Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Informational Interlude

Ever hear of Phenoxyethanol?  Yeah, neither had I.

We were researching online and taking a look at other soapers' ideas, products, and ingredients.  Among a list of organic ingredients used in American cosmetics, we found phenoxyethanol.  Eric and I both had some trouble pronouncing it at first, so he had to look it up.  We're curious that way.

What we found is frightening, at least to us.

Keep in mind, this ingredient is listed as organic and is therefore considered as acceptable in natural, organic items.  It's used by American cosmetics companies!  So what's so frightening?

If you look here, you'll see that it's known to cause:
Central nervous depression
Nausea, (excuse the impending grossness) vomiting, and diarrhea
Prominent headaches
Abdominal and lumbar pain
Acute renal (that's liver, folks) failure
and there's more.

Exposure methods?  Inhalation and dermal (skin) contact.  Interestingly, the site says, "If contact should occur, irrigate exposed eyes with copious amounts of tepid water for at least 15 minutes, and wash exposed skin thoroughly with soap and water.

That's interesting.  Now, keep in mind where we found this ingredient - on an organic soap website, being used in soap and shampoo!  You see the issue here?  Wash with it or wash it off?  Hmm.

There's a good debate regarding this chemical, found in many synthetic fragrances and used as a preservative here.

There's enough frightening information out there that we will not be using this chemical.  It also reinforces our decision to refrain from using synthetic fragrances and perfumes, since the chemical is present in many, and we'd have no way of knowing which.

Moral of the story?  Know what you're using!  "Organic" is not equivalent to "good for your" or even "safe."  As a face painting friend of mine in Minnesota is wont to say, habanero peppers are "non toxic," (and I'll add, that they can also be organic), but you wouldn't want to rub them all over your face!

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