Naughty Toxins List

Here is a List of Naughty Toxins that I have come across during my studies. If you want to know what it is and what it does to your body please read below. This is a work in progress.


Aluminium (chlorohydrates etc)

What is it? 3rd most abundant element on early. Heavy Metal

Safe Level: 0 toxic at high doses.

Found in: drinking water, pharmaceuticals, canned food, cooking utensils, underarm deodorant and antiperspirants

Concerns: Suspected brain and nerve damage, suspected in Alzheimer’s and other brain and nerve syndromes, may affect the endocrine gland system, especially the pituitary. Its also a skin irritation.


Animal Derived ingredients

What is it? Prohibited for humane reasons.

Concerns: / exceptions – cholesterol, lactose, lanolin and keratin.


Aspartame (nutrisweet, equal)

What is it? Neurotoxic chemical

Found in: diet drinks, candies, deserts, many pre-packaged foods, and low-fat products.

Concerns: Artificial (low calorie) sweeteners, known as carcinogen excitotoxin (neurotoxin) affects brain and nervous system as well as glandular systems. When consumed suspected with seizers and schizophrenia.



Concerns: suspected respiratory, liver, immune & neuro-toxicity, allergy reactions and dermatitis.


Benzyl Benzoic, Benzoate, & Benzyl Salicyte


Found in: cosmetics, nail-polish, shampoos, bath and shower products.

Concerns: suspected carcinogen, affects endocrine gland function, also suspected in birth defects. Also, associated with burning or itching of the skin.




Concerns: contact allergy an potentially toxicity depending on the concentration and use.


BHA – (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) + BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)

What is it?A Carcinogenic preservative. Toluene-based preservative - Petroleum derived

Safe level: 0 highly toxic

Found in: Bread, dry cereals, cake mizes, frozen pizza, pork, potato chips, many oils crackers, puddings, prepared donuts, gelatin dessserts.

Concerns: suspected carcinogen, affects liver and pancreatic tissues, forbidden in most countries. Wildlife and environmental toxicity. Linked to cancer, Skin irritation, human toxicity, suspected liver, respiratory, kidney, immune and neurotoxicity.




Concerns: potentially effect the liver and kidneys, and it may possibly affect reproductive, nervous, immune, metabolic and cardiovascular systems.


CARMINE. Ci75470

What is it? Cochineal, crimson lake or natural red, CI75470 or E120


Concerns: Associated with severe allergic reactions.


Chemical Sunscreens

What is it? Avobenzone is one which is understudied. Benzophenone, oxybenzone, octinoxate.


Concerns: linked to hormone disruption.



What is it? By product of coal processing, carcinogen.

Found in: Hair salons, hair dye.

Concerns: Suspected mutagen and skin irritant



What is it? Petroleum derived. Antistatic, cleansing foaming surfactant.


Concerns: suspected immunotoxicity, allergic reactions, may cause sensitisation.


Cyclic Silicones

Cyclic Silicones include Cyclotetrasiloxane (D4), Cyclopentasiloxane (D5), Cyclohexasiloxane (D6), and Cyclomethicone. Data indicates that some of these chemicals may have reproductive, developmental toxicity and/or endocrine disruption concerns. They are also persistent in the environment, and may build up in the food chain.



What is it? Detergent

Safe level: repeated applications

Concerns: increase in incidence of liver and kidney cancer


Dimethicone and Other Linear Silicones

Linear silicones, like Dimethicone and others, can improve skin texture, fill in wrinkles, and help condition the hair. It’s unlikely that these large, stable molecules are a health concern for cosmetics users, but there are a few things you may want to know so that you can make an informed decision:

Silicones do not biodegrade well (or at all); they have a negative impact on the environment.

Depending on the size of the ingredient and your skin’s sensitivity, silicones may clog pores. So those with acne-prone skin may want to avoid products that list silicones as an ingredient.



Calcium Disodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trisodium EDTA, etc, are chelating agents, meaning that they bind to metal ions, which inactivates them. These ingredients are not linked to consumer health issues, but they might be a problem for aquatic life since they don't break down in the environment and have been found in waterways.



What is it? Endocrine disrupting chemical or compound that mimics hormone estrogen

Found in: pesticides, metals, additives or contaminants in food, and personal care products.

Concerns: reproductive and development problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.



These ingredients (including DEA/TEA/MEA/ETA) may be contaminated with chemicals like Nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer.


Ethoxylated Ingredients

These ingredients are synthetically produced using Ethylene Oxide, a carcinogen. 1,4-Dioxane, another carcinogen that is a manufacturing byproduct, often contaminates ethoxylated ingredients.(Both Ethylene Oxide and 1,4-Dioxane don’t appear on ingredient labels.)



Concerns: reproductive and development problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.

Exception is phenoxyethanol (one of the few preservatives)


Common ethoxylated ingredients:

Ceteareth-20, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, and most ingredients ending in “-eth”

Emulsifying Wax: This is usually a blend of Cetearyl Alcohol and Polysorbate 60 or Ceteareth-20

PEGS: (Polyethylene Glycol) compounds. There are over 1000 PEG ingredients listed in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients (INCI) Database

Polysorbate-20, 40, 60, 80 etc


Emulsifying Wax

What is it? Contains sodium lauryl suphate and cetostearyl alcohol

Concerns: may cause local skin reactions eg. Stinging, burning, itching, redness and contact dermatitis, particularly in children with atopic eczema


Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives


Concerns: allergic skin reactions and may also be harmful to the immune system

Although typically not listed as an ingredient, Formaldehyde “releasers” or “donors” often are listed on ingredient labels. Some of the ingredients that likely have Formaldehyde tagging along include DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea and Quaternium-15.


Fragrance/parfum - synthetic artificial flavourings or fragrances.

What is it? Abundance of hidden chemicals, phthalates, nitromusks, polycyclic musks. Fragrance mixes contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world.

Found in: packaged foods, mouthwashes, deoderants, cosmetics, perfumes etc.

Concerns: many are neurotoxins affecting your brain, nerve and endocrine funcition, many suspected as carinogens. allergies, dermatitis, headaches, dizziness, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system. Brands should disclose


Gums (arabic, karaya, xanthin, cellulose, ghatti, tracaganth, etc)

Found in? cosmetics,  Ice cream, colas, candy, gum, beer, salad dresseings, isopropyl alcohol

Concerns:thickening agent, may be linked to allergies and bowel disorders. Affects proper Nutrient bioavailibility.


Heavy metals

Lead, nickel, cadmium, and other heavy metals are common at trace levels in both natura, mineral pigments and synthetic colorants. While small amounths pose no human rise, heavy metals can build up in our bodies over time, and cosmetics are not our only exposure source. Heavy metals should be at its lowest possible levels.



Typically used for skin lightening reasons, it inhibits melanin synthesis, causes skin irritation, and may cause discoloration of the skin. Hydroquinone is a metabolite of the carcinogen Benzene.

Lanolin and Keratin

Lanolin is a safe and effective oil that comes from sheep’s oil glands. Keratin is also derived from sheep’s wool, among other animal sources, though keratin used in cosmetics appears to be from wool. Sheep do not need to be killed or harmed to obtain lanolin or keratin, but sheep farmers often use insecticides on the animals to prevent ticks, lice, etc, and many of those chemicals are known to be toxic.

Sheep-raising is a global industry, and at this time there are no established certifications or monitoring organizations that ensure humane treatment.



What is it? Synthetic polymers, including formaldehyde, sometimes urea.


Methyl Cellosolve or 2-Methoxyethanol

This ingredient has been banned in the EU; it’s a solvent that’s used as an additive in perfumes. It can cause skin irritation and may cause effects on the central nervous system, blood, bone marrow, kidneys and liver.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone

These preservatives are banned from use in leave-on cosmetic products in the EU and restricted to very small amounts in rinse-off products. They can cause skin allergies and irritation and may be toxic to the nervous system.


Mineral Oil – Paraffin oil

What is it?  Antistatic and solvent. A by-product of petroleum.

Found in: baby oil is 100% mineral oil, eyeshadow and lipstick

Concerns: disrupts te skins natural immune barrier, inhibiting its ability to breathe and absorb moisture and nutrition. suspected carcinogen, suspected respiratory and liver toxicity. May cause and aggravate acne. Skin irritant. Ultimately causes premature aging.



There are several types of synthetic musks used as fragrance ingredients. Two types, Nitromusks and Polycyclic Musks, have health and environmental concerns ranging from suspected endocrine disruption to widespread environmental persistence, so we prohibit them. Learn more about our fragrance policy here.



What is it? N-nitrosamines are carcinogens

Found in: used in the manufacture of cosmetics, pesticides, commercial tobacco and in most rubber products including rubber baby bottle teats, soothers, balloons and condoms.

Concerns: carcinogen



What is it? Sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber.

Found in: UV products.

Concerns: suspected liver and kidney toxicity. Absorbs through the skin. Associated with endocrine disruptor. Suspected wildlife and environmental toxicity.


Palm Oil and Palm-Derived Ingredients

Palm Oil and palm-derived ingredients are found in many consumer products. Palm oil is a natural, effective, highly useful and safe ingredient—and a potentially sustainable crop. Currently, most palm oil is grown and harvested in an unsustainable and destructive manner, killing threatened and endangered species, and wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem, communities, and the climate.


Parabens (propyl -, isopropyl-, isobutyl – parabens)

What is it? Petroleum derived preservatives.

Found in: absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumours.

Concerns: possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.  Suspected skin or sense organ toxicity. Contant dermatitis and skin irritant. Wildlife and environmental toxicity.

