Reading Labels – Why is it so important?

Evening everyone. The home office produced a great article that I would like to feature tonight. Enjoy!

Have you ever tried to read the label on a moisturizer or shampoo? If so, you may have felt like you were reading another language. It can be hard to know which ingredients to identify, how to compare products and what it all means. Or perhaps you haven’t thought about label reading before and you have questions.

In these three simple points, we’ll explain why label reading is important, plus provide a little guidance to make the process simpler.

Exposure is a Reality – From personal care products to cleaners and even cosmetics, you are exposed to countless chemicals on a daily basis. These are products you use on a routine basis and may assume they must be safe.

A False Sense of Protection – Government agencies and corporations aren’t the safeguards you might expect. Take for instance the difference between Europe and the U.S. Europe has banned more than 1,300 chemicals from personal care products, while the U.S. only bans 11. Many ingredients that are permitted actually have harmful links to allergens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and even carcinogens. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?

You Have a Choice – The responsibility lies with you to protect yourself and your family. Being an “ingredient detective” can practically be a full-time job. And unfortunately, there are many companies that will try to mislead and misrepresent their products. That’s why it is important to do your research and partner with a reputable company with proven products. PUREhaven ESSENTIALS is a USDA National Organic Program certified manufacturing facility. This designation is extremely strict and demonstrates our commitment to providing safe, effective and trustworthy products you can rely on everyday.

To start educating yourself, just choose one of your most-used products, like a moisturizer or shampoo. Then reference our Ingredients to Avoid guide. Next, find a similar PUREhaven product and you’ll notice the difference in ingredients. Lastly, experience the benefits PUREhaven provides. Make the choice to take the first step toward living a more toxic-free life!

Method Natural Products Class Action Settlement

Good evening.

Back in September of 2016 a gentleman by the name of Wesley Vincent filed a class action lawsuit again Ecover/Method. He claimed E/M violated certain laws regarding the marketing, labeling and advertising of certain Method and Ecover branded products. "Method Products PBC have agreed to establish a $2.8 million settlement fund. They have denied any wrongdoing but agreed to the class action settlement to avoid the burden and expense of ongoing litigation." 

This is the greenwashing plain and simple. Wesley called them out. Great job! They are offering approximately $1 per unit purchased. 

The natural products class action lawsuit takes issue with the defendants use of the following terms in the labeling, marketing and advertising of certain Method and Ecover products: “Natural,” “Naturally Derived,” “hypo-allergenic,” “non-toxic,” “plant-derived,” “plant-based,” “mineral-based,” “bio-based,” and similar statements.

The products covered under the natural products class action settlement include Method and Ecover branded personal care products, dishwashing products, laundry products and other household products.

Click the button if you are eligible to get paid!

Toxic Toothpaste Ingredients You Need to Avoid

Good day. I was perusing through my archives and came across this article on toothpaste. I wanted to emphasize how no product is safe from scrutiny. I know I was once loyal to a brand just because of the marketing hype. 

Your mouth is highly absorbent, so chemicals lurking in your toothpaste get a fast-track into your bloodstream

Triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), artificial sweeteners, fluoride, and diethanolamine (DEA) are examples of toothpaste ingredients that may be toxic

You can make your own natural toothpaste at home – and remember that a healthy diet is key for optimal oral health

You might not think much about the ingredients in your toothpaste compared to the ingredients in your food or even other personal care products, but those pea-sized dollops on your toothbrush twice a day add up.

Over the course of a lifetime, the average American uses about 20 gallons of toothpaste,1 and even if you spit most of it out, some of the chemicals it contains make their way into your bloodstream.

Your mouth is actually one of the most absorbent places in your entire body. This is why some medications are administered sublingually, or under your tongue.

While you’re dutifully brushing and swishing, the ingredients in your toothpaste enter your mouth and gums, which are the gateway to every system in your body.”2

This is why you need to be very careful when choosing toothpaste. Many popular brands contain questionable ingredients that you’re far better off avoiding.

7 Toxic Toothpaste Ingredients

1. Triclosan

The popular toothpaste Colgate Total contains an antibacterial chemical called triclosan, which allows the company to tout it as the “only toothpaste approved by the FDA to help fight plaque and gingivitis.”3

But while triclosan has been shown to help prevent gingivitis, the benefit comes at a steep price. The chemical has been linked to concerns over antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are a serious concern, as they can promote a wide variety of health problems, including breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, precocious puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys.

Some animal studies showed that triclosan caused fetal bone malformations in mice and rats, which may hint at hormonal effects. Further, triclosan may interfere with a type of cell signaling in brain, heart, and other cells, such that researchers noted it “may not be worth potential risks.”4

The chemical has also been linked to cancer, with research finding triclosan may promote breast cancer progression.5 The state of Minnesota has already banned most uses of triclosan, but it’s still widely sold across the US in toothpaste, hand soap, makeup, and more.

