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Buyer Beware: Are Americans Systematically Poisoning Themselves?

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The US has the worst record in the industrialized world for regulating toxic chemicals thanks to the stranglehold powerful corporate lobbies have on Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a doctor, I am understandably concerned that millions of Americans may be systematically poisoning themselves with common household products, toiletries and cosmetics. In this article, I list some of the more dangerous products, as well as providing links to databases that suggest. I even include some simple recipes at the end for homemade alternatives. It is also essential for all American consumers to support the 2010 Safe Cosmetics Act presently in Congress which would greatly strengthen FDA oversight for a virtually unregulated industry (see http://www.safecosmetics.org/section.php?id=74).

At present, I believe Americans are at highest risk from endocrine disruptors found in most commercial cleaning and beauty products. These are chemicals that mimic estrogen and other hormones in their effect on the human body. Many epidemiologists believe they are linked to the current epidemic of breast cancer, premature puberty, and both male and female infertility. However I also worry about evidence linking other synthetic chemical to the big increase in cancer prevalence that occurred with the "better living through chemistry" revolution that occurred after World War II. What many people forget is that cancer was an extremely rare condition prior to the industrial revolution. I also find the current epidemic of asthma epidemic in children - and its apparent link to the use of commercial household cleaners during pregnancy,- extremely alarming.

Why is There a Frog Disruptor in My Toothpaste?


Deformed Frog by Frogs Are Green

(from www.tree.hugger.com/files/2009/1/why-is-there-a-frog-disrupter-toothpaste.php). The phthalates and bisphenyl-A found in plastic water bottles, pacifiers, and baby toys has been pretty well publicized. Many Americans consumers seem well aware that these compounds function as synthetic estrogens and that they cause feminization of frogs and fish, and possibly breast cancer, premature puberty, and low sperm counts in men.

There is much less public awareness that nearly all commercial shampoos, hand and body lotions, deodorants, toothpaste, and sunscreen contain preservatives that function as estrogen-like endocrine disruptors. The US bans only eight of these compounds. In contrast the EU bans more than 1,000. 

The problem with widespread use of these products is that the harm they cause they cause to individuals who use them for years on end (and their children and pets) is compounded when they are flushed down the drain and accumulate in our waterways. Studies of indigenous populations in both the third world and the Arctic reveal they have a hundred or so of these toxic chemicals in their blood stream and breast milk even though most of them have never even heard of Right Guard or Colgate toothpaste.

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One of the worst offenders is the paraben class of compounds (mostly found as methyparaben or PABA), which is used as a preservative in nearly all commercial toiletries. The second most common is   triclosan, found in numerous so-called antibacterial products, including the following: 

** Neutrogena Deep Clean Body Scrub Bar

** Lever 2000 Special Moisture Response Bar Soap, Antibacterial

** CVS Antibacterial Hand Soap

** Dial Liquid Soap, Antibacterial Bar Soap

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** Softsoap Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap

** Cetaphil Gentle Antibacterial Cleansing Bar

** Clearasil Daily Face Wash

** Clean & Clear Oil Free Foaming Facial Cleanser

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http://www.stuartbramhall.com
I am a 63 year old American child and adolescent psychiatrist and political refugee in New Zealand. I have just published a young adult novel THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW (which won a NABE Pinnacle Achievement Award) about a 16 year old girl who (more...)
 

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