Certain Parabens have been linked to hormone disruption. Out of caution, we prohibit all Parabens, including Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Methylparaben.




What is it? Thickening agent. PEG’S petroleum based synthetic chemicals are frequently impure and contaminated with ethoxylated ingredient, ¼ dioxane.

Found in: look for ingredients starting with PEG followed by numbers. toothpaste, bath and shower products. Used to make degreasers and cleaners.

Concerns: affects endocrine function, has estrogenic effects, a suspected carinogen.

Concerns: It's classified as a skin irritant and penetrator. It has been associated with causing dermatitis as well as hives in humans.

Allowed: polypropylene glycol. Synthetic chemical used to attract moisture to the skin, and help keep the products stable. It may irritate sensitive skin.



Concerns: They are suspected of causing liver damage, some cancers, alterations in thyroid hormone levels & may affect cell growth.

There are 3000 Highly Fluorinated Compounds used in many different types of products because of their oil-, stain-, and water-repellent properties. Compounds in this category do not break down in the environment, and many have been linked to a variety of health issues including cancer, hormone disruption, liver toxicity, and obesity. Avoid products with “perfluor” or “polyfluor” as part of the ingredient.


Petrolatum and Paraffin

Petrolatum is a semisolid mixture derived from processed petroleum. Mineral Oil, Paraffin Wax, Liquid Paraffin, and several other ingredients are also petroleum distillation by-products. The concerns with these ingredients are unsustainable sourcing and possible PAH contamination. PAH (which stands for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons) are linked to cancer. It is possible to obtain certification that there is little-to-no trace PAH contamination.



What is it? Preservative. Necessary to kill/prevent the growth of microbes in any product which contains water.

Concerns: Exposure may include headaches, tremors, eye irritation and depression. Toxic to the kidneys, nervous system and liver. EWG state concerns as it being an irritant to skin, eyes or lungs. Other concerns include organ system toxicity (non-reproductive).



Concerns: Phthalates have been found to disrupt the endocrine system. Researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioural issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. Unfortunately, it is not disclosed on every product as it's added to fragrances. See fragrance.

Phthalates are plasticizing chemicals. Some appear on product ingredient labels, but many may remain undisclosed, hiding under the term “fragrance.” Since some phthalates have been linked to hormone disruption, we ask our brand partners to avoid using them altogether.



Concerns: PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout every phase of its lifecycle - during its production, use, and disposal - resulting in large quantities of carcinogenic, hormone disrupting and otherwise harmful chemicals contaminating our air, earth, water and food resources.


Retinyl Palmitate

What is it? Retinoid

Concerns: may increase sun sensitivity when applied to the skin and worn in direct sunlight.

Allowed: retinyl palmitate is likely of little concern in night creams.



Concerns: Absorbed via the skin & show marked effects on the adrenal glands and liver. Wildlife and environmental toxicity.



What is it? Said to contain nitrosamines and dioxane, which are both considered carcinogens.

Found in: mouthwashes, shampoos, bubble bath, shaving gels/creams, toothpastes, shower bars/gels, detergents, care wash soaps, engine degreasers, floor cleaners, cosmetics.

Concerns: suspected effects include liver, kidney, lung and pancreatic damage. May affect calcium utilization causing teeth, bone and connective tissue weaknesses. May affect nerve and brain function. Suspected in hair loss, cataracts and poor eye sight, eye damage/development, shortness of breath, skin irritation/damage, and death. A major concern about SLS is its potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen. These combinations can lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage.



Concerns: Petroleum derived and suspected liver and neuro-toxicity. Skin irritant & allergic reactions. Contains toluene.



What is it? These synthetic colours are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources

Found in: Concerns: Synthetic colours are suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant and are linked to ADHD in children. The European Classification and Labelling considers it a human carcinogen.



Found in: deodorants, shaving products and skin products.

Concerns: Possible links to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems.



What is it? Petroleum derived & made from ethylenediamine, 

Concerns: a known carcinogen according to the National Cancer Institute—and sodium cyanide (which is made from the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide).



What is it? Toluene is a potent solvent able to dissolve paint and paint thinner

Found in: nail polish feminine products, as well as some cosmetics.

Concerns: suspected carcinogen, reportedly affects endocrine function. It can affect your respiratory system, cause nausea and irritate your skin. Expecting mothers should avoid exposure to toluene vapours as it may cause developmental damage in the foetus. Toluene has also been linked to immune system toxicity.



What is it? endocrine disruptor

Concerns: Disrupts thyroid function and reproductive hormones. A skin irritant. and very toxic to the aquatic environment.

These ingredients are antibacterial used in personal care and home-cleaning products. They’re persistent in the environment and may be associated with hormone disruption.



What is it?  Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids.

Concerns: Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. They include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects like eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some VOCs can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.