacuation, you will need considerable strength, agility and balance to save your life. Remember, if the cabin fills with smoke, you’ll need to be able to get down on the floor and crawl to get to an exit. This can be a problem if you’re not very flexible and can’t move quickly.

Pay Attention to How You Dress

Mother and child on airplaneWhat you (and your children) wear matters when flying. Keep a copy of these tips in your suitcase as a reminder when preparing for your next trip.

  • Don’t  wear synthetics, such as polyester, nylon, rayon or poly-cotton blends. Even though you may be far enough from the fire to avoid serious injury, the heat alone will melt your synthetic clothing and adhere to your bare skin. Melted fabric that sticks to flesh can result in a critical burn and infection. However, at the same distance away from the heat, a cotton jacket or pair of pants won’t begin to char or catch fire. The bottom line is, natural fibers are safer, plastic is dangerous.
  • Wear natural fibers, such as cotton, pure wool, silk, or leather. Cotton is flammable, but in a truly massive and intense fire, whether your clothes are flammable or not won’t matter much unfortunately. NOTE: Some cotton shirts are sewn with poly/cotton thread (an ignition source), so you are still vulnerable.   Continue reading

Unplug the Ad and Read the Label

The manufacturer of Nutella® was sued in a class action lawsuit and agreed to pay $3.5 million over false advertising. As a result, they must change their marketing statements and clean their website and television commercials of any misleading nutritional and health claims.

Companies highlight the positives in their products, if any, and not the negatives.  That’s what they do. Therefore, parents have to be their own vigilant consumer watchdogs.

Companies position themselves in the marketplace and appeal to the buyers’ emotions. Nutella was attempting to find a position somewhere between peanut butter and jelly. They targeted parents looking for new breakfast/snack alternatives. Advertising is a competitive multimillion-dollar business and deceptive or “clever” advertising exists in every industry.

“Safe” Until Proven Toxic

Consider cosmetic ads and commercials, for example. Cosmetic companies try to position their products as the champions of women’s self-esteem, hope, and youth. But neither their products nor their ingredients are approved or tested for safety and effectiveness before they go on the market. How are these seductive ads with ‘misleading’ claims any more false than Nutella’s?   Continue reading

Healthy Homekeeping (Dirty Little Secrets)

Healthy living begins at home. Think of your house like a second skin. Whatever you rub, pour, sprinkle, or spray on in order to clean it can end up in your body. Here are some tips to keep your home (and you) healthy.

Take off your shoes and keep germs from walking into your house. The Japanese were way ahead of Westerners with this custom. Along with dirt and grime, your shoes can track in fecal bacteria originating in restrooms or from the outdoors (think pet poop) and can harbor various other types of bacteria that can cause serious infections.

In Japan, it’s also customary to wear special “toilet slippers” that are only worn in the bathroom.

Treat your clothes like your skin. If you wouldn’t wash your body with it, then don’t clean your clothes in it. Avoid toxic chemicals and animal fats. Always wash new clothes before wearing them. New fabric finishes contain formaldehyde, fragranced starches and insecticides. Soak them in one cup or more of baking soda before washing them to neutralize these potentially allergenic chemicals.   Continue reading

Supplement Safety – Part 2 | The Men’s Health Minute

Dietary supplements are popular, but you can’t assume they’re safe and effective because they’re on store shelves.

Supplement Safety – Part 1 | The Men’s Health Minute

Nutritional supplements are intended to provide nutrients that you may be missing from your diet. Here’s why you need to be a savvy consumer.

The Dark Side of Sunscreen | The Health Reporter Minute

[TV segment #0013H

The long-term benefits of wearing sunscreen are backed by solid scientific research, but there’s also evidence that a common compound in sunscreen may cause skin damage.