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  After reading the article about the bad things in common products from a couple of weeks or so ago a lady asked:

"... ... what can I do?.... ..."

And this is the answer:

     You can Read Labels, yes, you can, read them and look stuff up. Learn what is in the foods you eat and the products you use. And, what you give to your kids!
     Be Aware of what some of these chemicals and compounds are doing to you because "you are what you eat".
     Control what you can, find alternatives to products with too many poisons in them. And then minimize what you can't stop all together, because, like it or not, we live in the here and now where this stuff is part of every day life.
     Quit Stewing About Yesterday. Worrying about what you slathered all over yourself and your kids last year at the beach will probably do more harm than the documented toxins in the sunscreen, which was probably more harmful than the sun itself, but that's another article.
     Then: Tell those you care about and help them learn to Live better.

     There. We answered the lady's question first. Before we get bogged down tilting at giants who grind out products that contain enough mind numbing chemicals to make you think you are the Knight Errant himself.
     But there it is. You are in charge of your life. Why would you want to give up that power over you and your family to... well... we'll get to that later.

(All products named are registered to their various owners, see below)

     The rambling, almost overwhelming, and somewhat alarming article about the various poisons, sweeteners that really aren't 'sweet' in your diet, and other Stuff, in our everyday household products and processed food has been online for a week.

And the response has been, with a few exceptions, almost catatonic.

     There were, of course, there always are, people who attempt to discredit the information based on the messenger.
     The Desk is used to this. And to some degree, it enjoys that challenge to its articles. Yes, the Desk is a "half-drunken, half-crippled, ex-sportswriter", and it has been for a long time. And- It is Good At It! Now, go look up Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), and YOU explain why it is in mayonnaise and children's lip balm. Go on, we'll wait.....
     And then those that had been spouting and posturing, seem to always find something else to do. So we're still waiting for their analysis.

     For the most part, the Average People of the US and even in Europe has been best characterized by the response of one middle aged local woman, who had two products in her purse with several ingredients each from the Greatest Hits List of toxins and poisons. Her statement became our title: "Yeah, but what can I do?"

     The concept that she could take active control over her life, her Wellness, and perhaps get her children, and maybe even grand children to take control of theirs as well seemed totally alien to her. The Desk may as well have asked her that since quantum mechanics suggests that Warp Drive is indeed possible, how she would best think to build one.

     Her answer made you believe that she has no other option but buying and using items that are constructed with, in this case, a known carcinogen, a few hormone disrupting preservatives, and so on, in them. They are advertised, and on the store shelves, and she MUST buy them and use them. She has no choice. Or, at least she thinks she doesn't have a choice. And if you look at the fact that some of these ingredients show signs of being physically addictive, she may not.

     Another response was from a "cousin's friend's acquaintance’s bookie" or some connection like that.

     "We don't have to worry about that, we use Amway..... .... our upline said they were healthy."

         - - - Oh?

     Let's begin there.

     For starters, your upline is trying to "sell the dream", not a 'healthy lifestyle', wellness, or really even products to support such a thing in all but a few odd cases. The Amway business model is about building layers in your organization (those famous circles and lines), the products are almost incidental. When you ask an Amway member how much they have invested in training materials related to the business, and how much more they need to buy, the answer can be most interesting.

[NOTE: 'now hear this', the Desk has NOTHING against Amway itself. It might have a problem with its friend's upline, but their stance IS NOT the corporate position of the company itself. In fact, their upline violated their own Rules Of Conduct with their statement. The claim's FDA compliance is beyond the scope of this article.]
From Amway itself:
"4.6. Statements About Products, Services, and the Opportunity: An IBO (Independent Business Owner) shall make only truthful and accurate statements about the business opportunity, products and services offered through or by Amway. IBOs shall not make any claims about products or services offered through or by Amway other than those claims found in Amway authorized literature and at"

     So, there.

