In a shocking revelation, everyday products like toothpastes, soaps and cosmetics were found to contain chemicals that can cause cancer, claims a study by an Indian NGO. And that’s not all, the report also suggests that these products contain chemicals that may cause several other diseases including depression.
A report by Toxics Link, an NGO working for Toxic free environment claims samples of FMCG in Indian markets contain traces of these chemicals beyond the permissible limit and hence can be the cause of many diseases and even cause irreversible damage to the environment.
Besides questioning the need for these ingredients, the study also cited alternatives. All these chemicals have a severe impact on infants and children.
An antifungal and antibacterial agent, when used beyond their permissible limit, is known to have an impact on the developmental and reproductive effects and also a potential cancer risk.
The chemical can penetrate into the skin and has the tendency to interfere with hormone function, so has been categorized as an endocrine disrupting chemical, the study said.
It added evidence does suggest that Triclosan can affect aquatic wildlife and the hormonal systems of mice. It may impact male and female hormones like testosterone and estrogen, and may also affect thyroid systems, which regulate weight and metabolism.
Used in: Soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, mouthwash, detergents and hair products
Used for its anti-bactericidal and fungicidal properties, this group of chemicals also penetrate into the skin easily and gets absorbed into the body through the skin, blood and digestive system.
Studies in animals have shown that Paraben may play a role in the endocrine disruption. In addition, Parabens may also interfere with male reproductive functions and is feared to be an agent causing breast cancer. The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has listed Parabens as Category 1 priority substances, based on evidence that they interfere with hormone function, the study said.
Used in: Shampoos, Moisturizers, Shaving gels, Personal lubricants, Hairspray/mousse/gel, Spray tanning solution , Cleansers , Makeup , Toothpastes , Topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals
Used as a plasticizer, (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity) are termed as hepatotoxic (harmful to the liver), teratogenic (harms the development of a foetus), and carcinogenic.
Phthalates have potentially toxic effects to the developing endocrine and reproductive systems. High doses have been shown to change hormone levels and cause birth defects, the report stated citing past research.
Previous studies have also found Phthalates exposure through breast milk was associated with abnormal reproductive hormone levels in 3-month-old infants, the report said.
The chemical also can cause anti-androgenicity in adult men.
Used in: Skin moisturizers, skin softeners, skin penetration enhancers, stabilizers, dispersants and lubricants, nail polishes
Used as an antimicrobial active ingredient in bar soaps, its side effects include that of Triclosan. In addition, Triclocarbon enhances the gene expression of other steroid hormones, including androgens, estrogens, and cortisol. It can also harm patients with ER-positive breast cancer.
Used in: Soaps, Deodorants, Detergents, Cleansing lotions, Wipes, Hand wash
Used to create the creamy texture or foam in products like soaps and shampoos, it causes mild to moderate irritation in the eye, skin, throat and nose. The International Agency for Research on Cancer found that excesses of small margins were observed in cancer patients of various sites including stomach, oesophagus and larynx.
More importantly reacting with other cosmetic formulae it can form nitrosodiethanolamine, an extremely potent carcinogen.
Used in: Soaps , Shampoos , Detergents , Cleaners , Polishers , Cosmetics