an ounce of prevention = a pound of cure.


cancer
. one little word comprised of six innocuous letters, yet it has the power to strike fear into the heart of anyone who dares utter its name. that’s because as of right now, [one out of every eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime,] and about 40,000 of those women will lose their lives. pretty scary.

there is some good news though: less than 10% of all breast cancer cases are genetic. the remaining 90% appear to be triggered by environmental factors, which means that armed with a little knowledge, you can avoid some of the worst offenders and therefore reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.


and where are some of the worst offenders lurking? in your bathroom cabinet, unfortunately. but we like to help a sista out, which is why we’ve compiled a list of chemicals to avoid like the plague. so the next time you’re out shopping for your beauty booty, make sure you check out the ingredients before you buy.


repeat after me: if it’s on the list, you must resist.


[parabens]

what they are:
chemicals that serve as preservatives in antiperspirants + many cosmetics, as well as sun lotions
why you should avoid them:
studies have shown that all parabens have estrogenic activity in human breast cancer cells, which basically means that they feed the cancer. research published in 2012 found parabens in 99% of the 160 tissue samples collected from 40 mastectomies, which creates a pretty strong link between these chemicals + breast cancer.
where they hide:
in a wide variety of personal care products + cosmetics, such as antiperspirants, make-up removers, shampoo, shaving gel, toothpaste, creams, lotions + ointments.
how to avoid them:
check labels for any derivative of parabens in the ingredients (examples: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben).

[aluminum]

what it is:
a common ingredient in antiperspirant deodorant that forms a temporary plug within the sweat duct
why you should avoid it:
it prevents sweat from being released to the skin’s surface, forcing toxins back into the bloodstream + is often linked to breast cancer, as some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds - which are applied frequently near the breast - may be absorbed by the skin + mimic estrogen, encouraging the growth of breast cancer cells. in one recent study, researchers determined that the average level of aluminum in breast tissue fluid was significantly higher in women with breast cancer than in healthy women.
where it hides:
antiperspirant deodorants
how to avoid it:
check labels for aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly - unfortunately, you’ll find it in most name-brand antiperspirants available at the drugstore.   


[phthalates]

what they are:
toxic chemicals used to make plastics soft, often added to cosmetics + beauty + bath products as a lubricant
why you should avoid them:
they can bind to estrogen receptors + induce estrogenic cellular responses (no bueno for breast cancer prevention). they mimic + disrupt hormones, triggering a whole host of problems. in one recent study, monoethyl phthalate, a urinary metabolite of the parent compound diethyl phthalate (often used in fragrance), was elevated in women with breast cancer.
where they hide:
nail polish, perfumes, lotions, hairspray, body wash, shampoo + conditioner, cosmetics, detergents, basically anything containing synthetic fragrance
how to avoid them:
phthalates are very rarely listed on ingredient labels, so look for products labeled phthalate-free + avoid products containing parfum or fragrance (code for phthalates). choose a cloth or nylon shower curtain. if your products are in a plastic bottle, check the bottom for the recycling code (1, 2 or 5 + you’re good).


[fragrance]

what it is:
chemicals added for the sole purpose of making products smell better
why you should avoid it:
it can be comprised of hundreds of chemicals—including hormone-disrupting phthalates, as we’ve just discussed, as well as synthetic musk, which has been shown to cause the proliferation of one type of estrogen receptor cell which can then set off a chain-reaction resulting in a malignant tumor in the breasts. and because fragrance manufacturers claim the formulas are confidential proprietary information, they aren’t required by law to disclose the ingredients, so even the companies that use and sell their products don’t usually know what’s in them.
where it hides:
hair care products, deodorant, cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, body wash, anything containing synthetic fragrance
how to avoid it:
only use products that are unscented or contain natural fragrances such as essential oils


[acrylamide]

what it is:
used in cosmetics to stabilize + thicken products + bind ingredients
why you should avoid it:
it’s a known carcinogen. one study found that higher levels of acrylamide in the bloodstream was associated with a higher risk of breast cancer + a higher risk of deadly breast cancer.
where it hides:
hair dyes, CC and anti-aging creams, shampoos, lotions, moisturizers, body wash, facial cleansers
how to avoid it:
check labels for polyacrylamide, polyacrylic acid, polyquaternium, 2propenamide, acrylic amide, ethylenecarboxamide, propenamide or propenoic acid amide - all aliases for acrylamide.


[volatile organic compounds (aka VOCs)]

what they are:
hazardous chemicals that are released into the air from a number of solid + liquid products
why you should avoid them:
they’re toxic, even just upon inhalation + are being linked to breast cancer. in a recent groundbreaking study, VOCs in the breath were found to be elevated in women with breast cancer.
where they hide:
nail polish, nail polish remover, colognes, perfumes, rubbing alcohol, hair spray
how to avoid them:
check labels for acetone, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, methacrylates (methyl or ethyl) + ethyl acetate - all emit VOCs. unless otherwise specified, most conventional nail-polish brands will contain VOC-emitting chemicals.


[1,3-butadiene]

what it is:
produced by the refining of a chemical called isobutane, which is derived from petroleum + natural gas, often used as an aerosol propellant
why you should avoid them:
this chemical has been reported to increase mammary tumors in lab animals. we even pulled this little nugget of info straight from DOW Chemical’s website, the manufacturer of this chemical: NOTICE: Butane, butylenes, butadiene or crude butadiene products may not be suitable for use in cosmetics. Butadiene is listed as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and other agencies. Repeated excessive exposures may affect the kidneys, liver, respiratory tract, ovaries, and testes. yet it’s permitted by law in this country to be added to our cosmetics + other bathroom essentials.
where it hides:
shaving creams, spray sunscreens, foundations, anti-fungal treatments
how to avoid it:
check labels for 1,1-dimethylethane, 2-methyl-propane, 2-methylpropane, propane, trimethylethane - all can emit 1,3-butadiene


[polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (aka PAHs)]

what they are:
a group of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil + gasoline, often used as a lubricant or moisturizer in make-up + lotions
why you should avoid them:
multiple studies have linked breast cancer incidence with PAH exposure.
where they hide:
baby oil, body lotions, shampoo, soap + make-up
how to avoid them:
check labels for mineral oil, petrolatum, petroleum jelly + other petroleum by-products


ummmm, now what??

phew! ok, so now that you’ve cleaned out your entire beauty stash, you’re going to need some replacements. don’t worry, we’ve got ya covered. Think Dirty - this website + corresponding (genius) app empowers consumers by educating us on all the dirty chemical secrets the cosmetics and beauty manufacturers like to keep close to the vest, thereby allowing us to make informed decisions on which products to skip + which products to purchase. simply download the app (bonus: it’s free!) + get the grade on your products one-by-one (we may have had a few freakouts during our very first Dirty session). there are currently more than 379,000 products (+ counting) in their database. but not to worry, they won’t leave you hangin’! they even offer up a list of safer alternatives for each + every product you enter, complete with an amazon link for purchase options.  


by the end of 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to have been diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. fitlosophy is proud to join in the fight against breast cancer, which is why $4 of each fitbook PINK sale is donated to the Avon Foundation. we now know that toxic overexposure plays a major role, with recent studies finally shedding light on some of the top offenders. let’s make good use of this newfound knowledge + clean up our act.

have a favorite natural bath, body or beauty product that works wonders? we want to know! spread the wealth in the comments below, fit fans!



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