     Back on topic, the products.
     One thing we do have to say in Amway's favor is that they list the ingredients in the vast majority of their products on their corporate website. Unlike, say Mary Kay Cosmetics where you have to go on a far reaching expedition to find out what they put in their stuff (with good reason. Stand by). With Amway, it's right there.
     To start with, we'll take our "greatest hits list" and go look at the two product lines that, as much as anything, are Amway's flagship.
     The "Artisty" beauty line and "Legacy of Clean" (both are registered trademarks of Amway; see below) home products (laundry soap and the like).
     One of the things you learn early on in doing this sort of research is that the marketing department of these companies have nothing to do with the actual research and development of the products the company sells beyond that first meeting where some suit says "we need a new skin cream". After that, the chemists take over and stuff from odd colored test tubes and perhaps even a burbling cauldron end up in a bowl when somebody says, "I think that's it." And as long as the test subjects skin doesn't blister up and fall off, it's good to go.
     How else would anybody think that some of the things found in "Artistry® Hydrating Foundation" are a good thing for a young-ish woman to put on her face?
     The full ingredient list is presented below for your amusement. We shall skim through it and pick out a couple to look at.
     Before we even get to look anything up, we see THREE parabens Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben (known endocrine disruptors / estrogen mimics), and our favorite prescription drug Disodium Edta, a PEG in this case PEG-10 Dimethicone, and, here we go...
Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone
... that mouthful is One ingredient! A silicone compound, it's supposed to be a skin conditioner. It is also a skin and eye irritant that may produce redness and itching.
see its MSDS:

     The third ingredient on the list is Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, also known as:

Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) is one of the most frequently used chemical UV filters worldwide and has been reported to cause photosensitisation and photoallergic effects. OMC easily penetrates the upper layer of the skin and, when exposed to UV radiation, generates free radicals in skin cells. Recent studies indicate that OMC may also have significant undesirable effects as a xenoestrogen.
     Terrific. Right?
     Oh, it gets better.
     The first ingredient in the list on the company's website for this product is Cyclopentasiloxane.
"It has been shown to cause tumors in animals at moderate doses, is an endrocrine disruptor, is bioaccumulative, a human neurotoxin, and an environmental toxin to boot!"
(Warning: this is an EU animal test report in which 'critters' of various sorts were exposed to the substance for varying lengths of time, and then killed for necropsy.)
There is evidence (see Special studies, section 3.3.12.) suggesting that the effect of D4 on reproduction in females is due to a delayed ovulation caused by a treatment-related delay in or blockage of the luteinising hormone surge on the day of pro-oestrus. The reproduction findings in the two-generation study are consistent with a long-term suppression of LH release.
(the interesting stuff begins at about page 40)

     And it is the FIRST ingredient, listed even before water.
     OK, to be fair, this particular item has been discontinued from production (still available but, supplies are limited!), but, it is also being replaced. One of those replacements is a "youth extending formula", which also has Cyclopentasiloxane in it, as the Second Ingredient this time, a couple of Parabens, and so on. Ingredients to that one below as well.
     It's almost as if cosmetics can't be made without them.

     Let's go look at the laundry soap.

     Second ingredient (right after water): C10-16 Alcohol Ethoxylate
"A skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritant; May cause vomiting and diarrhea after ingestion;"

     A bit further down the list you have: Triazinyl diaminostilbene disulfonic acid

4,4`-Diaminostilbene-2,2`-disulfonic acid
2. Hazard(s) identification
Classification: This chemical is considered hazardous by the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)
Label Elements
Signal Word: Warning
Hazard Statements, Harmful if swallowed, Harmful in contact with skin, Causes skin irritation, Causes serious eye irritation, Harmful if inhaled, May cause respiratory irritation

     Wanna go on? No? Well, if you get bored, the ingredient list for Legacy of Clean® SA8® Laundry Detergent - Floral, Item #: 110478 and live link is below.

     Let's jump companies.

