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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Diabetes and Phthalates

What is your daily beauty routine? Does it look like a tidal wave of chemicals? Probably not to you. But that may be exactly what it is.

The average woman uses as many as 515 chemicals on her body in her daily beauty and makeup routine. Yes, 515. From SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) in her shampoo to Propylene Glycol in her deodorant, the exposure is staggering. Many (if not most) of these chemicals have been implicated in a wide range of health concerns, from cancer to hormone disruption and infertility. Although the powers-that-be claim that these chemicals are safe in such small doses, what exactly does daily exposure over a lifespan add up to? That may just be the million dollar question.

Now a new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives adds another concern to list. Researchers James-Todd et al. have discovered that women with even low levels of phthalates in their bodies have an increased risk of diabetes and insulin resistance. Those with the highest level of phthalates had nearly double the the odds of diabetes.

Phthalates are "plasticizers", according to the Environmental Working Group, and have long been know to disrupt the endocrine system. Phthalates help lotions feel smooth and silky, and give cosmetics such as mascara flexibility. They are commonly found in many cosmetics, including popular brands of nail polish, fragrances, and hair sprays, among others. Although some brands have begun to phase out phthalates in response to health concerns, many have continued to ignore the warnings. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report "A Little Prettier" tested a sample of these brands, with mixed results.

What you can do: read your labels! Understanding natural beauty products is essential for making healthy choices for you and for your family. Know the risks and use your power as a consumer to support brands and products that are safe and non-toxic.

Want to learn more? Join us at the 2012 Natural Living Conference on Saturday, October 13th in Chicago. Natural beauty expert Todra Payne will conduct a workshop on Understanding Beauty Labels to help guide you.

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