Posts tagged chemicals

Word of the Day – Confused?

So confused


Before we moved into our house, I did a vast amount of shopping, stocking up from October last year on toilettries etc.  I did the stock piling to ensure that when we not run out of essentials while in a state of unpacked chaos.

This means that I have unfortunately a stock pile of very unfriendly chemicals in my linen cupboard, which slowly we are using and replacing with homemade, natural alternatives.  A few nights ago, my hubby, Mark asked for a new soap, which I fetched from the bottom of the linen cupboard.

Well known SA soap brand with germ fighting things and classed as “gental” is what I gave him before reading the lable.  I had never heard of the first ingrediant, let alone many of the rest.  Here is the list of ingrediants. 

A few we should all have heard about at some stage, but many were a bit confusing.  Those that have already been word of the days will not be duplicated, the others, I’ll be researching over the next few days:

  1. Sodium tallowate
  2. Sodium plamate
  3. Aqua
  4. Solium palm kernelate
  5. Glycerin
  6. Tricholracarbanilide
  7. Parfum
  8. Tetrasodium EDTA
  9. Etidronic acid
  10. Titanium dioxide
  11. Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate
  12. Hexyl cinnamal
  13. Benzyl salicylate
  14. Limonene
  15. Amyl cinnamal
  16. CI 74160

What a mouth full!  The 100g bar needs more printing for the ingrediants list then for the anufacturers contact details, weight, bar code and logo.  The one good thing I did find on the packaging was a small logo with detailing a charity that the manufacter supports.

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Word of the Day – Propylparaben

Propylparaben, the propyl ester of p-hydroxybenzoic acid, occurs as a natural substance found in many plants and some insects, although it is manufactured synthetically for use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and foods. It is a preservative typically found in many water-based cosmetics, such as creams, lotions, shampoos and bath products.

Other names
propyl paraben;
propyl p-hydroxybenzoate;
propyl parahydroxybenzoate;
E number E216

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties.

They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.

Their efficacy as preservatives, in combination with their low cost, their long history of safe use and the inefficacy of natural alternatives like grapefruit seed extract (GSE), probably explains why parabens are so commonplace. They are becoming increasingly controversial, however, and some organizations which adhere to the precautionary principle object to their everyday use.


Cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and foods can all spoil if they do not contain a preservative. Consequently, propylparaben has become the preservative of choice, especially for cosmetics that are water-based – like moisturizers, shampoos, shower cleansers, conditioners, and sunscreens. It is even used in lipsticks, foundations, mascaras, and eye shadows – sometimes at levels approaching 25%. On its own, there are recommendations for how much propylparaben should be found in a particular product.

The problem arises when a product contains multiple parabens – such as propylparaben and methylparaben – then, there are not any recommendations for an individual user.

In the pharmaceutical industry, propylparaben is a common preservative for certain drugs. As a result, it is administered to humans in several ways: injections, orally, or through suppositories. However, it is almost always in concentrations of less than 1%.

The dangers of propylparaben are yet to be specifically identified. However, studies have been conducted that have created fear in some consumers. For example, a group of British researchers tested breast lump tissue samples that were taken from women who had cancerous breast tumors. The researchers found traces of parabens in the lumps of all 20 women. This has caused some people to wonder whether the parabens caused the cancer.

Other examples that cause concern include a September 2008 study of 20 girls between the ages of 14 and 19. The girls used multiple cosmetics products every day – from moisturizers to deodorants to make-up. In that study, propylparaben was found in every girl. The fear is that parabens mimic estrogen in the body and thereby increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Yet, there is no evidence that parabens cause cancer and further research must be conducted.

Since there is increased awareness and concern, some cosmetics manufacturers, specifically those that are organic in nature, are looking for ways to prevent their products from spoiling or for inhibiting microbial growth.

Shorter shelf lives and new formulas are all being explored by some manufacturers, as well. Until more research is conducted, the safest bet is to limit the amount of parabens that is absorbed into the body.


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