Toothpaste appears to be one of the most potent delivery vehicles for the chemical, as research found people who brushed their teeth with Colgate Total had more than five times as much triclosan in their urine as those who did not.6

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Many toothpastes contain surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). Surfactants are chemicals responsible for the foaming action of the toothpaste, but they also interfere with the functioning of your taste buds by breaking up the phospholipids on your tongue.

This enhances bitter tastes and is thought to be the reason why everything tastes so bad right after you’ve brushed your teeth.

Not to mention, SLS has even been linked to skin irritation and painful canker sores, with research suggesting an SLS-free toothpaste should be used for people with recurring sores.7

However, one of the main problems with SLS is that the manufacturing process (ethoxylation) results in it being potentially contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic byproduct.8 The manufacturing process also releases carcinogenic volatile organic compounds into the environment.

SLS is also registered as an insecticide and may have toxic effects to marine life, including fish, insects, and crustaceans.9

The manufacturers actually tried to get approval to market SLS as a pesticide for organic farmers, but the application was denied because of its potential for environmental damage.10

3. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are often added to commercial toothpastes. Aspartame is primarily made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness.

That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol. You may have heard the claim that aspartame is harmless because methanol is also found in fruits and vegetables.

However, in fruits and vegetables, the methanol is firmly bonded to pectin, allowing it to be safely passed through your digestive tract. Not so with the methanol created by aspartame; there it’s not bonded to anything that can help eliminate it from your body.

That’s problem number one.

Problem number two relates to the fact that humans are the only mammals who are NOT equipped with a protective biological mechanism that breaks down methanol into harmless formic acid.

In humans, the methyl alcohol travels through your blood vessels into sensitive areas, such as your brain, where the methanol is converted to formaldehyde. And since there’s no catalase present, the formaldehyde is free to cause enormous damage in your tissues.

Symptoms from methanol poisoning are many, and include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness, and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis.

4. Fluoride

Fluoride has long been heralded as the answer to decaying teeth, but it’s been receiving increasing scrutiny in recent years, and for good reason. A groundbreaking study published in the journal Langmuir11 uncovered that the supposedly beneficial fluorapatite layer formed on your teeth from fluoride is a mere six nanometers thick.

To understand just how thin this is, you’d need 10,000 of these layers to get the width of a strand of your hair! Scientists now question whether this ultra-thin layer can actually protect your enamel and provide any discernible benefit, considering the fact that it is quickly eliminated by simple chewing. They wrote:

”… [I]t has to be asked whether such narrow… layers really can act as protective layers for the enamel.”

In fact, toothpaste that contains the naturally occurring cacao extract theobromine better repaired and re-mineralized exposed dentin (the tissue that makes up the bulk of your teeth below the enamel) than fluoride toothpaste, according to one study.12

Not to mention, fluoride toothpaste is often the largest single source of fluoride intake for young children and is a major risk factor for disfiguring dental fluorosis. This is because children swallow a large amount of the paste that they put in their mouth.

In fact, research has shown that it is not uncommon for young children to swallow more fluoride from toothpaste alone than is recommended as an entire day’s ingestion from all sources.13

Swallowing fluoride, as is the case with fluoridated drinking water, is especially detrimental to your health, as the science clearly demonstrates that fluoride is a toxic chemical that accumulates in your tissues over time, wreaks havoc with enzymes, and produces a number of serious adverse health effects, including neurological and endocrine dysfunction.

Children are particularly at risk for adverse effects of overexposure. If you have a young child, therefore, it’s recommended that you use a non-fluoride toothpaste, although I recommend the same for adults as well.

5. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a type of mineral oil that, in the industrial grade, is used in antifreeze, paints, enamels, and airplane de-icers. The pharmaceutical-grade form is used in many personal care products, including toothpaste, as a surfactant. Research on the safety of propylene glycol in personal care products is lacking, although it’s a known skin, eye, and lung irritant and may cause organ system toxicity.14 This is clearly not a substance you want to be brushing your teeth with.

6. Diethanolamine (DEA)

DEA is found in many foaming products such as toothpaste. It’s a known hormone disrupter and can react with other ingredients to form a potential carcinogen called NDEA (N-nitrosodiethanolamine), which is readily absorbed through the skin and has been linked with cancers of the stomach, esophagus, liver, and bladder.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) ranks DEA as a number 10 in its cosmetics database (the most toxic score) due to high concerns of organ system toxicity, contamination concerns and irritation, along with moderate cancer risk. The California Environmental Protection Agency lists DEA as a possible human carcinogen.15

7. Microbeads

Microbeads are tiny plastic pellets found in body washes, facial scrubs, toothpaste, and more. The microbeads go down your drain, through the filters at most wastewater treatment plants, and out into the environment. Plastic microbeads absorb toxins from the water and are eaten by a wide variety of marine life and, ultimately, by humans as well. There’s good reason to boycott any toothpaste containing microbeads, even aside from the obvious environmental threat. Last year, a Dallas dental hygienist reported finding the microbeads in patients’ teeth.

The bits were found in Crest microbead toothpaste and were getting trapped under patients’ gums. This gives food and bacteria an entrance to your gum line, which could actually cause gum disease.16 Procter & Gamble, which makes Crest, reported they would stop using the microbeads by 2016 as a result. But while it seems the use of microbeads is on its way out, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is lobbying to have microbeads made from biodegradable plastic such as polylactic acid (PLA) remain in personal care products.


Be sure to check out our two flavors of toothpaste at the store tab: peppermint and sweet orange!

Frankincense Oil: The 'King' of Oils

Switching gears tonight and highlighting essential oils. For those of you that aren't privy, essential oils are any class of volatile oils that give plants their characteristic odors and are used for aromatherapy. It is extremely important to use high quality oils when diffusing. Frankincense is one of the myriad of oils we carry. Here's an article featuring the 'king' of oils.

Story at-a-glance
Frankincense oil promotes healthy cell regeneration and keeps existing cells and tissues healthy

It’s useful for skin health, and can help treat dry skin, reverse signs of aging and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars

Frankincense has a significant meaning in Christianity, and is believed to be one of the gifts offered by the three wise men to the newborn Jesus.

Today, this fragrant resin is transformed into an essential oil that’s valued not only in religious practice, but also in aromatherapy and natural health. Read on to learn more about frankincense oil.

What Is Frankincense Oil?

Frankincense, also known as olibanum,1 comes from the Boswellia genustrees, particularly Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteri. The milky white sap is extracted from the tree bark, allowed to harden into a gum resin for several days, and then scraped off in tear-shaped droplets.2

Boswellia trees grow in African and Arabian regions, including Yemen, Oman, Somalia and Ethiopia.3 Oman is the best known and most ancient source of frankincense, where it’s been traded and shipped to other places like the Mediterranean, India, and China for thousands of years.4

The highest-quality frankincense is clear and silvery, but with a slight green tinge. Brown-yellow varieties are the cheapest and most readily available. In Oman, the best frankincense is usually reserved for the sultan and is rarely shipped out of the country.5

Frankincense is traditionally burned as incense, and was charred and ground into a powder to produce the heavy kohl eyeliner used by Egyptian women. Today, this resin is steam-distilled to produce an aromatic essential oil with many benefits.

Frankincense oil has a woody, earthy, spicy and slightly fruity aroma, which is calming and relaxing. It’s said to be sweeter, fresher and cleaner than frankincense resin.6

Uses of Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil has long been revered in the Middle East, where it’s been used in religious ceremonies as an anointing oil for thousands of years. It is also a popular ingredient in cosmetics, and has even been found in the remains of Anglo-Saxons and ancient Egyptians.7

I believe that frankincense oil is one of the top essential oils you can use for your health. It’s known for its comforting properties, and is useful for visualizing, improving one’s spiritual connection and helping overcome stress and despair.8

In aromatherapy, frankincense oil is either inhaled or diffused via a vaporizer — a sedative that has been known to help induce a feeling of mental peace, relaxation and satisfaction, and helps relieve anxiety, anger and stress.9

Frankincense oil may also help in healthy cell regeneration and keep existing cells and tissues healthy. It’s useful for skin health, and can help treat dry skin, reverse signs of aging and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars.10 Frankincense oil’s astringent properties help:11

Strengthen gums and hair roots
Stop wounds from bleeding
Speed up the healing of cuts, acne, insect bites and boils
Composition of Frankincense Oil

The main components of frankincense oil are ketonic alcohol (olibanol), resinous matters (30 to 60 percent) and terpenes such as a-and p-pinene, camphene, dipentene and phellandrene.12 It also contains alpha pinene, actanol, bornyl acetate, linalool, octyl acetate, incensole and incensyl acetate.13

The monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are the most valuable elements of frankincense oil.

