Ingredient lists on various products can be lengthy and dense. Without a chemistry degree, the jumble of consonant heavy words can seem like a completely different language system. We have already discussed the adverse effects of two chemicals present in many sunscreens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, but these aren’t the only chemicals we need to keep our eyes peeled for.
To help you in your quest for consumer knowledge, we have researched some ingredients for you. These 6 common chemicals are ones you come in contact with in your everyday life:
- Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite
These salt preservatives are found in processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and deli slices. Though sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite keep meats from spoiling quickly, they have also been linked to colon cancer and a host of other maladies. No need to protest meat completely—just be cognizant of how much processed meat you’re consuming on a weekly basis, and when possible, purchase unprocessed meats instead.
- Artificial Coloring: Blue, Green, Red, Yellow
These colorings are found in a variety of combos in many of our food products. They might make our food look bright and cheery, but they also wreak major havoc on our bodily functions. Blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3, and yellow 6 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain cancers. Look for color-free products to be on the safe side, and when in doubt, choose whole foods over packaged foods to avoid artificial coloring altogether.
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA):
Another food preservative, BHA is found in foods that contain oils like butter, potato chips, baked goods, and cereal. It is also utilized in beauty products to help dry up oily skin and fight acne. Although the Food and Drug Administration has deemed BHA as safe for consumption, it is classified as a carcinogen, which can damage cell production and disrupt DNA synthesis.
These chemicals are used to make plastics softer and more malleable, but they’re also found in an array of fragrant beauty products. Shampoos, conditioners, nail polish, fragrances, hair spray, and soap can all contain phthalates to help the products stay on the body longer or penetrate the skin better. This is concerning because excessive exposure to phthalates has been linked to multiple health issues: asthma, ADHD, breast cancer, autism spectrum disorders, endocrine disruption, impaired reproductive development, and male fertility issues to name a few. Look for beauty products that are phthalate free, and never microwave plastic products because the heat can cause these harmful chemicals to leach into your food.
This chemical is found in toothpastes, deodorants, and antibacterial soaps, and it’s used to help fight bacteria. However, triclosan has been linked to thyroid and endocrine issues, and there is a big debate that it might weaken the immune system, making people more susceptible to developing allergies, asthma, and eczema. Since there is no solid evidence that antibacterial products are more effective than plain soap products, limiting your triclosan use shouldn’t be a hard change to make.
- Ethylhexyl Methoxycrylene
This sunscreen ingredient, similar to oxybenzone and octinoxate, but has an added cyanide component! Cyanide is an extremely harmful and poisonous chemical that should be avoided at all costs. Ethylhexyl methoxycrylene is extremely toxic to aquatic life with the ability to leave long lasting effects. It is said that when this chemical touches chlorinated water, it has the ability to change the chemical makeup of not only the water but your sunscreen. If at all possible, add this to your list of ingredients to look out for when purchasing your new bottle of sunscreen.
Chemicals surround us. In small amounts they may have little impact, but excessive exposure can be harmful to both our bodies and our environment. These are only 6 chemicals to be aware of, but knowledge is power—so we suggest you do some of your own research, too.
At Stream2Sea, we are proud to offer products with ingredients that are safe for you and safe for our waters. Click here to request a convenient, free “Ingredients to Avoid” card.
Stream2Sea has set a new standard for EcoConscious sunscreen and skincare. Along with the required human safety and SPF tests, Stream2Sea products are proven to be readily biodegradable in both salt and fresh water and have passed a comprehensive series of aquatic toxicity tests. Formulated with powerful antioxidant blends to protect skin from sun damage, the Stream2Sea line includes safe sunscreens, conditioning shampoo and body wash, leave-in conditioner, nourishing body lotion and lip balms. Stream2Sea products are currently available online at www.Stream2Sea.com or ask for them at your favorite health food store, dive center or outdoor retailer. Friend us on Facebook or call (866) 960-9513.