BREAKING: Mercury Poisoning From Face Cream

MERCURY1

This week, the Orange County Health Care Agency in California put out a press release on a mercury poisoning case from face cream.  

The face cream, which appears to be homemade or imported from Mexico, registered an exorbitant amount of  mercury.

The air samples of the cream were 50,000 times more than the safe limit.  I repeat 50,000 times.

Goddess Huntress | Mercury Poisoning Face Cream

The Orange County Health Care Agency Press Release dated April 8, 2014:

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2014Contact: Nicole Stanfield nstanfield@ochca.com
714-834-2178

Mercury Poisoning Linked to Use of Face Cream

Envenenamiento por mercurio relacionado con el uso de cremas faciales 
The Orange County Health Care Agency warns against the use of face creams that appear to be homemade or imported from Mexico due to potentially high levels of mercury. One case of mercury poisoning associated with use of these products has recently been identified in Orange County, and several others are under investigation.The face cream claims to lighten skin, fade freckles and age spots, and treat wrinkles and acne. Air samples taken from the cream had more than 50,000 times the safe limit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not allow mercury in drugs or cosmetics, expect under very specific conditions which these products do not meet.“Anyone using homemade face creams should stop using it immediately,” said Dr. Eric Handler, Orange County Public Health Officer. “If you have used these products and have symptoms of mercury poisoning see a physician immediately and get tested for mercury poisoning.”The signs and symptoms of mercury poisoning may include muscle pain and cramps, nervousness and irritability, difficulty with concentration, headache, tremors, memory loss, depression, insomnia, weight loss, and fatigue. Other symptoms may include numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or around the lips.Creams that contain mercury can be dangerous for anyone living in the home where they are used. The mercury spreads from the hands of anyone using the cream to other things they touch. Mercury then gets into the air and anyone in the home can breathe it in. Unborn babies, infants, and children are especially sensitive to the effects of mercury.  It can damage the kidneys and the nervous system, and interfere with the development of the brain in unborn children and very young children.Any face cream product that is suspected to contain mercury must be disposed of as a household hazardous waste; people are urged to call Orange County Environmental Health at (714) 433-6000 for proper disposal of the product.The Health Care Agency is working with the California Department of Public Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate the cases and availability in the community.Examples of products

  

How to Protect Yourself

  • Check the label of any skin lightening, anti-aging, acne or other skin product you use. If you see the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury,” stop using the product immediately.
  • If there is no label or no ingredients are listed, do not use the product. Federal law requires that ingredients be listed on the label of any cosmetic or drug.
  • Don’t use products labeled in languages other than English unless English labeling is also provided.
  • If you suspect you have been using a product with mercury, stop using it immediately. Thoroughly wash your hands and any other parts of your body that have come in contact with the product. Contact your health care professional or a medical care clinic for advice.
  • If you have questions, call your health care professional or the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222; it is open 24 hours a day.
  • Do not throw the product in the trash; contact Orange County Environmental Health at (714) 433-6000 for proper disposal of the product.

To learn more about the health effects of mercury, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If these images of the creams look at all familiar to you, please notify the Health Agency as soon as possible.  It is key to determine the source of these products and your help is needed.

Secondly, we must wish this woman and the potential unknown others that purchased these creams, the best health outcome possible along with those around them.

Thirdly, homemade beauty products sold at farmer’s markets, festivals, flea markets, Etsy, neighbors, solicitors, etc. more than likely did not go through FDA’s strict review/approval to sell or manufacture in the industry, so you must stay the hell away because you’ll never know what you are getting and neither do the creators of the products.  Homemade proprietors may not know that their ingredients are contaminated or what the ingredient capacities are.

Protection, awareness, and regulated products are key.

Please share this with your friends, family, and community to prevent further sickness.

Tweet it, Facebook it, Share it.

Triclosan, We Are Happy To See You Go

Goddess Huntress | Triclosan

It is all over the news today and yesterday.  The FDA is re-evaluating the use of triclosan in anti-bacterial soaps over concerns and evidence that triclosan can create resistant bacteria and cause harm to our hormonal systems.  They are now requiring manufacturers to provide proof that triclosan indeed is an anti-bacterial, if the evidence is not substantial all products containing triclosan must be removed from the marketplace by 2016.  The FDA has not received sufficient proof that triclosan is beneficial in anti-bacterial soaps and has been alarmed by some findings in scientific studies.

Here are some triclosan tidbits from my post in 2010:

Triclosan is so prominent, the CDC states that it is found in 75% of the population’s urine.  The American Medical Association advises against the use of antibacterial soap at home to prevent the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Antibacterial soap has been found no more effective than regular soap.

Triclosan is in drinking water and a large percentage of rivers.  The EPA does not regulate levels of triclosan in drinking water.

The European Union has a ban on triclosan for products that come in contact with food.

Some major companies are one step ahead on the triclosan clean up.  Johnson & Johnson announced earlier this year that they will completely phase out the ingredient by the end of 2015 and Crest’s toothpastes are already free of triclosan.

The irony of triclosan is that it is causing resistant bacteria.  If triclosan is not indeed anti-bacterial and producing resistant bacteria in the long run, it is false advertising.

The really juicy part to this story is that this action is truly coming from a lawsuit settlement.  The FDA initially proposed the removal of triclosan in 1978 (yes, almost 36 years ago) and never finalized the rule. So, of course, triclosan continued its course into many familiar products.  The NRDC, National Resource Defense Council, sued the FDA in 2010 to finalize a rule…hence, the new rule we are reading about this week, all due to a lawsuit.

The FDA is taking action because of a lawsuit settlement…

Further proof our voices, actions, and wallets create the change.

Now we just need the same regulations with triclosan in toothpaste, cutting boards, socks, etc.

What are your thoughts on this new triclosan ruling? What else should be done?

EWG 2013 Sunscreen Report

Goddess Huntress | EWG 2013 Sunscreen Reportewg2

The EWG’s 2013 Sunscreen Report is here!

It is the creme de la creme sunscreen shopping guide. The EWG does extensive testing of hundreds of sunscreens each year to determine the most effective coverage without the photo-carcinogens (ingredients that transform into carcinogens when exposed to the sunlight such as oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate…so much for “sun protection”, eh?). They test for stability, UVB protection, UVA protection, and last, while going through the ingredients with a fine-tooth comb.

Here is the list of the BEST.

The GH Shop proudly carries COOLA Suncare Sport Moisturizer Classic Sunscreen SPF 45, one of the best on the EWG 2013 list!

Get the best sunscreens with the best coverage without the carcinogens.

The GH Shop is donating 10% of each COOLA Suncare sale to the Melanoma Research Foundation during the month of May. Get protected!

Lead In Lipsticks

You may have heard the well deserved media coverage of the FDA’s newest lead findings in many lipsticks…lead was found in 400 lipsticks, in fact.  The lipstick you see pictured above is the number one offender in lead content from the tubes tested…That color is Maybelline’s Color Sensational in Pink Petal.

Not so pretty in pink, after all.

Maybelline’s Pink Petal weighs in at 7.19 parts per million in lead content.  To give you some perspective on that number, candy sold in the USA cannot contain lead exceeding 1 ppm.  And to give you more personal perspective, think about how much lipstick we consume by licking/chewing our lips, transferring to the foods that we are ingesting, and those adorable babies and children we kiss.  Heartbreaking, I know.

While I always advocate for reading your ingredients, this toxic sucker is not listed.  To change this, we can make our voice heard by signing this petition written by the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics to demand L’Oreal reformulate products for our and our children’s health. L’Oreal makes 5 out of the 10 most lead ridden lipsticks of those tested by the FDA

Here is the FDA’s data on all 400 lipsticks tested.

Are any of your favorites on this list? Will you be tossing them out? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo via CBS News

Ovarian Cancer and Talc

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

I have one beauty product I ask you to steer clear of: Talc powder.

Talc has a high association with ovarian cancer.  The American Cancer Society conducted a study in 1997 that revealed women who applied talcum powder to their genital area were 50%-90% of higher risk of ovarian cancer.  Those numbers are staggering.  The probabilities are too high, ladies.

So, when you go in for your next bikini wax, bring in your own cornstarch powder or inquire prior to arrival.  Moms, keep talc away from your precious offspring.

Looking for some non-talc powders? California Baby and Burt’s Bees offer some great non-talc powders.

What are your favorite non-talc baby powders?  Let us know in the comments below!

Stay tuned this week to find out what monthly personal care product you should convert to organic.