According to the book, “Reference Guide for Essential Oils,” by Connie and Alan Higley, monoterpenes help prevent and discharge toxins from your liver and kidneys, and have antiseptic, antibacterial, stimulating, analgesic (weak) and expectorant properties.14

Meanwhile, sesquiterpenes can go beyond the blood-brain barrier and help simulate the limbic system of your brain, as well as your hypothalamus, and pineal and pituitary glands.15

Benefits of Frankincense Oil

The health benefits of frankincense oil are mostly attributed to its anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic, disinfectant, digestive, diuretic and expectorant properties. It also has cicatrisant, carminative, cytophylactic, emenagogue, uterine and vulnerary effects.

Frankincense oil is considered a tonic, as it benefits all the systems operating in the body, including the digestive, respiratory, nervous and excretory systems. It also aids the absorption of nutrients and strengthens your immune system.16 Frankincense oil has been found useful for certain health conditions, such as:

• Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) — Research by Cardiff University scientists found that frankincense can aid in inhibiting the production of key inflammatory molecules, helping prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue that causes these conditions.17

In addition, Indian frankincense or boswellin, also a member of the Boswellia genus, has been found to significantly reduce inflammation in animal studies. It is actually one of my personal favorites, as I have seen it work well as a natural painkiller for many of my former rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

• Colds and respiratory disorders — Frankincense oil can help break up phlegm deposits in your respiratory tract and lungs, and can potentially relieve bronchitis-related congestion.18

• Oral health problems — The antiseptic qualities of this oil can help prevent bad breath, cavities, toothaches, mouth sores and other infections.19

• Digestive disorders — Frankincense oil can help speed up the secretion of gastric juices, bile and acids, and help stimulate peristaltic motion to allow food to move properly through your intestines.20

• Uterine health — Frankincense oil regulates estrogen production in women and helps reduce the risk of post-menopause tumor or cyst formation in the uterus (uterine cancer). It also regulates the menstrual cycle of premenopausal women.21

Frankincense is also being studied for its potential to treat cancer. Scientists have observed that there’s an agent in this oil that may help stop cancer from spreading.22

How to Make Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil is made by steam-distilling the raw resin. When buying frankincense oil, make sure that you only choose 100 percent pure essential oil of the highest quality.

Also, do not confuse frankincense essential oil with fragrance oil. Essential oils come from plants, while fragrance oils are usually artificially created and often contain synthetic chemicals. Although they smell good and are typically less expensive, fragrance oils do not give you the therapeutic benefits of organic essential oils.23

How Does Frankincense Oil Work?

The effects and benefits of frankincense oil can be acquired by applying it topically, inhaling it using a diffuser or vaporizer or ingesting it in very small amounts.24 For pain relief, simply massage the oil onto the affected areas. Meanwhile, using a diffuser or inhaler works for treating colds and clearing up respiratory blockages. You can also sprinkle a few drops on a clean cloth and inhale the scent or add it to your bathwater for a rejuvenating soak.25

Frankincense oil can be directly applied to the skin or blended with other carrier oils such as jojoba or sweet almond oil.

Is Frankincense Oil Safe?

Yes, frankincense is generally safe. However, I advise doing a spot test first, to check if you have any sensitivity to this oil. When taking frankincense oil internally, it’s best to dilute a drop in an edible carrier oil (like coconut oil), a teaspoon of honey or a glass of purified water or any non-acidic, non-dairy beverage.26 You can also put a drop or two under your tongue.27 However, ingesting this oil is not recommended for children ages 6 and below. Older children and teens may also require higher dilutions.



Center for Environmental Health Releases Official List Of Shampoos That Cause Cancer

Good evening. Check your showers for any of these shampoos!

It seems like every day that a new study is released showing a correlation between our daily household goods and cancer causing ingredients. The use of carcinogenic ingredients in manufacturing is on the rise, and they are finding their way into our homes in unexpected places.

When you read this story about the latest detection of cancer-causing ingredients in something you use every day, you will have to tell all your friends.

A study on soaps and shampoos conducted by the Center for Environmental Health, based in Oakland, California, discovered that your shampoo could be deadly. In fact, the study concluded that 98 of the included products contained a potential carcinogen called cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA). California listed cocamide DEA as a known carcinogen in 2012 under its Prop 65 law, which requires warning labels on consumer products containing carcinogens or reproductive toxicants.

Michael Green, the executive director of CEH, stated that, “Most people believe that products sold in major stores are tested for safety, but consumers need to know that they could be doused with a cancer-causing chemical every time they shower or shampoo. We expect companies to take swift action to end this unnecessary risk to our children’s and families’ health.”

The dirt on toxic chemicals in household cleaning products

Evening everyone. This next article was one of my "go to" articles until I carried our "did you know" brochure. It's a resource guide of products to avoid!

Canadians spend more than $275 million on household cleaning products in a year. We buy these products to fight germs, streaks, stains and odours to keep our homes sparkling clean. Cleaning is supposed to be about maintaining a healthy home, yet some common household cleaning products contain chemicals that can harm human health and the environment. What a mess.

