23 Toxic Ingredients You Really Want To Avoid

23 Toxic ingredients Found In Household Products

A comprehensive List of Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Everyday Household Products, And Where You’ll Find Them

Here’s a list of what to look for and where.  I’ve broken it down into sections.  The first is product type, categorized by room, so you know where to look.  Next I have the 23 specific ingredients to look for and why, what problems and illnesses they cause.


Hair Shampoo
May contain: Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, Diethanolamine (DEA), Dioxins, Formaldehyde (or Formalin), MEA, Parabens.

Hair Conditioner
May contain: Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, Diethanolamine (DEA), Dioxins, Formaldehyde (or Formalin), MEA, Parabens.

Hair Spray
May contain: Phthalates, Bisphenol-A, Benzophenones, Dioxins, Parabens

Hair Gel
May contain: Phthalates, MEA, DEA, Bisphenol-A, Benzophenones, Dioxins, Parabens.

May contain:  Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, Fluoride, Dioxins Parabens.

Mouth Rinse 
May contain: Dioxins, Parabens

Bath & Shower Gel
Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, MEA, DEA, Parabens.

Bubble Bath
May contain: Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, Diethanolamine (DEA), Dioxins, Formaldehyde (or Formalin), MEA, Parabens.

Hand Cleanser
May contain: Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, DEA, Dioxins, MEA, Parabens.

Bar Soap 
May contain: Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, DEA, PEGs, Parabens.

Hand & Body Lotion
May contain: Glycerin, DEA, MEA, Lanolin, Mineral Oil, Propylene Glycol, Dioxins, Parabens.

Facial Cleanser
 May contain: Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, DEA, Dioxins, MEA, Parabens.

Moisturizing Mist
May contain: Glycerin, DEA, MEA, Lanolin, Mineral Oil, Propylene Glycol, Dioxins, Parabens.

Shaving Gel
May contain: Polyethylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, DEA, Dioxins, MEA, Parabens.

Face & Neck Cream
May contain: Glycerin, DEA, MEA, Lanolin, Mineral Oil, Propylene Glycol, Dioxins, Parabens.


• Dish Soap – May contain: Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, Diethanolamine (DEA), Dioxins, Formaldehyde (or Formalin), MEA, Parabens.


• Laundry Detergent – May contain: Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate, Diethanolamine (DEA), Dioxins, Formaldehyde (or Formalin), MEA, Parabens.

Powder Room:

The following products may contain:    Glycerin, DEA, MEA, Lanolin, Mineral Oil, Propylene Glycol, Dioxins, Parabens.
• Wrinkle Complex

• Wrinkle Pen
• Wrinkle Lotion
• Skin Cream
• Lip Care
• Night Cream
• Lipstick
• Lip Gloss
• Lip Pencil
• Shimmer Powder

The following Cosmetics May contain: Quaternium 15 and 51, Triethanolamine, Polyethylene Glycol, Aluminum.
• Pressed Foundation
• Blush
• Mascara
• Eye Pencil
• Eye Shadow
• Bronzer

Make Up Remover
May contain:  Alpha-hydroxy acids, DEA, and MEA

23 Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Regular Household Products:

**The Products Recommended On This Website Do Not Contain Any Of The Following Ingredients.

1. Alpha-Hydroxy Acids – Used in cosmetics, skin creams, and facial peels
• Frequently cause redness, peeling, and irritation of the skin.

2. Aluminum – Used in antiperspirants and cosmetics
• Research has shown a link between aluminum and disorders of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Benzophenones – Used in all types of personal care products to protect fragrances from being damaged by UV light, and some sunscreens.
• Benzophenones are derivatives of highly toxic benzene, and are known skin, eye and respiratory irritants.

