Medicine cabinet

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Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet
Sophie says there are toxins in many everyday products, especially items in your bathroom's medicine cabinet and cupboards. She says you should go through all your bathroom products and look at the ingredients. If any of the following "red alert" chemicals are listed, Sophie says you should throw that product away.

  • Coal Tar: This is a known carcinogen that Sophie says is generally used in anti-itch creams and dandruff shampoos.
  • Fragrance: "Under the term 'fragrance,' there can be hundreds of chemicals, and many of these chemicals can be neurotoxins," she says. Some of these chemicals, such as phthalates, can cause reproductive or developmental harm, Sophie says.
  • Hydroquinone: An allergenic and neurotoxin, Sophie says hydroquinone is easy to weed out because it is generally found in skin lighteners.
  • Aluminum: Listed as carcinogenic, toxic and mutagenic, Sophie says there is a lot of aluminum in cosmetics, particularly in eyeshadow.
  • Triclosan: "This is something that is found in almost all antibacterial products and most often found in hand-washing and dishwashing soaps," she says. This chemical is often contaminated with dioxins and can cause many health problems, including birth defects, Sophie says.
  • P-Phenylenediamine: Found mostly in in hair dyes, Sophie says this chemical can damage your nerve system, lung irritation and severe allergic reactions.
  • Lead and Mercury: Lead is added to lipsticks, men's hair dye and other cosmetics. Mercury is often used as a cosmetic preservative called thimerosol. Both lead and mercury can be extremely toxic, Sophie says.


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