Acute and chronic effects

You're probably familiar with the hazard symbols that appear on some cleaning products, along with word like "poison", "corrosive" or "irritant."

These hazard symbols warn consumers about acute health hazards associated with a single or short-term exposure to chemicals in the product.

But there is no parallel requirement in Canada for manufacturers to warn consumers about the health and environmental hazards associated with chronic, or long-term, exposure to chemical ingredients in household cleaning products. Most of us are exposed to cleaning products and their residues at low levels on a daily basis.

When we use these chemicals to clean our home, they linger in the air and we breathe them in. Researchers in the U.S. identified 133 unique volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from a small sample of consumer products, including six cleaning products. Each product tested emitted between one and eight chemicals classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws 

Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust and chemical residues left on dishes and cutlery. And when cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they can have a serious impact on aquatic ecosystems. 

There is no regulatory requirement for ingredients to be listed on the label in a consistent format, so it can be hard to identify chemicals of concern. Here's the dirt on some hazards that may be hiding in your cleaning closet:

2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE, also known as butyl cellosolve)

A skin and eye irritant also associated with blood disorders. In laboratory experiments, exposure to high doses of 2-BE has been shown to cause reproductive problems. This chemical is listed as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act on the basis that it is harmful to human health. Health Canada identified indoor air and skin contact with cleaning products as the main pathways of exposure. Regulations limit the concentration of 2-BE in most household cleaners to 5 or 6 per cent, but higher concentrations are permitted in other products, notably and laundry stain removers (up to 22 per cent).

Found inglass cleaners, laundry stain removers, carpet cleaners, automobile cleaners, windshield wiper fluid, degreasers, oven cleaners, and rust removers.


Vapours may irritate the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs. People with asthma may be particularly sensitive to the effects of breathing ammonia. Ammonia may also cause kidney and liver damage. While ammonia also occurs naturally, the use of cleaning products containing this substance can result in higher levels of exposure to vapours than from natural sources. If ammonia is mixed with products containing chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite), highly poisonous chloramine gas is formed. 

Found inwindow cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaners, stainless-steel cleaners, car polish, and all-purpose cleaners.

Coal tar dyes

Derived from petrochemicals, and may be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and lead. There is concern that synthetic dyes may cause cancer and that heavy metals can harm the nervous system and cause other adverse health effects. Dyes in cleaning products can be absorbed through the skin or ingested in the case of soap residue on dishes. They are completely unnecessary to the cleaning function of the product.

Found inmost types of cleaning products.

MEA (monoethanalomine), DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine)

Can react with nitrites to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Nitrites may be present as preservatives or contaminants in other products, or in some water sources. These ethoxylated alcohols may also be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a possible human carcinogen that is persistent in the environment. 1,4-dioxane can be removed during the manufacturing process, but there is no easy way to know if that has occured. DEA is a mild skin and severe eye irritant. MEA is known to induce asthma in workplace settings. 

Found inliquid laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners, floor cleaners, car wash products, degreasers, dishes soap, oven cleaners, and glass and surface cleaners.

Fragrance chemicals

More than 3000 chemicals are used in fragrance mixtures. Many are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms. In addition, synthetic musks used in detergents build up in the environment and can be toxic to aquatic organisms. Certain synthetic musks are also suspected endocrine disrupters that mimic or interfere with the function of hormones. Phthalates are another common fragrance ingredient in products such as laundry detergents, fabric softeners and deodorizers. Glass cleaners and floor polishes have also been found to contain dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Phthalates are suspected endocrine disrupters associated with reproductive effects, including reduced sperm count in men. The European Union classifies DBP as very toxic to aquatic organisms. Under the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, DBP is listed as a Chemical for Priority Action. Air fresheners contain a potpourri of fragrance chemicals, in some cases including cancer-causing benzene and formaldehyde, as well as phthalates and numerous VOCs. See also...

Found inmost types of cleaning products.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs)

Degrade into nonylphenols (NPs), which can mimic the hormone estrogen. In laboratory experiments, NP has been shown to stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells and cause adverse reproductive effects in fish and other aquatic organisms. Several chemicals in this class are listed as toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Environment Canada required companies to develop plans to reduce NPEs in cleaning products (as well as textiles and pulp and paper products) by 95 per cent by the end of 2010, but stopped short of banning these chemicals. As of July 2010, only 63 per cent of manufacturing facilities subject to the planning requirement had met the target, although the use of these chemicals in products has declined significantly.

Found inliquid laundry detergents, stain removers, all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, degreasers, and car wash products.


