Summer is coming; ladies get ready to color their toes to show off in their beautiful sandals in this hot season. Have you ever thought what these colorful nail polishes can do to your health?
Based on the medical research, the chemicals called xenohormones in this petroleum based nail polishes are considered as environmental estrogens. They act as foreign estrogens and compete with the natural estrogens in our body for the same receptors, and they have estrogen-like activities. These compounds disrupt the normal balance of hormones, which is particularly relevant to hormone-related cancers and reproductive health.
Today many women are suffering from estrogen dominance syndrome and hormone imbalance, such as mood swings, food cravings and sugar cravings, weight gain and prolonged menstruations. We may wonder how this vicious cycle started. Estrogen dominance is a condition in which the body has a higher level of estrogen than progesterone. There are many possible causes of estrogen dominance, and one of them is exposure to xenohormones found in petroleum-based products such as plastics (including disposable water bottles), shampoo, paint, gasoline, and even perfumes.
The term petroleum, in a broad sense, covers both naturally occurring crude oil and products made from refined crude oil. Also commonly referred as oil, this natural resource is heavily used in a wide range of applications such as transportation and heating system for both residential and commercial activities. Many of petroleum-based products are hidden in a plain sight. Based on a nationwide research conducted by InsightExpress for Telles in April 2007, more than 70% of Americans do not know or realize that plastic is actually petroleum-based. Some of us may find it surprising that a large variety of everyday household items are made of the same materials.
What are the sources of xenohormones? Here is a short list of petroleum-based products that we are using on a daily basis:
– Cosmetics – Wax paper
– Tires – Vaseline
– Paint – Synthetic fabrics
– Plastics – fingernail polish
– Nylons – Cleaning products
– Paper cups – Soaps
– Candles – Ink
Regardless of how useful they are to help us with our day-to-day routines, continuous exposure to petroleum-based products brings alarming risks. Breathing petroleum vapors (such as from burning candles) can cause respiratory irritation and nervous system disturbances with common symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and headache.
Due to the large variety of petroleum-based products, their toxic substances that cause diseases are not only airborne in a form of vapor, but also in liquid forms. For example, mineral oil is a distillate of petroleum. One of the most common applications of mineral oil is in cosmetic products including ointments and baby lotions. Chronic exposure to these products may affect the nervous system, blood, and kidneys. Affected animals exposed to high levels of some petroleum products can develop liver and kidney tumors. If the air in your house is contaminated by the petroleum based painting to the point where strong odors are present, it is suggested that you should relocate until the residence is completely cleaned. The same rule applies to office buildings and other establishments.
Petroleum-based products are considered dangerous because of the following reasons:
1. Petroleum-based Products Cannot Be Broken Down In The Digestive System
Products that use mineral oil as one of the ingredients can be serious contaminants. These ingredients come in different grades; those used in cosmetic are generally considered in their purest grade or most refined. There are two potential risks with petroleum-based cosmetics:
• Comedogenic: petroleum-based cosmetics tend to clog pores and cause acne problems. A report published in 2005 Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology claimed that the mineral oil commonly used in skincare and cosmetic is highly refined. However, because the mineral oil is directly applied to the skin, chances for the toxic substances to be absorbed by the body are very high.
• Hydrocarbon: consisting of carbon and hydrogen, this organic compound naturally occurs in the crude oil (petroleum). A report of 2011 study published in Journal of Women’s Health suggested that approximately 1 gram of hydrocarbon exists in every person. The report also stated that hydrocarbon is the greatest contaminant of the human body. Cosmetics are relevant sources of those toxic substances. Because they are impossible to digest, the amount accumulates over time and toxicity increases.
2. Petroleum Might Be Carcinogenic
At least two dozens of cosmetic impurities have been recognized and linked to serious health concerns including cancer. According to EWG (Environmental Working Group) research published in February 2007, almost 80% of all beauty products in the market were contaminated. FDA stated that some carcinogenic cosmetic impurities can be rapidly absorbed through the skin. One of the most dangerous contaminants is 1,4-dioxane, a possible carcinogen for human and animals. The assessment was based on an analysis of ingredients used in 15,000 cosmetic and personal care products. It was found that 22% of all products might be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane.