 

Ethnic Hair Care

This week on GH, I will be covering the world of ethnic hair care. Here is an article I wrote earlier this year for SheKnows about the alarming dangers lurking in many ethnic hair care products.  And on Wednesday I will be introducing an ethnic hair care line that doesn’t dabble with chemical nasties.  

Now let’s get started with some ethnic hair care 101:

Traditional ethnic hair care products contain a myriad of highly toxic chemicals.  I’m sure you’ve seen “no lye” written on many ethnic hair care products.  As consumers became more aware of the dangers that can reside with the use of lye, the industry started to provide no lye options.  Lye is essentially sodium hydroxide.  It causes chemical burns, receding hair lines, irritation, and can cause lung damage. It definitely is some toxic stuff. To give you some history, what we know as lye relaxer was accidentally invented in 1910.  The formula was intended for use on sewing machine needles to prevent fabric scorching!  Lye is also used to unclog drains.  Like I said, really toxic stuff. “No lye” relaxers contain potassium hydroxide, which isn’t necessarily the lesser of the two evils.

What else can lurk in traditional ethnic hair care? Animal placenta and estrogen.  Sheep placenta is used to strengthen hair with its proteins.  Besides the shuddering upset of placenta used as an ingredient, placenta synthesizes estrogen.  Being exposed to increased levels of estrogen increases cancer risks and triggers the onset of early puberty.  Young African American girls have been found to start puberty earlier than other ethnic groups.

African American women’s bodies have been found to have higher levels of phthalates in comparison to other groups.  Phthalates are commonly found in added fragrance and have the stealth activity of mimicking your hormones.  Added hormones makes for some unfavorable outcomes…think steroid users.

Thankfully, there is a shift in consumer awareness and healthy ethnic hair care products are starting to become available, but it needs to move faster.

How to care for ethnic hair naturally?

Daily apply natural oils as a restorative drink to hair and scalp. Jojoba, coconut, and pomegranate oil are great conditioners. Pomegranate oil provides brilliant sheen. Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer.  Hair should not be shampooed everyday because it needs oil.  Definitely stay away from petroleum and mineral oil products because they dry hair, clog follicles, and hinder normal hair growth.

What’s your favorite hair oil?  Share in the comments below!

Photo: Samuel Zakuto

Model: Jay @ Re:Quest Model Management

Another Reason To Use Less Toxic Nail Polish

GH reader Rebecca sent me an article from StyleList about a woman getting an unusual reaction from her nail polish. This woman’s story is pretty compelling.

Brooke Burdine (pictured above) paid her dermatologist a visit when she awoke to a strange skin reaction that resembled two black eyes.  After poring over her daily routine with her dermatologist, her dermatologist realized the culprit…her nail polish.

Brooke, an avid nail salon patron, recently broke her usual manicure routine.  She picked a nail polish from a brand she never used before at the nail salon.  Soon after she got the shiner of an allergic reaction seen above.  Burdine’s allergic black eye look is the result of the sinuses being so swollen, not allowing blood to drain normally, so it just collects underneath the eyes.

While this is an uncommon reaction to nail polish, the factors involved make it not such a far-fetched allergic reaction for many people.  Why? Brooke wears contact lenses, so her fingers are in constant contact with her eyes.  It really is something one would never think about.  You may not wear contacts, but your fingers do stray to your eyes so many times.

It is unclear what toxin or toxins set off her reaction, but it is pretty safe to say we all need to stay away from toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde in our nail polishes.  Those 3 nasties are carcinogenic, endocrine disrupters (meaning they f*** with your hormones), and they f*** with your respiratory and neuro systems. Look for “3 Free”.  Take it a step further and avoid formaldehyde resin with “4 Free” nail polishes now on the market.  Or, you can go for no toxins.

I usually bring my own non-toxic/less-toxic nail polish to the nail salon.  Brooke’s reaction has convinced me to travel to the salon with my own healthy base/coat in tow as well.

Have you ever gotten an adverse reaction to a beauty product?  Share it in the comments below.

Who knows, your experience may prevent someone else from visiting the doctor!

Photo via Youbeauty.com

Ask The GH: Deodorant

 

Honestly, I’ve avoided answering the dreaded deodorant question from many readers.  And by avoid, I mean I run.

Why?

Because I use commercial deodorant/anti-perspirant.  

There. I outted myself.

I have gone through many, many, many healthy deodorants and can’t find a good mate that has my odor in their best interests.  This Spring, I tried a new healthy deodorant every week for health’s sake and journalistic research purposes.  Many I had to re-apply throughout the day.   I barely re-apply my lipstick, the last thing I wanted to carry on my person every day was a stick of deodorant (not clutch friendly). Some didn’t combat a thing.  Others worked for the first 2 days and then my body acclimated and defeated the hopeful contender.  Then along came summer, and I about had it.  I decided to take a break and go back to that commercial brand that does its “magic”.

Do I want to find a healthy deodorant that will have and hold me from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward?

I DO!

Here’s why:

Deodorant is a controversial topic with inconclusive evidence that it is linked to cancer, breast cancer.  Honestly, they can do studies until they are blue in the face, it is better to take precautions than wait for the conclusion.   The location of our daily deodorant application is at the lymph nodes and three fingers away from the breasts.  I call our lymph nodes the “cancer super highway” (my father had his under arm lymph nodes and sweat glands removed due to his cancerous mole on his back).  Daily application of aluminum based compounds and parabens is not so ideal.

Aluminum based compounds create a plug in the sweat duct and stops the sweat from releasing out onto the skin.  It is the effective component of anti-perspirants. Some believe that the aluminum has the capacity to be absorbed into the glands and act as an endocrine disruptor, a.k.a. produce more estrogen.  Estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells.  It is unknown if the molecular structure of the aluminum can be passed through the sweat duct.

Ever cut yourself shaving? Shaved with a more aggressive hand?  Got razor burn?  Ever apply deodorant/anti-perspirant after that shaving mishap, or just immediately after shaving?  So there is the possibility the aluminum may not be passable through the sweat duct, but now it has greater access to be absorbed by your broken skin. Not optimum. Hmmmm…maybe that’s why it says not to apply on broken or irritated skin (honestly, I never paid attention to that on the label until right now).  There are conflicting studies on the shaving + deodorant connection to breast cancer.

So, I don’t have any solid answers for you, but I advise prevention.  Don’t apply deodorant/anti-perspirant immediately after shaving.  If you are having a hard time like me finding something that works without aluminum compounds, take some aluminum breaks.  On cooler days or days of less strenuous activity use a natural deodorant.  On days of more stress, emotions, heat, date nights use your favorite magic stick.  I’m going to start taking that regimen on, as you know I suffer from toxic remorse and need to keep that under control!

Now, let me ask you Huntresses, what natural deodorants work for you?  Any DIY formulas you concoct?  Is there anyone that uses vodka as a deodorant, a la Joan Rivers?  Please share in the comments because I’d like to try them all and we can all use a bit of refreshing help.  Share! Share! Share!

Special thanks to Erin C. for backing me into a wall with this question and  having me come out as a commercial antiperspirant/deodorant user.  I feel a lot lighter now 😉

Alright, armpits.  Let’s do a vodka spritz.

(I’ll fill you in later on if this cocktail courtship sweeps me off my feet. Meanwhile, please share your deodorant favorites below!)

 

Do You Really Need A Puff, Mama?

 

Your hot, sexy date: Mmmmmmmm, how did you get your ultra smooth skin?

You: Oh, by scraping it with plastic mesh.

Wait, WHAT?

Let’s get the luxury back in your life, girl. It’s going to start by throwing out that pastel colored plastic puff hanging out in your shower.  Here’s why:

Plastic is a man-made material that has many harmful chemicals.  The soft plasticizers, known as phthalates (pronounced th-al-ates), are linked to deformed genitalia in baby boys. Many plastics contain BPA, bisphenol A, another heavy hitter that has a long list of crimes.  BPA is linked to breast and prostate cancer,  affects brain development, interferes with thyroid function, associated with erectile dysfunction, and linked to obesity.

You take that soft plastic puff and you run hot water over it, causing the off gases to just steam out and infuse your suds and water. As if that is not enough exposure for you, you aggressively rub that chemical bomb onto your skin speeding up that chemical transfusion.  Did I just say transfusion?  Yes. I did.  Once those chemicals are in your pores, they are free to travel throughout your body.  By the way, BPA likes hanging out in fat tissue.  Thought losing a couple pounds was hard enough?

Bring on the loofah, ladies.  It is pure luxury.

You and your offspring are too precious for plastic.