4. Bisphenol A – Used as coating or ingredient for bottles, plastics and food containers like the plastic lining of cans.
• Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown to have negative effects on fetus development.  Endocrine disruptors have been linked to hormone related cancers like breast, cervix and uterine.   Also shown to cause increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

5. DEA, MEA, and TEA – Used in shampoos, body washes, skin creams and shaving creams as a solvent, wetting agent or emulsifier.
• U.S. Dept of Health’s National Toxicology Program has shown clear carcinogenic activity related to DEA.

6. 1, 4-Dioxane – A hidden, unlabeled ingredient commonly found in plastic bottles, certain types of lotions, shampoos and laundry detergent.  It is produced when other ingredients are combined, so it is not a labeled ingredient.  Avoid ingredients ending in Laureth or Ethylene.
• Known endocrine disruptor and carcinogen.  A toxin found in Agent Orange, attributed to the high number of cancer cases in Vietnam Veterans.  Studies have shown, 1, 4-Dioxane readily penetrates the skin.

7.  Fluoride – Used in toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay.
• Various animal studies suggest that fluoride contributes to bone disease and may be carcinogenic.  In higher quantities, fluoride is fatally toxic.

*Editor’s Note – I was pro-fluoride until I tried a good toothpaste without it (must use non-fluoride, non-SLS toothpaste for maximum benefit).  I’ve had gum disease since I was 14 years old.  Every visit to the Dentist resulted in a recommendation for gum surgery.  After 5 weeks with my new toothpaste my gums stopped bleeding when I flossed.  They used to bleed just from brushing!  I never thought in a million years that fluoride was bad, until I took a leap of faith and tried to go without.  Now, two years later, all of my “pockets” are gone except one which went from a 5 to a 1 and is still improving, and my dentist and hygienist are very impressed.  Fluoride poisoning can happen with very small doses.  My Oncologist doesn’t use fluoride with his kids.  Now I won’t either.

8.  Formaldehyde or Formalin – Used in antiperspirants, nail polishes, perfumes, dyes, shampoos and more.
• Suspected carcinogen and known neurotoxin.  Cosmetic preservatives contain or release formaldehyde (another “hidden” ingredient).  Avoid Quaternium 15, DMDM Hydantoin.

9.  Glycerin – Used in moisturizers and lotions.
• Glycerin isn’t toxic but you may not want it in certain skin care products.  It attracts moisture from the air to your skin, but can also attract moisture FROM your skin, therefore drying it out and causing premature aging.  I prefer not to have it in skincare, but seems fine for shampoo.

10. Lanolin – Used as a moisturizer in numerous skin creams.
• Lanolin itself is not harmful, but the majority of lanolin is contaminated with pesticides and harsh chemicals that are used on the sheep wool, from which this substance is derived.
**Nursing Moms, try Organic Virgin Coconut Oil on chapped nipples so baby doesn’t ingest those weird chemicals!

11. Laureth – Produced by a chemical reaction between ethylene dioxide and lauryl alcohol.  Used in several cosmetics, and when combined creates 1, 4-Dioxane (Agent Orange).
• Can create cancerous tumors on the skin and in the body.

12.  Mineral Oil – Used in many skin care products to soften or moisturize skin, baby oil is 100% mineral oil.
• Petroleum by-product and has numerous negative health effects.  It dries skin and clogs pores, which can lead to acne and premature aging of the skin.  It also slows down development of new skin cells.
**Moms, use coconut oil instead!  Safe enough to eat =)

13. PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) – Used in sunscreens and as a dietary supplement.
• PABA is a controversial substance once thought to be essential for the body.  Updated research has proven that it is not essential, and that it carries numerous potential side effects!  The risks likely outweigh the potential benefits.  Side effects include dry skin, nausea, vomiting, depletion of Vitamin D and even carcinogenic activities in some people.

14. Parabens (Methyl, Isobutyl, Ethyl-, Butyl-, Propyl-) – Used as preservatives to extend shelf life and limit microbial growth. 
• Parabens are still used frequently even though they are clearly known toxins.  These preservatives have been shown repeatedly to cause skin rashes and irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract.  Parabens are highly toxic and can be very harmful if swallowed.

15. PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) – Used in cosmetics, shaving cream, and other personal care items.
• PEG is considered so toxic that industrial worker are required to wear protective clothing, gloves, and goggles while disposing of it.  It is a petroleum derivative that penetrates the skin and can weaken proteins and cellular structure, causing brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.  **PEGs can be made from lanolin or shea butter.  It rarely specifies on the label.  If I find a product I love that contains PEGs I call the manufacturer to find out the source.  Shea butter PEG is great for sunburns, so it’s worth the extra research.

16. Polysorbates – Oily liquids derived from PEG-ylated sorbitan (a derivative of sorbitol) esterified with fatty acids.  Often used in cosmetics to bind essential oils to water-based formulas.
• Could contain 1, 4-Dioxane (a toxin found in Agent Orange) which has the potential to create cancerous tumors on the skin and in the body.

17.  Propylene Glycol –Used in moisturizers, shaving creams, deodorants and baby products as a humectant.
• PG can cause dermatitis, kidney and liver damage.

18. Phthalates – Used in nail polishes, hair sprays, deodorants, and other personal care items.
• Studies show phthalates cause damage to liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system, and may be carcinogenic.
• Also found in packaging containers (bottles) for personal care and cosmetics.

19. Quaternium 15 and 51  – Used in cosmetics and personal care items.
• Quaternium is a known allergen and can release formaldehyde.  It can cause contact dermatitis, as well as the dangers associated with formaldehyde.

20.  Retinyl Palmitate – Used in sunscreens
• Retinyl Palmitate is an antioxidant that slows skin aging.  But, when used on skin exposed to sunlight, it demonstrates photocarcinogenic properties.  In other words, it may help promote skin cancer.

21. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – Used in shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, bubble bath, industrial degreaser and floor cleaner.
• A highly aggressive detergent, it denatures the proteins in our skin and eyes.  It slows the healing of canker sores and is harmful to young, developing eyes.  In animal tests, it caused rashes, hair loss, open sores, blindness and even death.   This is an ingredient in many “safe” and “green” products because it is “plant based”, so make sure you check ingredients, even if your laundry detergent or soap was purchased at a health food store.

22. Talc – Used in cosmetics, baby powders, and foot preparations, often as a dry lubricant.
• Talc is a known carcinogen.  Research has shown that use of talc in the genital areas in women leads to a 60% greater risk of ovarian cancer.  ** No wonder they stopped using it as baby powder!

23. Toluene  – Used in nail polish and nail polish remover.
• Potential carcinogen and endocrine disrupter which may cause liver and respiratory damage, as well as potential birth defects.


Toxic Ingredients To Avoid







Click HERE for a printable quick reference card you can carry with you when shopping.


Share this list with your friends on facebook and twitter!  People need to know what to be aware of, and which products to check.  Especially for kids, who have delicate developing systems.



  1. […] Alcohol based hand sanitizers and 60% alcohol.  That’s 120 proof!!  The fragrance can be appealing to little ones who frequently put their hands in their mouths and love to test things!  Inactive ingredients in alcohol rubs typically include polyacrylic acid, glycerin, and/or propylene glycol. […]

  2. […] Even safe organic makeup is at risk of being contaminated with lead, chromium and cadmium.  Watch the video to find out who to tell if safe makeup, that doesn’t contain parabens or other toxins, is truly safe.  And I forgot to mention Bentonite Clay makeup in the video.  Bentonite clay is safe, but is dropped from planes to put out fires because it suffocates them.  Bentonite clay in makeup prevents skin from breathing, and that leads to premature aging.. so check your safe makeup and make sure it isn’t made with bentonite clay. You can get Timeless Minerals SiselSafe® Makeup HERE  And don’t forget to check out the lip plumper on the anti aging page.. it’s AWESOME!! As mentioned in the video, I’ve compiled a list of 23 Toxic Ingredients To Avoid.  Get the detailed list and printable reference card HERE […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *