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Ingredients TOK Avoids:


-          Synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers, among other cosmetics.

-          Possible carcinogen (International Agents for Research on Cancer)

-          Long-term exposure can cause damage to liver, thyroid, and kidney.

-          Not restricted for use in cosmetics in Canada, although Health Canada has categorized BHA as a “high human health priority” on the basis of carcinogenicity and BHT as a “moderate human health priority”. Both chemicals have been flagged for review in the future.

-           The EU prohibits the use the BHA and the State of California requires warning labels on products containing BHA, notifying people that it may cause cancer.


-          Known human carcinogen (International Agency for Research on Cancer)

-          Most of this research has been found from inhalation.

-          It is a restricted ingredient in cosmetics in Canada – cannot be more than 0.2 percent

-          The EU states that it has to be identified on the packaging “contains formaldehyde”


-          Parabens are the most widely use preservative in cosmetics. 75-90% of cosmetics contain parabens.

-          They easily penetrate the skin and can interfere with hormone function.

-          They can minim estrogen, the primary female sex hormone.

-          In one study, parabens were found in human breast cancer tissues.

-          Studies also indicate that methylparabens applied on the skin react with UVB leading to increase skin aging and DNA damage.

-          There are no restrictions on the use of parabens in cosmetics in Canada

-          The EU restricts the concentration of parabens in cosmetics.

-          Methylparaben, butylparaben and propyl paraben are some of the most common parabens in cosmetics. Other chemicals in this class generally have “paraben” in their names (e.g., isobutyl paraben, ethyl paraben, etc.). 


-          Usually means a mix of dozens of chemicals

-          Used in nearly every type of personal care product

-          Many are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms.

-          Some fragrance ingredients – diethyl phthalate (DEP), is widely used in cosmetics. It is known to interfere with hormone function. Phthlates have been linked to reduced sperm count in men and reproductive defects in the developing male fetus.

-          As well, Health Canada notes evidence suggesting that exposure to phthalates may cause liver and kidney failure in young children when products containing phthalates are sucked or chewed for extended periods

-          Fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets so manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients

-          In Canada, the use of DEP is unrestricted.

-          The EU restricts many fragrance ingredients, and requires warning labels on products.


Sodium Laurel Sulfate:

-          Is used in cosmetics as a cleaning agent and also to make products bubble and foam.

-          Common in shampoos, shower gels, and facial cleansers.

-          Possible human carcinogen

-          Doesn’t easily degrade, and can remain in the environment after it is rinsed down the drain

-          There are no restrictions on the use of SLS in cosmetics in Canada

-          Health Canada has categorized SLS as a “moderate human healthy priority”

Sources: Health Canada, International Agents for Research on Cancer, David Suzuki,