Industrial and technological advances have pumped chemicals into the air and the water systems of the planet, filled the soil with pesticides and given us harsh industrial chemicals as household cleaners.

“In 1940, the world output of chemicals was 1 billion pounds (lbs.); by the 1980s, this had risen to 500 billion lbs. About 60,000 – 70,000 synthetic chemicals are presently in regular use.” (1).


The cumulative effect is that the planet is living, breathing and dying from chemical overload. This is manifesting in increased allergies, asthma and cancer among other ailments.

“At the beginning of the 1900s an estimated one in 750 people died of cancer. At the beginning of the 2000s an estimated 1 in every 2 or 3 people will experience cancer,” say the BHMA. (2).

Eating organic and using non-toxic household cleaners help, but did you know that:

“884 potentially harmful chemicals are used in cosmetics and personal care products, and of these 125 are carcinogens,” says Michael Brooking, Bioenergetician, nutritional consultant and ACMOS therapist.(3).


Today’s average bathroom is full of potentially lethal chemicals. There are safer alternatives. What the Doctors Don’t tell (WTDDTY) impartial, independent research company, recommends avoiding products containing the following ingredients (4):


Sodium Laurel Sulphate – (SLS) In shampoos, hair conditioners, toothpaste, bubble baths and body washes, can cause eye and mucous membrane irritation, urinary tract and vaginal infections, skin rashes and permanent eye damage especially to children’s eyes.

“The American Journal of Toxicology reported that SLS irritates skin tissue, corrodes hair follicles and impairs the ability to grow hair. It also permeates the heart, liver, lungs and brain”, (1).

Dr Bill Kellner-Read, dentist researcher and author claims it has the potential to be carcinogenic. (5).

Ian Taylor, Green People’s information and research manager says,

“…because it [SLS] is so commonly used…. you can be exposed to it up to 20 times a day”.


Propylene Glycol – In hair conditioners, deodorants, cosmetics, body lotions, skin creams and toothpaste, is used industrially as anti-freeze. It can cause contact dermatitis, kidney damage, liver abnormalities, eye irritation, skin irritation, nausea and headaches.


DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine) – In soaps, facial cleansers and bubble baths, it disrupts hormones, causes allergic reactions and irritates eyes. Combined with nitrates, carcinogenic nitrosamines like NDEA (N-nitrosodiethanolamine) can be formed. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, based in Lyon, concluded in 1978 that, nitrosodiethanolamine ‘should be regarded for practical purposes as if it were carcinogenic to humans’. (1).


Alcohol or isopropyl – In hair rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, aftershave and mouthwash, can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, depression, dry skin and hair and in mouthwash, throat and tongue cancers, according to Dr Read.


Petrolatum – industrial based grease component, AKA mineral oil jelly, liquid Vaseline, paraffinum liquidum and baby oil. It can prevent toxin release and oxygen penetration, cause acne, photosensitivity and cause chapping, dryness, premature ageing by stripping the skin’s natural oils.


Others to avoid are:

Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) – In shampoos, hair conditioners, bubble baths and shower gel, can cause permanent eye damage especially to children. It irritates the skin tissue, corrodes hair follicles and can impair hair growth.


Aluminium – In aerosol antiperspirants, antacids and glitter nail varnish – Can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s by three times.

Mark Constantine, managing director of Lush, says, “Aluminium salts have been linked with health scares and most of these salts are irritants”.


Fluoride used in all conventional toothpaste. Fluoride disrupts immune system, increasing ageing, cancer, tumour growth, arthritis and is a systematic poison and severe fluoride toxicity will result in mullet-organ failure, according to Dr Ted Spence. (6).

“Fluoride compounds are so toxic they are listed among the top 20 of the 275 substances that pose the most significant threat to human health” says Dr Read.

“The fluoride used in toothpaste is the same chemical used in the making of rat poison. The National Cancer Institute said that fluoride is linked to 10,000 cancer deaths yearly and ..the National Toxicology Program confirmed the report,” says the CPC.

Flouride also causes calcification of the pineal gland which inhibits meditation and your direct connection to source, according to John St Julian and many others. (7).

So where do you go from here? Read the labels. Be discerning. There are some companies you can trust.


Companies you thought you could trust include:

The Body Shop says, ”We continue to believe that SLES, as used by The Body Shop, are safe.” They claim to meet the requirements of the European Union Cosmetics Directive, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organisation.

Richard Austin, managing director of Kingfisher Toothpaste, when questioned about the safety of SLS he used says, “Our research and that of other companies (Toms of Maine and Weleda) is that there is no research which supports those rumours.”


Companies you can trust:

Lavera: 01557 814 941 Use herb and flower extracts to produce natural, hypoallergenic, organic products free from synthetic preservatives, petroleum oils, colourants and perfumes. Do use alcohol.


Lifeplus: 01480 224 610 English nutritional and cosmetics company pharmacist founder now produces natural products.


Green Things: 01892 861132 uses essential oils, natural and organic ingredients in products free from mineral oils, artificial colourants or perfumes.


Green People: 01444 401 444, Offers organic formulations made from gentle ingredients.


Daniel Galvin Jnr hair care range is sold in Superdrug, Waitrose and Tesco.

The hair colourist Galvin Jnr produced a range of designer organic hair care products after realising most shampoos contain the same ingredients as household cleaners.


Reading through the European Commission Cosmetics Legislation 1999 edition failed to highlight any of the ingredients above in list of banned ingredients. The Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) has been campaigning unsuccessfully with the FDA to regulate DEA use since 1994. CPC has called the FDA’s response “relaxed” and “reckless”.


Get the feeling consumers are being kept in the dark? Isn’t it time you took responsibility for what you put on your skin?


  1. Ecologist, Home Sickness, 22 April 2001, Martin J Walker
  2. The British Holistic Medical Association Newsletter, Holistic Health, Autumn 2002, p. 6
  3. Essential Energies ACMOS Quantum Medicine
  4. WTDDTY newsletter, vol 10, no7, October 1999, p 208-211
  5. Toxic Bite pub. Credence Publications
  6. Dr E Spence, “The Fluoride Controversy” as quoted in (5) p. 87.



Copyright Cliona O Conaill

(First published in the Wyndham Centre Newsletter Summer 2003)