Toxic Chemicals- in everyday products

The following toxic chemicals are present in products which we use everyday. In small doses and in isolation, we are assured by manufacturers that they are not harmful. However, these chemicals appear in many different products and we have no way of knowing the toxicity of using many of them at the same time. If possible, avoid them!


Acesulfame K
Food products and carbonated drinks
Artificial sweetener
Possible carcinogen; disrupts thyroid function
Aspartame (NutraSweet)
 Used in soft drinks
Sugar substitute Seizures, headaches and dizziness. Can activate cancer hormones in humans
Perfume, hairspray, laundry and dishwasher products
CNS depressant; causes kidney damage and irritation to lungs, throat, eyes
Benzyl Acetate
Perfume, fabric softener, deodorant
Fragrance and food flavouring; also a solvent
Irritates respiratory tract. Carcinogenic, linked to pancreatic cancer
Bisphenol-A (BPA)
In plastic bottles used by the food and toiletries industry
Chemical used to harden plastics; synthetic oestrogen
Damages DNA and sperm in men; mimics oestrogen and disrupts hormones
Facial exfoliants, moisturisers, make-up removers, body wash
Anti-bacterial preservative in cosmetic and pharmaceuticals
Releases formaldehyde and carcinogenic nitrosamines
Butyl benzyl phthalate
Floor tiles; upholstery
Plasticizer for vinyl and foam products
CarciButyl benzyl phthalatenogenic
Colours (e.g. Tartrazine, Sunset yellow, etc)
Used in cosmetics and food products (juices, cereals, coffee)
Add artificial colouring
All coal tar dyes are carcinogenic; evidence that colours may react with other chemical ingredients
Di-,Tri-, Mono-ethanolamine (DEA, TEA and MEA)
Children’s bubble bath, shower gel, shampoo, facial cleansers
Foaming agent
Hormone disruptor; can release cancer causing nitrosamines; liver and kidney cancer
Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
Fragrance base in perfumery and cosmetic products
Used a plasticizer in PVC and plastic products
Damages gastro-intestinal and respiratory tracts; endocrine disruptor; can cause irregular heart patterns
DMDM Hydantoin
Antiperspirants, multiple skin and hair products
Formaldehyde-forming preservative
Joint pain, depression, headaches, insomnia, asthma
Toothpaste, water, food products
Allegedly prevents cavities and strengthens teeth
Neuro toxin associated with dementia, depression and central nervous system disorders
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Used in fruit drinks, desserts and cakes
Food sweetener
Causes obesity, raises cholesterol and increases risk of diabetes, liver damage and stroke
Hydrogenated Oil
Margarine, spreads, crackers and biscuits
Increases the shelf-life of food products
Linked to heart disease, cell deterioration and nutritional deficiencies
Skin products
Skin lightener and moisturiser Has been shown to cause skin cancer in rats
Imidazolidinyl Urea
Baby bath soap, body products, nail polish, antiperspirants Antimicrobial preservative
Releases formaldehyde. Asthma, chronic fatigue, heart palpitations; carcinogenic
Isopropyl alcohol
Hair colourants, body and hand lotions, after-shave
A solvent and denaturant (toxic substance that changes another substance’s natural qualities)
Depression, headaches, dizziness, nausea, narcosis
Lead and Mercury
Hair dye, amalgam fillings, infant vaccinations
Neuro toxin, also linked with ADHD
Shaving cream, air freshener, varnish remover
Fragrance and food flavouring; insecticide
Respiratory problems. Carcinogenic
Hand lotion, shaving cream, after shave and perfume
Mainly used as a  fragrance; but also flea and cockroach insecticide; mosquito repellent
Eczema; Central nervous system disruptor. Narcotic. Attracts bees and wasps.
Methylene chloride
Aerosol sprays, paint stripper; tea and coffee
Solvent used to decaffeinate coffee and tea
Carcinogen and CNS disruptor; reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood
Nano particles
Sunscreens, make-up, mascara, eyeshadow, antiperspirant
Micro-fine particle technology (smaller than 100 nanometers)
Faster absorption of
chemical ingredient; greater damage to skin and organs
Petrolatum (Mineral Oil)
Baby Oil, vaseline
Surfactant and binding agent
Acne, premature skin ageing. Inhibits skin’s ability to breathe and expel toxins
Monosodium glutamate
Used in sausages, salad dressing, canned soup and fizzy drinks
Increases the shelf-life of instant and ready-made food
An excito-toxin that suppresses nerve impulses and causes cell death
Multiple toiletries and cosmetic products
Implicated in breast cancer due to oestrogenic properties
Propylene glycol (PG), (PEG)
Used in anti-freeze,  brake fluid, shampoo, shower gel, moisturizers
Industrial wetting agent and solvent
Dermatitis, liver and kidney damage
Face powder, eyeshadow
Caking agent
Easily inhaled; crystalline silica listed as carcinogenic
Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)
Engine de-greaser used in shampoo, toothpaste, etc
Foaming agent
Forms cancer-causing nitrosamines  when reacting with other chemicals. Damage to eyes and skin; collects in heart, lungs, liver and brain
Sodium nitrite
Used in foods like sausages, bacon and other processed meat products Colour-fixing chemical used to create red pigment in meat
Potentially carcinogenic
Soaps, toothpastes and deodorants
Central nervous system disruption. Detected in breast milk; interferes with testosterone

My name is Caroline Sutton and I'm a wife and mother of 3 children, passionate about food, keeping me and my family healthy, gorgeous interiors and shopping! I have a degree in Biochemistry and Pharmacology and continue to be interested in the science behind diet and drugs. I also have a Diploma and City and Guilds in Interior Design and for the last 17 years have run a property company which develops, redevelops and manages rental properties: Sunlight Properties Ltd.

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