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Tetrasodium EDTA, the Preservative Made from Formaldehyde

EDTA in personal care products

If you knew your personal care products had preservatives made from carcinogens, would you want to use them?

We didn’t think so. Yet one ingredient made from a potential carcinogen is found in many personal care products, and is reported by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review to be safe.

It’s tetrasodium ETDA, made from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde—a known carcinogen according to the National Cancer Institute—and sodium cyanide (which is made from the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide).

It gets worse. This ingredient is also a penetration enhancer. That means it breaks down the skin’s protective barrier, making it easier for other potentially harmful ingredients in the formula to sink deeper into your tissues and perhaps even into your bloodstream.

Some of your creams may contain a preservative made from formaldehyde—you deserve better.

What is Tetrasodium EDTA?

Tetrasodium ETDA (which stands for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a water-soluble ingredient used as a “chelator,” which means it binds to certain mineral ions to inactivate them. Through this action, it can prevent the deterioration of cosmetic and personal care products, as it stops the growth of mold and other microorganisms. Tetrasodium EDTA also helps maintain clarity, protect fragrance compounds, and prevent rancidity. One of its main uses it to help personal care products work better in hard water.

Laboratory technicians use the three ingredients mentioned above to synthesize EDTA, and then tetrasodium EDTA is derived from that. You’ll find it in moisturizers, skin care and cleansing products, personal cleanliness products, bath soaps, shampoos and conditioners, hair dyes, hair bleaches, and many other products. It’s also cleared for use in packaged foods, vitamins, and baby food.

Is it safe?

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that disodium ETDA and related ingredients (including tetrasodium EDTA) were safe as used in cosmetic ingredients and personal care products. The panel also said the ingredient was not well absorbed in the skin. They did note, however, that since the ingredients are penetration enhancers, formulators should be careful when combining these preservatives with other ingredients that may be hazardous if absorbed.

The Cosmetic Safety Database rates the hazard of the ingredient at a low “2,” with a low overall health hazard, and EDTA has not been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

In addition to the formaldehyde thing, however—which makes me uncomfortable—this ingredient may also contain dangerous levels of dioxane, a by-product of manufacturing that is also carcinogenic. There have been some case reports of sensitive individuals developing eczema after using cream with tetrasodium EDTA, and it’s known to be a potent eye irritant. It can also be slow to degrade, making it a poor choice for environmental health.

Why take the risk?

This is another one of those synthetic preservatives that just doesn’t feel good. We don’t have established scientific data on whether long-term use may hurt us, but just looking at the sources, is this really something we want to be putting on our skin?

We have other alternatives we can use, like coconut and castor oils for lather, and orange and cedar wood essential oils for natural preservatives, just to name a few. I would much rather nourish my skin with natural ingredients I know to be safe, rather than take a risk with something chemical, harsh, and potentially harmful—particularly when I have a little one running around the house who may be even more sensitive!

To avoid this ingredient, watch for these on the label:

  • Edetate sodium
  • Tetrasodium edetate
  • Tetrasodium salt
  • TEA-EDTA

Do you avoid this ingredient in your products? Have you experienced sensitivity to it?

Read more about the “7 exclusions your wellness products must have“.

Source: https://www.annmariegianni.com

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Parabens and their byproducts found in dolphins and other marine mammals

Parabens and their byproducts found in dolphins and other marine mammals

The common cosmetic and drug preservatives known as parabens are in thousands of products — and, at low levels, in the vast majority of Americans. But recent studies have shown that the compounds might have unwanted health effects. Now scientists report for the first time that the antimicrobials are also showing up in the tissues of marine mammals, including dolphins, sea otters and polar bears. Their results appear in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Manufacturers have been adding parabens to some lotions, makeup, foods and pharmaceuticals since the 1950s. They prevent bacterial growth and extend products’ shelf-lives. But research has shown that parabens and their byproducts can act like estrogen in animals. Although the potential effects on humans aren’t clear, an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most people whom they tested had detectable levels of parabens in their urine. And humans aren’t the only ones getting exposed. As products containing these preservatives wash into the sewage system, they can be released into the environment. Kurunthachalam Kannan and colleagues wanted to find out whether marine animals were accumulating parabens in their bodies, too.

The researchers analyzed 121 tissue samples from eight species of marine mammals from the coastal waters of Florida, California, Washington and Alaska. They detected methyl paraben in many of the samples. A metabolite of methyl paraben called 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (4-HB) was in every sample. The levels ranged from trace amounts of methyl paraben in polar bears to tens of thousands of nanograms of 4-HB per gram of tissue in some dolphins and sea otters. The metabolite also occurs naturally in plants, but the scientists say the positive correlation between methyl paraben and 4-HB in samples suggests they come from synthetic sources. They add that further research is needed to determine what potential health risks these substances might pose to marine animals.

Source: ACS News Service

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Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours.

Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours

Parabens are used as preservatives in many thousands of cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical products to which the human population is exposed. Although recent reports of the oestrogenic properties of parabens have challenged current concepts of their toxicity in these consumer products, the question remains as to whether any of the parabens can accumulate intact in the body from the long-term, low-dose levels to which humans are exposed. Initial studies reported here show that parabens can be extracted from human breast tissue and detected by thin-layer chromatography. More detailed studies enabled identification and measurement of mean concentrations of individual parabens in samples of 20 human breast tumours by high-pressure liquid chromatography followed by tandem mass spectrometry. The mean concentration of parabens in these 20 human breast tumours was found to be 20.6 +/- 4.2 ng x g(-1) tissue. Comparison of individual parabens showed that methylparaben was present at the highest level (with a mean value of 12.8 +/- 2.2 ng x g(-1) tissue) and represents 62% of the total paraben recovered in the extractions. These studies demonstrate that parabens can be found intact in the human breast and this should open the way technically for more detailed information to be obtained on body burdens of parabens and in particular whether body burdens are different in cancer from those in normal tissues.

Read more about 7 exclusions your wellness products must have

Copyright 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14745841