Function as a fertilizer in water. High concentrations of phosphates in bodies of water can promote harmful algal blooms and increase weed growth. This can cause oxygen levels in the water to decline, potentially killing fish. Excess algal growth a can also plug filtration devices at water treatment facilities and affect the taste and odor of the water, resulting increased costs of water purification. Certain algae blooms produce chemicals that are toxic to animals and people who drink the water. New regulations took effect in 2010 that limit phosphorus concentration in household cleaning products to 0.5 per cent — a big improvement. But why not opt for phosphate-free brands?

Found indishwasher detergents, laundry detergents, and bathroom cleaners.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats)

Irritants and sensitizers that can induce an allergic response following contact with the skin. Quats are also known to cause occupational asthma in cleaning workers and preliminary evidence indicates they may cause adverse genetic and reproductive effects. Chemicals in this class are persistent in the environment and toxic to aquatic organisms. Like triclosan, quats are anti-microbial agents and there is concern that their widespread use in household disinfectants and cosmetics is contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria, thus limiting treatment options for microbial infections. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products.

Found inbathroom cleaning products, all-purpose cleaners, fabric softeners, and degreasers.

Silica powder

Rated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a known human carcinogen. This natural ingredient (made from finely ground quartz) is hazardous as a dust if inhaled.

Found inabrasive cleaning powders.

Sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate

Corrosive; severe eye, skin and respiratory irritant. It can also form chlorine gas, which will burn the eyes, nose and mouth. Studies have found that high doses of this chemical cause kidney damage. In its concentrated form, this chemical is very toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term effects in aquatic ecosystems.

Found intoilet bowl cleaners, deodorizers, surface cleaners, and disinfectants

Sodium hydroxide (also known as lye and caustic soda) 

Highly corrosive; can burn the eyes, skin and lungs and is a respiratory irritant. Long-term exposure in the air may lead to ulceration of the nasal passages and chronic skin irritation. If discharged in large quantities, sodium hydroxide can alter the pH of water. In 2005, a large spill of concentrated sodium hydroxide in the Cheakamus River canyon, north of Squamish, B.C., killed virtually all the fish in the river.

Found inoven cleaners, bathroom cleaners, disinfectants, drain openers, and toilet bowl cleaners

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a skin irritant and Environment Canada's preliminary categorization of this chemical indicates that it may be toxic to the environment. Sodium laureth sulfate is the "ethoxylated" form of this chemical, which is less harsh. However, the process of ethoxylation can leave behind traces of 1,4-dioxane, a possible human carcinogen that is persistent in the environment (see also DEA, MEA, TEA). 

Found indish soap, liquid laundry detergents, cleaning towelettes, and toilet bowl cleaners (as well as sudsy cosmetics).


Toxic and a suspected endocrine disrupter that can mimic or interfere with the function of hormones. The European Union classifies triclosan as irritating to the skin and eyes, and as very toxic to aquatic organisms, noting that it may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. Triclosan can also react in the environment to form dioxins, which bioaccumulate and are toxic. Triclosan is an anti-microbial agent and there is concern that its extensive use in consumer products is contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thus limiting treatment options for microbial infections. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products.

Found indish soaps and disinfectants, as well as a wide range of other household products. Look for it listed as an "active ingredient" in antibacterial products

Trisodium nitrilotriacetate

Rated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen. In an assessment of nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), a related chemical that is analytically identical in solution, Health Canada concluded that the concentrations of NTA/trisodium nitrilotriacetate in drinking water are low enough that they don't constitute a danger in Canada to human health when ingested. The problem is that individually small doses add up in the environment and contribute to our overall toxic burden. In aquatic ecosystems, trisodium nitrilotriacetate can also cause heavy metals in sediment to redisolve and many of these metals are toxic to fish and other wildlife. 

Found inbathroom cleaners and possibly some laundry detergents (more common in industrial formulations).


ATSDR. 2002. "ToxFAQsTM: Sodium Hydroxide."

ATSDR. 2004. "ToxFAQsTM: Ammonia."

ATSDR. 2011. "ToxFAQsTM: 2-Butoxyethanol." Toxic Substances Portal.

B.C. Ministry of Environment. "CN Rail — Cheakamus River Sodium Hydroxide Spill." Environmental Emergency Management Program.

Burrows, Mae, Sean Griffin, and Larry Stoffman. 2009. Cleaners and Toxins Guide. Toxic Free Canada.

Canada. 2006. 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations.

Canada. 2009. Regulations Amending the Phosphorus Concentration Regulations.

Environment Canada. 2010. "2010 Progress Report — P2 Planning and Nonylphenol and Ethoxylates in Products." Pollution and Waste.

