Sunday, January 23, 2005
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a correlation between an ingredient found in shampoos and nervous system damage. The experiments were conducted with the brain cells of rats and they show that contact with this ingredient called methylisothiazoline, or MIT, causes neurological damage.
Which products contain this chemical compound MIT? Head and Shoulders, Suave, Clairol and Pantene Hair Conditioner all contain this ingredient.
Researchers are concerned that exposure to this chemical by pregnant women could put their fetus at risk for abnormal brain development. In other people, exposure could also be a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other nervous system disorders.
The chemical causes these effects by preventing communication between neurons. Essentially, it slows the networking of neurons, and since the nervous system and brain function on a system of neural networks, the slowing of this network will suppress and impair the normal function of the brain and nervous system. These findings were presented December 5th at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting.
I have frequently warned readers about the dangers of using brand-name personal care products. The vast majority of these products contain toxic chemical compounds like MIT that contribute to cancer, liver disorders and neurological diseases. In fact, this chemical, MIT, is just one of dozens of such chemicals that are found in personal care products.
Why are these dangerous personal care products allowed to remain on the market? Because the FDA, which is responsible for regulating these products, spends almost no time, money or effort actually investigating the safety of such products. Instead, the FDA spends the vast majority of its time approving new prescription drugs rather than protecting the public against the dangers from such drugs or personal care products like shampoos, soaps, deodorants and fragrance products.
In fact, it may surprise you to learn that manufacturers can put practically any chemical they want into shampoos, even if it is a hazardous chemical listed in the RTECS database of toxicity and even if it is considered a toxic waste chemical by the EPA. The FDA allows all sorts of chemicals to be used in these products, including chemicals that are known carcinogens and that contribute to liver failure and nervous system disorders. How’s that for protecting public health?
If you thought prescription drugs were dangerous, just take a look at the toxic chemicals found in personal care products used by virtually all Americans every single day. Americans bathe themselves in toxic chemicals and they do it by buying and using products made by brand name companies that have premier shelf positioning at convenience stores, grocery stores and discount clubs.
One of the more curious personal care products on the market is Herbal Essences Shampoo by Clairol. Personally, I think this product is a joke because it’s trying to exploit the word “herbal” to imply that the shampoo is healthy, even though it is primarily made with the same ingredients as other popular shampoos. The first three ingredients, for example, are: water, sodium laureth, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Big deal, huh? You can find the same three ingredients in 99-cent shampoo at Wal-Mart. Plus, the product contains all sorts of other ingredients that I personally would never allow to touch my skin (like methylchloroisothiazolinone, if you can believe there’s actually a chemical with a name that long). Think the color of the shampoo is from the herbs? Think again. Three other ingredients in the shampoo are Yellow #5, Orange #4 and Violet #2.
In other words, this is a shampoo product purchased by naive consumers, in my opinion. People who really know herbs and natural products can only laugh at a product like this. Want a real shampoo? Buy Olive Oil Shampoo from Heritage Products, available at most natural health stores.
The bottom line to all of this, though, is that every week, it seems like we see a new announcement about some toxic chemical found in personal care products that is related to either cancer or neurological disorders. And yet week after week these products are being sold by retailers and consumed in large quantities by the American people who remain oblivious to the real damage these products are causing to their health.
Once again, the solution here is to protect yourself by learning the truth about these products and switching to products made with safe ingredients. There are safe shampoos, safe soaps, safe laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids and even deodorant products. You don’t have to expose yourself to toxic chemicals to take care of personal hygiene, because whether you agree with it or not, these disease-causing chemicals are going to remain quite legal in the use of personal care products for many years to come. Why? You can bet that the manufacturers of these products will fight against any attempt to regulate or outlaw these toxic chemicals. That’s because the chemicals are convenient for such manufacturers. It’s much the same way in which food manufacturers use sodium nitrate in bacon and other packaged meats. It’s all about their convenience rather than protecting your health.
So, here’s the idiot test for today: if I was standing on a street corner with a bottle of colored liquid, and I told you that liquid contained a toxic chemical that caused neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and birth defects, would you buy that product from me and scrub it into your scalp under warm water?
Of course not. But if you’re buying these popular shampoo products, that’s exactly what you’re doing right now. Such is the power of brand marketing in America.
Popular shampoos contain toxic chemicals linked to nerve damage