Avon's "Skin So Soft"
     Avon, too, discloses their ingredients on their website. Kudos for that. BUT, they 'hide' the bad stuff in the middle of an otherwise unbroken block of text that is in all upper case. No, we're not kidding. The posting of what's in this stuff in that manner is intentional, the goal being to make it all but unreadable. That way you won't see smack in the middle of the long list of multi-syllable words something like Imidazolidinyl Urea.
     "A formaldehyde releasing compound":

     and Tocopheryl Acetate, which is said to be vitamin E. It is also a cellular toxin and has been called the "irritating form" of the vitamin:

     And then that old stand by, what we've come to call "our favorite prescription drug": Disodium Edta, which we deal with in the original article.

     How about something else from Avon, say, to pick at random... and we'll leave the formatting intact from their site

Haiku Shower Gel
     Moving on, shall we change companies again?
     And since we have been picking on MLM companies, let's go look at, well, Mary Kay. Mary Kay Inc. doesn't disclose their ingredients on their website. As we mentioned, you have find them elsewhere, in some cases, it is a photo of the label on a box posted by a customer.
     There's a reason they don't tell you up front what's in the products. You can trust the old "ex-sportswriter" on that one. If you believe the sales pitch, you really don't want to know what's in it.

     That's a hell of a statement, so let's prove it:

TimeWise® Microdermabrasion Plus Set
Get the look of polished, younger skin and significantly smaller pores with this two-step system. Immediately, skin looks younger, and pores look smaller. Dramatically improves skin’s texture. Visibly improves the look of fine lines. Makes skin high definition-worthy.
     The ingredients to that set are nowhere on the site. So you do some looking around the web until you find this:
Mary Kay Microdermabrasion Kit:
Refine Ingredients: water, alumina, butylene glycol, cyclopentasiloxane, hydrogenated polyisobutene, glycerin, myristyl myristate, glyceryl stearate, cyclohexasiloxane, peg-100 stearate, dimethicone, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, caffeine, benzyl alcohol, steareth-20, sodium stearate, potassium stearate, triethanolamine, myristyl laurate, diazolidinyl urea, disodium edta, polysorbate 60, carbomer, methylparaben, propylparaben, titanium dioxide.

Replenish Ingredients: water, glycereth-26, isododecane, dimethicone, propylene glycol, glycerin, boron nitride, polyacrylamide, c13-14 isoparaffin, triethanolamine, panthenol, dmdm hydantoin, disodium edta, peg-4 laurate, allantoin, carbomer, laureth-7, camellia sinensis leaf extract, glyceryl polyacrylate, phenoxyethanol, tocopheryl acetate, iodopropylnyl butylcarbamate, methylparaben, cyclopentasiloxane, ascorbic acid, cyclohexasiloxane, peg-75, peg-150, peg-8 cetyl dimethicone, mica, titanium dioxide, red 33, ext. violet 2

     Yes, the second bottle is not exactly the same, but the first one is identical, and there is no reason to believe the ingredients would be significantly different in the other product.

     Look through those lists. There is a reason they don't disclose them on the website.
     They do, however, say this:

"Product safety is Mary Kay Inc.’s highest priority. In a typical year, Mary Kay Inc. spends millions of dollars and conducts more than 500,000 tests to ensure that every Mary Kay® product meets the highest standards of safety, quality and performance.
... ...
Every product decision is based on scientific fact, not opinion.
Mary Kay Inc. relies on proven scientific research utilizing the most advanced technologies available, and the Company will not use any ingredient until our testing has proven it safe and effective for use."
     Their statements are, of course, bullshit. Just like the one from a retail company in the first article. Look at the ingredients and think about the daily levels of exposure to that stuff. One product, for a short time a day, sure, it is probably safe. The idea being touted in those sorts of statements is not based in the real world is it?