Environment Canada, and Health Canada. 2001. Priority Substances List Assessment Report: Nonylphenol and Its Ethoxylates.

Environment Canada. 2010. Assessment Report for Glycine, N,N-bis(carboxymethyl)-.

Environmental Working Group. 2008. "EPA Proposes Roll-back of Food Safety Standards at Request of Pesticide Manufacturer."

Environmental Working Group. "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate." Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

European Parliament and Council. 2009. Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures.

Foundation for Water Research. "Toxic Algal Blooms in Drinking Water Resevoirs."

Gorman, Alexandra. 2007. Houshold Hazards: Potential Hazards of Home Cleaning Products. Women's Voices for the Earth.

Hegstad, K, S Langsrud, BT Lunestad, AA Scheie, M Sunde, and SP Yazdankhah. 2010. "Does the Wide Use of Quaternary Ammonium ... [Microb Drug Resist. 2010] — PubMed — NCBI." Microb Drug Resist. 16 (2) (June): 91-104.

Labour Environmental Alliance Society. "Toxins in Household Products."

Renner, Rebecca. 2002. "From Triclosan to Dioxin." Environmental Science & Technology 36 (11) (June 1): 230A.

Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Ltd. "Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate Dihydrate Material Safety Data Sheet."

Steinemann, A, I MacGregor, S Gordon, L Gallagher, A Davis, D Ribeiro, and L Wallace. 2011. "Fragranced Consumer Products: Chemicals Emitted, Ingredients Unlisted." Environmental Impact Assessment Review 31 (3) (April): 328-333. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2010.08.002.

Steinman, David, and Samuel Epstein. 1995. The Safe Shopper's Bible. New York: Macmillan.

US EPA. 2011. The Inside Story: Indoor Air. US EPA.

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PS: If your wondering what the "did you know" brochure is be sure to attend one of my workshops and find out!

Study: BPA, methylparaben block breast cancer drugs

The next article in the series: BPA. This is just one example of the risks.

San Francisco researchers have discovered that two chemicals commonly used in consumer products - bisphenol A and methylparaben - can interfere with the effectiveness of drugs used to fight breast cancer.

The research by doctors from California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco is part of a growing body of evidence looking at the negative health effects of BPA, a plastic hardening chemical found in food containers, cans and even sales receipts, as well as methylparaben, a lesser-known preservative found in cosmetics and personal care products. 

Scientific studies have linked the chemicals to hormonal problems and reproductive health issues, among other problems.

In the latest study, researchers took noncancerous breast cells from high-risk patients, grew them in a laboratory and found that once the cells were exposed to bisphenol A and methylparaben, they started behaving like cancer cells. 

Tamoxifen, a drug designed to prevent or treat cancer, slows down the growth of both healthy and cancerous breast cells and ultimately leads to their death. But when tamoxifen was introduced in the lab, the cells exposed to the two chemicals kept growing and didn't die, said Dr. William Goodson, senior clinical research scientist at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute and lead author of the study. 

The results are being published online this week in the medical journal Carcinogenesis.

Signal to consumers

Jeanne Rizzo, chief executive officer of the Breast Cancer Fund, a San Francisco advocacy group, said the study shows that BPA and methylparaben have a triggering effect when it comes to cancer. The next step, she said, has to be for consumers to demand changes that reduce environmental exposure to these chemicals.

A bill sitting on the governor's desk would ban BPA in sippy cups and baby bottles manufactured or sold in California. AB1319 was authored by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, D-Los Angeles. Similar legislation has failed in previous years.

The study looks at the fundamental mechanisms of how normal breast cells behave when exposed to BPA or methylparaben, said Dr. Mhel Kavanaugh-Lynch, director of the California Breast Cancer Research Program, which is administered by the University of California in Oakland and helped to fund the study.

Chemicals such as BPA and methylparaben mimic or interfere with the body's endocrine or hormonal systems. 

"We have a lot of information that makes these endocrine disruptors appear to be bad things to be exposed to, but there are very few, if any, studies that show a direct causal link," Kavanaugh-Lynch said. 

On a cellular level, Goodson and his colleagues focused on a gene - a critical pathway - that must be turned on for cancer cells to grow and work around the drugs designed to turn the cancer "off."

The study found that healthy cells exposed to BPA and methylparaben started figuring out ways to bypass drugs like tamoxifen. 

Drugs decrease estrogen

Since most breast cancers are driven by the hormone estrogen, the bulk of the drugs used to treat breast cancer are designed to knock down estrogen. BPA and methylparaben not only mimic estrogen's ability to drive cancer, but appear to be even better than the natural hormone in bypassing the ability of drugs to treat it, Goodson said. 

"There may be other routes of toxicity we're just beginning to understand," he said. 

