A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Glycol Ethers

  • A common solvent in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics, glycol ethers are known to shrink the testicles of rats exposed to it.
  • Linked to the damage of fertility of unborn children, as well as reported cases of asthma and allergy in children exposed to it from the paint that coats their bedroom walls.
  • Case studies conducted on painters have linked exposure of certain glycol ethers to blood abnormalities and lower sperm counts.
  • Found in:
    • Paints, household cleaners, cosmetics, perfumes
  • Read the label for:
    • 2-butoxyethanol, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether
  • Problems associated with it:
    • Impaired fertility, reproductive and developmental toxicity, possible human carcinogen

A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Parabens

  • An artificial preservative used in personal care products,
  • Parabens are the reason sunscreens, deodorants, shampoos and conditioners do not ‘spoil’.
  • Research has shown that it takes 26 seconds for our skin to absorb parabens into our bloodstream.
  • Pregnant women and young children are most vulnerable to this family of synthetics.
  • Problems associated with it:
    • Breast cancer, endocrine disrupter, allergies
  • Read the label for:
    • Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben

A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Formaldehyde / Formaldehyde releasers

  • Some cosmetics chemicals are designed to react with water in the bottle to generate a little formaldehyde, a preservative, to keep the product from growing mould and bacteria.
  • But formaldehyde is a potent allergen which the World Health Organization consider carcinogenic.
  • Formaldehyde releasers include DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15.
  • A 2010 study found that nearly one fifth of cosmetic products contained a formaldehyde releaser. Johnson & Johnson, a personal care products giant, is phasing out formaldehyde releasers under pressure from health advocates
  • Where do you find them?
    • Shampoos, conditioners, bubble bath and other personal care products.
    • Even those intended for children.

A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Ethanolamine – MEA/DEA/TEA

  • These are pH-stabilizers and are used as emulsifiers and preservatives, in a host of personal care and household cleaning products.
  • They have the ability to interact with nitrates in some products or the raw materials in products to form easily carcinogenic nitrosomes which are easily absorbed
  • Found in:
    • All-purpose household cleaning products, spot removes and metal polishes, make-up and personal care products
  • Read the label for:
    • Mono-, di-, and tri-ethanolamine, DEA, TEA, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, linoleamide MEA, myristamide DEA, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate
  • Problems associated with it:
    • Carcinogenic, neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity, eye and skin irritation.

A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Ammonia, Ammonium compounds

Ammonia & Ammonium compounds

  • Used in a wide range of household cleaning products like window cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet cleaners, bathroom cleaners, multi-surface cleaners, glass cleaners, and stainless-steel cleaners, it is an inexpensive and effective cleaning chemical.
  • It gives a sparkling, streak-free finish, removes soap scum and fungus and can disinfect household appliances while removing dirt and stains.
  • However, mild exposure to ammonia and its compounds may irritate and corrode the lungs, nose, mouth and eyes.
  • Repeated or prolonged exposure to vapours may cause bronchitis and pneumonia.

A – Z of Toxicity in our home – Coal Tar Dyes

  • These are complex chemicals created during the incomplete combustion of coal.
  • They contain known carcinogens, such as toluene, benzene, naphthalene, anthracna and xylene that affect everybody from the elderly to babies.
  • It is also a known skin irritant. Coal tar dyes are used in products to make darker shades.
  • Found in: Dark hair dyes, shampoos and scalp treatments, soaps, lotions, eyeliner, mascara.
  • Read the label for: “Coal tar solution, tar, coal, carbo-cort, coal tar solution, coal tar solution USP, crude coal tar, estar, impervotar, KC 261, lavatar, picis carbonis, naphtha, high solvent naphtha, naphtha distillate, benzin B70, petroleum benzin [3,4]”

Toxins in your home

The kitchen should be the heart of our home – and yet it’s slowly killing us and the family we cook and care for.



Ammonia & Ammonium compounds
Coal Tar Dyes
Ethanolamine – MEA/DEA/TEA
Formaldehyde / Formaldehyde releasers
Glycol Ethers
Hydrochloric Acid
Lead acetate in hair dye
PEG compounds
Petroleum Distillates
Polyethylene Compounds
Retinyl palmitate & retinoic acid
Sodium Hydroxide
Sodium Hypochlorite