     And then somebody is going to point out that members of the Desk's family are involved with another MLM company.
     OK. Fine. Let's sharpen our ax and go see what we can find from the Greatest Hits List in that company's products. And, no, we're not going to pull any punches here. If something turns up, we want to know why it is there which means we'll probably upset somebody asking questions.   oh, well

     We've been picking on 'bathroom' types of products, so we'll start there and pick something at random from the site: Sensation™ Hand & Body Lotion

Deionized Water, dimethyl sulfone (MSM), glyceryl stearate, stearic acid, Glycerine, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, sodium hyaluronate, sorbitol, Rosa Rubiginosa (Rose Hip) Seed Oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, aleurites moluccana (kukui) seed oil, lecithin, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Extract, Camelia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hypericum Perforatum (St. John's Wort) Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus (Algae) Extract, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) gel, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), gingko biloba leaf extract, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Furanocoumarin-free Bergamot) Peel Oil, jasminum officinale (jasmine) oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil.
     Nothing immediately obvious, but there are a few that might be interesting. So let's look at a few.
     Second ingredient is: dimethyl sulfone (MSM):
MSM: Research, Studies, Clinical Trials
MSM has been studied extensively on humans and animals in a wide variety of investigations. Several of these published papers research MSM's effect on reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, its anti-inflammatory activity, and its safety.
     Next is Glyceryl Stearate (a naturally derived fatty acid which means, as with almost anything: allergies are possible):
CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel reviewed chronic studies of Glyceryl Stearate that showed no adverse effects on reproduction, and no carcinogenic effects.
Human exposure studies of products containing Glyceryl Stearate and Glyceryl Stearate SE, as well as clinical experience have shown these compounds to be nonsensitizing, nonphototoxic and nonphotosensitizing.
     Well.... Let's skip to: sodium hyaluronate:
     Now it gets interesting. At first brush, that is a prescription drug. Yes it is. It is listed at as exactly that. An injection treatment for knee pain from joint deterioration/arthritis. (which this writer has first hand experience with)
     It is also something that occurs naturally in your skin, and is supposed to be in your knees but, well, it wears out over the years and miles and your body becomes slower to replenish it. The same goes for your skin.
     As an ingredient in various skin preparations, it is listed at:

     So, while Young Living does have a prescription drug in their lotion. It turns out to be a good thing when you look at it.

     Let's keep going and look at another one of their products. Since we picked on somebody else's laundry detergent, let's look at one here: Thieves Laundry Soap

Ingredients: Water, Decyl glucoside, Sodium oleate, Glycerin, Caprylyl glucoside, Lauryl glucoside, Sodium chloride, Sodium gluconate, Carboxymenthyl cellulose, Alph-amaylase, Protease, Lipase, Citrus Limon (Jade lemon) peel oil, Citrus aurantium bergamia (Bergamot) peel oil (Furocoumarin-free), Syzygium aromaticum (Clove) bud oil, Citrus limon* (Lemon) peel oil, Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Cinnamon) bark oil, Eucalyptus radiata oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf oil
     Standard laundry surfactants (glucoside, etc.) and enzymes (protease and friends), oils.... Compared to the Amway SA8 list below (not to mention the ones from the stores, they're even worse! look them up some time. One (Purex) is listed below for comparison.), that's rather boring. The most toxic thing there is the Carboxymenthyl Cellulose which is essentially processed sawdust, which will irritate your eyes if you get it in them. So don't intentionally wipe your eyes with the laundry soap.

     How about the wipes? I've heard there's all kinds of bad stuff in 'wet wipes'.
     Oh, there is.
     One package from a retail store had about half the 'greatest hits list' of "bad stuff" in it, we'll come back to one of those for comparison.
     Since we're at, we'll stay there and hit their flagship product's version of wipes:

Young Living Thieves Wipes:
Pure Grain Alcohol, Deionized Water, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Bud Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Cinnamomum Verum (Cinnamon) Bark Oil, Eucalyptus Radiata Leaf Oil, and Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Soy Lecithin, and Polysorbate 80.
     Oh! We got one! Just one, but one nonetheless: Polysorbate 80. You might be better off without it. It can be contaminated with some nasty stuff. But compared to the other things we've talked about, and the ones coming up next, it's the least of the evils in this section. You can read all you want to read about it here:

     And for comparison, back to Avon first:

Foot Works Healthy Deodorizing Foot Wipes
     And then to the store:
Pampers Baby Fresh® Wipes Box
Made with pure water and lotion with vitamin E
Pampers SoftCare baby wipes are hypoallergenic
Pleasant baby powder scent

Ingredients:Our Gentle Wipe Contains: Water, Citric Acid, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance

And their chief rival:
Huggies One & Done® Refreshing Baby Wipes
Refreshing cucumber and green tea scent
Improved texture helps grab the mess
Alcohol free
Ingredients: Water, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium Edta, Methylparaben, Malic Acid, Methylisothiazolinone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance. (Vitamin E Is In The Form of Tocopheryl Acetate.)
     Let's pick one of the ingredients from each of those, even though there are several from the Greatest Hits List, and a few from elsewhere in this article in both of them:
Sodium Benzoate, benzene compound, preservative, organ system toxicity...
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Japan - restricted for use in cosmetics (concentration limit), Limited evidence of sense organ toxicity -
Carcenogenic, toxin. - Cases of urticaria, asthma, rhinitis, or anaphylactic shock have been reported following oral, dermal, or inhalation exposure to benzoic acid and sodium benzoate.
     And then we'll take Retinyl Palmitate. Well, we'll take this one on the short:
Too much pre-formed vitamin A, including retinol, retinyl palmitate, ... can cause a variety of health problems, including liver damage...
Children can suffer a variety of ill effects from too much vitamin A in food and cosmetics
     Fascinating comparison, no?

Let's wrap this one up....

     You DO have a choice. You can expose your baby's most sensitive area to chemicals that will disrupt their body's chemistry, and possibly cause cancer later, or you can use a clean washcloth and warm water, which may have its own problems as we saw in the earlier article, but, you control what you Can Control. At least most of the time. Right?

     You can decide to continue to pour these substances into your body, most of which have NOT been tested for long term effects. Including the THOUSANDS of chemicals and concoctions of chemicals that fall under the single word "fragrance" on those ingredient lists (see below).

     You CAN change and begin to live a lifestyle that some call Wellness with Health and Disease Prevention as the goal.

     But, alas, we only have one conclusion to draw from general observation and the responses from real people in the real world.... And it is a shame:
     People LIKE their products. They do NOT want to know what's in them, they want convenience and an "everyday low price" and damn the long term consequences. They like to go with the flow. hanging their routine and how things are done is uncomfortable, and requires thought and effort.
     And then you have people who cough loudly at somebody across the street who is smoking a cigarette but -won't think twice about using a hand sanitizer with proven carcinogens in it. They, like the smoker, think it won't happen to them, or to their kids.
     Besides, when they get sick, they can go to the clinic, and the doctor will give them a drug that will make them all better... ... if it doesn't kill them first.

And Now Comes, the defendants mentioned above but not linked in the article:

Other Stuff
Top Ingredients to Avoid in Personal Care Products
Not sure which ingredients to avoid on lotion, shampoo and deodorant labels? Use our handy guide to buy with confidence. (beware of pop ups and animated tracking ads)

"3,163 ingredients hide behind the word 'fragrance'"

Media Desk Articles Referenced:
Connecting The Dots

The Greatest Hits List as mentioned:

An early edition in this series: Poisons in your Bathroom


More Non-Fiction and Mystery Series Articles.

[NOTE: Everything, chemical and otherwise, mentioned in this article is owned by other entities. Some of the substances mentioned may be trademarked by their owners. No undo disparagement or disrespect is intended. No endorsement of the Desk of them, or by them of the Desk is to be inferred.
      If any company seriously disputes the conclusions about the long term safety of their products when combined with other products in daily use in the average home, they may, at their leisure, provide third party evidence to the contrary. At which time the Desk will review it and issue such a statement as is warranted.
      The Desk is solely responsible for the analysis and conclusions hereby presented. If the reader has any issues with anything in the article they may contact the Desk through the usual channels.
thank you]

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