Shampoo Makes You Fat?
T he World Health Organization estimated that, in 1995, there were 200 million obese adults worldwide. By 2000, that number had grown to 300 million. It is very strange, indeed, that this epidemic coexists with undernutrition, affecting nearly every nation, rich or poor, and that it is affecting women more than men. What is causing this rapidly increasing global obesity epidemic?
Over the past decade, the United States has been urgently investigating the effects of low levels of synthetic personal care product chemicals found in our water — lakes, rivers, oceans. Scientists around the world have now linked these chemicals from personal care products to a growing global health crisis, causing life-threatening and costly metabolic and neurological disorders. These endocrine disorders threaten to bankrupt the US medical system within the next 30 years.
What types of products contain these harmful chemicals? The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reported that they have found synthetic hormone-disrupting chemicals in shampoo, preservatives, hair coloring agents, sunscreens, fragrances and pharmaceuticals. These chemicals are washed into our water every day and, as a result, they never go away — they are persistent because of daily replenishment via bathing, swimming and urination. Sadly, of the 80,000 plus chemicals used in products, just a tiny fraction were ever fully tested for toxicity, let alone for their hormone interference potential. Currently, toxicity tests required by the government do not evaluate endocrine disrupting effects, so even so-called “tested chemicals” can have unidentified hazardous health effects. You should be aware that the phrases “no known toxicity” or “no known health effects” do not necessarily mean that a substance is harmless.more »
The EPA is very concerned about the antimicrobial preservatives called parabens (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates). Parabens are ubiquitous — found in cosmetics, skin creams, sunscreen lotions, shampoos — even pet food. The EPA states that all parabens — methyl, propyl, butyl — have been proven to have endocrine-disrupting effects. They are particularly concerned about the hormone-disrupting effects of nonoxynol (nonyl phenol) found in hair colorings, shampoos, and spermicides, and sunscreen chemicals such as benzophenone (oxybenzone) and methoxycinnamate. It is very disturbing to learn that many of these chemicals can be found in personal care products that claim to be “natural” and “organic.” We feel that some companies who pretend to be natural and organic are among the worst of the environmental hypocrites.
What is an endocrine disruptor? Endocrine disruptors are chemical substances, primarily man-made synthetics, that interfere with the function of the endocrine system. These synthetics may be derived from petroleum or vegetable sources and are created in environmentally unfriendly industrial processes using toxic catalysts and reagents. These chemicals mimic, block or disrupt the actions of human (and animal) hormones and, unexpectedly, do more damage at low levels of exposure than at high levels. These chemicals can also work in sinister yet subtle ways by disrupting the body’s ability to produce adequate quantities of hormones or by interfering with the body’s hormonal pathways. One single chemical can affect many parts of the endocrine system. Often minute amounts of several of these environmental hormone chemicals can combine to create effects thousands of times more potent than a single chemical.
The endocrine system regulates every function of the body. It consists of the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands, the pancreas, the ovaries and the testes, all linked to the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus is like the mainframe computer of the body, sending signals to the glands that provide the instructions for creating hormones, which are the natural chemical messengers that tell your cells what to do. The various endocrine glands send the messenger chemicals via the bloodstream to different parts of the body where they bind to specific receptors that control all cellular functions. One messenger hormone, estrogen, is secreted by the ovaries and plays a major part in the regulation of menstruation, fertility, pregnancy, and fat cell activity.
When you rub body care products on your body or hair dye on your scalp you can absorb or inhale synthetic chemicals that contain endocrine disruptors which may send false signals to your body’s endocrine glands. When your glands are confused they cannot function normally and serious health problems result. In addition, when you bathe, whatever chemicals aren’t absorbed by your body are washed down the drain into the drinking water supply, where they can cause a cascade of negative environmental problems. These endocrine disruptors are affecting algae and other microscopic life, fish, whales and birds. Humans are exposed when they drink the water and eat the fish contaminated by personal care product chemicals. The government has found sunscreen chemicals in fish and human breast milk.
Endocrine disruptors are stored in a body’s fatty tissues and do not get flushed out with water, thus they accumulate over the years. It is now recognized that the dramatic increases of breast cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and thyroid cancer have been linked to exposure to environmental estrogens. In the past twenty-five years in the US, alone, thyroid cancer has increased more than 45%, with more women being affected than men, and has become the number one cancer in children under age twenty, many of whom suffered from fetal endocrine disruption exposures.
How can you protect yourself? Read every ingredient on every personal care product label and be suspicious of every chemical ingredient. Ask yourself if you would eat that ingredient because, when you rub products onto your body, 60% of the product may end up in your body. When your bottle of body lotion is empty, where did all of the product go? The lotion that was absorbed quickly, was absorbed into your body! The rest washes down the drain. Question manufacturers about their synthetic chemical ingredients. Tell your family and friends about the chemicals that are affecting them and their children. Remember true organic products never contain potentially harmful chemical ingredients. True organic products are made from real organic foods. Protect yourself and our planet and use only true organic products. Terressentials — true organic, USDA Certified.