Saturday, January 14, 2012
If Bacteria Won't Eat It...
by Linda from The Witches Kitchen
I read an article this week with the headline "Cosmetic Chemical Hinders Brain Development in Tadpoles". The study, by the very credible Brown University, found that a chemical called methylisothiazolinone, commonly used in shampoo, cosmetics, skin care products, cleaning products, even baby wipes, caused defects in the neurological development of tadpoles, even at very low concentrations. The Good Guide has a list of products that contain methylisothiazolinone, and you will be surprised how familiar they are.
It's been known for ages that methylisothiazolinone is nasty in high concentrations, and for that reason you're not allowed to have more than 100 ppm in cosmetics. It's also been known for over a decade that it causes damage to rat brain cells in tissue culture. But this study found (in their lovely scientific language) that it caused "deficits both in behavior and in basic brain development" in tadpoles, even in concentrations 0.015 of that allowed in cosmetics, and over just 10 days of exposure.
And though I know it's a fair distance between making tadpoles intellectually disabled or damaging rat brain cells when they're not even in a rat, and being dangerous to humans, I'd prefer not to test just how big a distance.
I looked down the Good Guide list. There's a lot of products there. I don't use hair dye but I do use shampoo occasionally. Mostly I find that just rinsing my hair in plain warm water works well - it doesn't need soap of any kind. Aloe vera is so easy to grow and a great hair conditioner. I don't use cosmetics but I do use sunscreen, not daily - I've always been a bit suspicious about it - but at the beach or the swimming pool. I've sometimes wondered if I use it too little. I have lots of sun damage to my skin. But I think I'll go for the slip and slap and skip the slop.
Macadamia, Olive Leaf, Aloe and Avocado Face Mask doesn't have or need any methylisothiazolinone.
I don't use many industrial cleaning products. I use my home-made soap, and liquid soap made from it for bathing and hand washing, and cleaning vinegar for floors. Lemon juice and rind for shower and sinks and anything metal. Metho and newspaper for windows. Our toilet is a composting one.
But there's a big list there of products to avoid, and I really am much too busy to read labels that much. I don't want to be that diligent. It really is much easier to just apply my blanket rule: if it doesn't go off, if even bacteria and funghi won't eat it, be suspicious, be very suspicious.