Scientists are increasingly looking at environmental causes for hormone-based cancers like breast cancer.

Breast cancer rates have been growing over the past 30 years. While some of the reason can be attributed to hormone-replacement therapies or other issues specific to women, researchers have noticed that breast cancer rates are going up by about the same amount in men as in women. 

"It's mostly a women's disease, but when more men are getting more breast cancer, you have to wonder where the hormones are coming from," Goodson said.

Goodson said BPA and methylparaben are hard to avoid because they are used so widely and are even found in household dust. He said he does not know whether the effects of exposure to the chemicals are reversible.

"It's used so much. We kind of swim in it," he said.

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Dangers of Triclosan: A Common Anti-Bacterial Ingredient

Good evening all. I'm embarking on a series of articles that reveal questionable ingredients in products sold today. First up: triclosan. Hope you find this information useful!

Triclosan is an anti-bacterial ingredient in many cosmetics and personal-care products. These include nearly half of all commercial antibacterial liquid soaps, cleansers, deodorants, detergents, toothpastes, and mouthwashes.

Water testing studies by the U.S. Geological Survey have found that triclosan is among the top 10 persistent contaminants in U.S. rivers, streams, lakes, and underground aquifers. Of related concern, triclosan persists in the environment, accumulating as it passes up the food chain to our bodies, and contributes to reduced resistance to antibiotics.

Unexpected volatility has been documented when the triclosan in liquid soaps and other household products comes into contact with water, as would happen during common use. At Virginia Tech University, a team of researchers in April 2005 reported that some toothpastes and soaps create a chloroform gas when the triclosan in these products reacts with chlorinated tap water. Triclosan also interacts with free chlorine in tap water and degrades under sunlight to produce chloroform, which is both toxic and carcinogenic following inhalation or skin absorption, particularly while bathing in warm water.

Triclosan, has been shown to produce toxic hormonal effects, known as endocrine disruption, on the development of the thyroid gland in tadpoles, and on sex ratios and fin length in fish. Lab studies on rats have shown that triclosan is toxic to normal liver enzymes. In humans, this preservative has been linked to allergies, asthma, and eczema.

Of further concern, triclosan has been identified as a contaminant in umbilical cord samples collected by Greenpeace International and Britain’s World Wifeline Fund. Furthermore, surveys in Sweden have also identified triclosan in the breast milk of 60 percent of women tested.

Based on these concerns, a 2005 advisory panel to the FDA concluded that triclosan posed “unacceptable health and environmental risks.” However, the FDA still ignores this warning.*

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Get the Facts

  • Europe bans more than 1,300 harmful chemicals from personal care products. The U.S. bans 11. (EU Cosmetic Directive 2013; FDA 2015, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics)
  • The U.S. has not passed a major federal law to regulate personal care product ingredients since 1938.
  • On average, a woman is exposed to 168 chemicals before she leaves the house in the morning (think soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, cosmetics). (EWG – Environmental Working Group)
  • According to Dr. Samuel Epstein, former head of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, “It’s more dangerous to put a product on your skin than to eat it.” Why? Because our bodies have detox mechanisms at work; our skin does not.
  • Over 200 chemicals have been found in babies’ cord blood, many of which are harmful to the brain and nervous system, cause cancer and/or cause birth defects and abnormal development. (EWG, 2009)
  • 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. (American Cancer Society, 2015 Facts & Figures)
  • 1 in 68 U.S. children (1 in 42 boys) have been identified with autism spectrum disorder – that’s up from 1 in 88 in 2012. (CDC, 2014)
  • More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and that’s projected to increase to nearly 7.1 million by 2025. (2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Figures)

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Exciting times!

Welcome to the PUREblog!  You'll find all of your toxic free lifestyle news and information here.

Let me formally introduce myself, I'm Benjamin Blondin. I'm a busy dad, husband, friend, cement mason, technology lover, amateur chef and business owner. I started this journey over eight years ago to live clean and healthy. My awakening, catalyst, Harajuku moment(call it what you like) was kidney stones. Let the research begin! I questioned everything from what I ate, to what was in my food. As you can imagine I arrived at some puzzling conclusions. What is really in our "food?" Who really cooks these days...and so on. This allowed me to develop what I like to call a healthy skepticism. Naturally, I applied this to all facets of my life(I'm trying to keep this short ;-0). Along the way I was introduced to a line of products through a thoughtful(and like minded) friend. This line PUREhaven ESSENTIALS gave me peace of mind to use everyday products without the need to worry about harmful ingredients. This site is dedicated to the advancement of spreading knowledge about toxic chemicals in everyday home products. Everyone needs to hear this message. Knowledge is power.



Benjamin Blondin