Percentage of products found contaminated with the carcinogen:
|57% of all baby soaps||35% of all anti-aging products|
|34% of all body lotions||66% of all hair removers|
|97% of all hair relaxers||45% of sunless tanning products|
|36% of all hormonal creams||33% of all around eye creams|
|36% of all facial moisturizers||82% of all hair dyes and bleaching|
|43% of all body firming lotions|
Most contaminants found in petroleum-based products or ingredients are often able to penetrate the skin because that is how they work. Ironically they are marketed and popular for their abilities to penetrate the skin indeed.
3. Petroleum Prevents Nutrients From Being Absorbed Properly
Comedogenic is a problem because it blocks your skin pores. When petroleum-based cosmetics are applied directly to the skin, they create a thin invisible barrier. To some extent, comedogenic prevents your skin from absorbing more beneficial nutrients contained in the product as well. Some moisturizer products are believed to lock-in moisture. In reality, they simply create a barrier to prevent the skin from making contacts with the air that makes the skin dry. Of course, it is possible that your skin is protected from natural elements including debris and dirt, but the product’s comedogenicity also disrupts your body’s ability to secrete sweat for thermo-regulation.
4. Petroleum Contaminates Our Food And Drinks
If you place a plastic bottle filled with water under the sun for two days, the water tastes like plastic. Why? Simply because the plastic chemicals dissolve in the water and they create this very unpleasant smell in your mouth. The same thing happens if you cook your food in a plastic container in a microwave, the chemicals can be released from the container and penetrate to your food, so you are likely eating and drinking petroleum without knowing it.
Even you go straight to organic food; it’s hard to find food that hasn’t been contaminated by petroleum to some degree. Petroleum byproducts are used in many synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. They are widely used in food preservatives, flavorings, and colorings. Petroleum products help the agriculture industry produce more food, cultivate it faster, and keep it fresh for longer. But they also pollute our environment at the same time. Believe it or not, petroleum-based ingredients are also “incidentally” found in your chewing gum. This is difficult to swallow, isn’t it?
How to let the food be the medicine to boost your immunity? Read these super-charged anti-aging foods.
This is just one side of the story that how we overuse our natural resources and take it for granted. When we take the advantage of our environment without care, we become the victims of the damages we have created. Based on recently published Annals of Internal Medicine, the climate change has posed a high risk to human health, including more respiratory and heat-related illness, vector-borne diseases, malnutrition, and behavioral health problems. In fact, 2015 has been the hottest year on record. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that by the end of this century, global average temperatures could increase by another 2.6°C to 4.8°C (4.7°F – 8.6°F). Imagine what would happen by then?
Our planet has been on a red alarm for quite a while, what can we do to improve our environment and protect our health?
If everyone can be environmentally conscious, start from small things to protect our environment and love our mother earth, we will create a clean and healthy environment not only for ourselves but also for many generations to come!
What are your suggestions and ideas to create a better world to live? Please share with us, together we can make a difference.
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- Retrieved from http://www.nnewh.org/images/upload/attach/2502NNEWH%20Lit%20Review%20-%20Chem%20Exp%20and%20Plastics%20Production.pdf on April 20, 2016
- Retrieved from http://www.ag.ny.gov/environmental/oil-spill/what-are-health-effects-exposure-petroleum-products on April 21, 2016
- Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/2007/02/04/impurities-of-concern-in-personal-care-products/ on April 21, 2016
- Retrieved from http://www.ewg.org/news/news-releases/2007/02/08/ewg-research-shows-22-percent-all-cosmetics-may-be-contaminated-cancer on April 21, 2016
- Retrieved from http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2513976 on April 21, 2016
- Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/ on April 21, 2016
“Walk as you are kissing the mother earth with your feet.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh