Fasten your seat belts folks, you won’t believe what you are about to read:
Bob Folsom, a Field Hydrographer in the High Sierra Nevada mountains, has to work with propylene glycol on his job. Even though the PG is used in a solution of about 80% water, 20% PG and 1% mineral oil, there are rigid rules about how it must be disposed of, because it is considered so hazardous.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues "Material Safety Data Sheets" that must accompany all hazardous chemicals. The data sheet for propylene glycol warns of severe health consequences and reactions, because PG has systemic consequences such as brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
(1) If the solution makes contact with the skin, immediate action must be taken, and the incident should be reported to the supervisor.
(2) If the solution spills on the ground, it must be contained and the contaminated earth dug up and hauled to a toxic waste dump.
When Bob is finished using the solution, he is required to empty it into a 55-gallon drum labeled "Hazardous Waste." While doing so, he must wear rubber gloves, goggles, and protective clothing. When the barrel is full, it must be transported to a special collection site, and the driver of the truck is required to maintain a commercial driver’s license with a "hazardous material endorsement." Improper paperwork or mishandling of this toxic solution can result in severe fines and even imprisonment. It costs between $500-$1,000 to get rid of each 55-gallon drum.
Yet when Bob gets off work and goes home, he is free to shower with soaps and shampoos and then use a stick deodorant containingmuch higher concentrations of propylene glycol than the toxic solution he just shipped to the dump. If it was so hazardous at work, why is it "safe" at home?
Used as a solvent, propylene glycol is probably THE most common ingredient found in personal-care items, such as make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes, and toothpaste. (Check the labels of your favorite products!!) It is also the active component in antifreeze; and there is no difference between what’s used in industry and what you apply to your skin! Industry uses it to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of); it’s so strong that it can take barnacles off the bottom of boats.
But because it is so inexpensive, it is widely used in very high concentrations in most personal care formulations—even ones from "natural food" stores.
You CAN choose healthful alternatives:
Dare To Care What Touches Your Skin And Hair
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Do you enjoy a shampoo with a rich lather? A shaving cream that really foams? How about relaxing in a tub full of bubbles? These may seem like some of life’s simple, innocent pleasures…until you look at WHAT is causing all that foam and lather. Once you find out, you may decide it’s not so simple or pleasurable after all.
Check the labels of your shampoo, soap, facial cleanser, shaving cream, body wash, or shower gel: Do you see either Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) listed? Or one of their cousins: Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate, etc.? Most manufacturers use these anionic detergents because they produce a lot of foam very inexpensively. But SLS is so strong that it’s also used to scrub garage floors. Worse, it has been proven to cause cancer in the long run. And the American College of Toxicology says SLS stays in the body up to five days. Other studies show it easily penetrates the skin and enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, the lungs, and the brain. Yet SLS is found in most cleansing, foaming products—even in some toothpastes! (Note: SLS may be disguised in pseudo-natural cosmetics with the parenthetical explanation "comes from coconut." Let's save the coconut from defamation of character!)
One woman who examined labels found that all the shampoos she checked had SLS—even health food store brands. Many listed Sodium Laureth Sulfate as the first ingredient on the label, meaning it’s the single most prevalent ingredient. So this lady called one company to complain that their product contains a substance that will cause people to have cancer. Their response was, "Yeah, we knew about it, but there’s nothing we can do about it because we need that substance to produce foam."
Continued to SLS in shampoo