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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified over 880 toxic or potentially cancer-causing agents used in personal care products

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified over 880 toxic or potentially cancer-causing agents used in personal care products. Here are a few common carcinogenic ingredients to avoid.

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) or laureth ethoxylated sulphate (SLES): found in shampoos, mouth washes, shaving gels, shower bars, bubble bath and toothpaste. These harsh detergents and wetting agents are used in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers, and car cleaning products. Symptoms of exposure include dry flaky skin, cellular breakdown, ulcers in the mouth, hair loss and cataracts. Both SLS and SLES build up in the heart, liver, lungs and brain and retard healing. They cause carcinogenic nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos and many cleansers by reacting with other product ingredients.

Propylene glycol: found in shaving and lubricating gels, deodorants, shampoos and conditioners. It's used as industrial antifreeze and is the major ingredient in brake and hydraulic fluid. Industrial bottles exhibit warnings to avoid skin contact with this chemical as it causes liver abnormalities, kidney damage, dermatitis and inhibits skin cell growth.

DEA or TEA (Diethanolamine)/Cocamide DEA/Lauramide DEA: found in shaving gels, shower bars and gels, conditioners, shampoos, bubble baths, cosmetics, baby care products and dishwashing liquids. It's a foam-boosting surfactant, emulsifier in agricultural chemicals, dyeing aid in textile processing and gas conditioning agent. Warnings state that it's a potential carcinogen that may form carcinogenic nitrosamines. There's also evidence of liver and kidney cancer when applied to the surface of the skin.

Aluminium: used in deodorants and in the manufacture of aircraft componentsy. It is a skin irritant and is linked to nerve damage and brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

Alcohol: used in mouthwashes, it is implicated in oral, tongue and throat cancer. In general, more men are diagnosed with oral and pharynegeal cancers. About 30,800 new cases will be diagnosed in the US this year.

Fluoride: used in toothpastes and is listed as a poison in Merck's index for industrial uses of fluoride compounds as an "Insecticide, particularly for ants and roaches." Symptoms of exposure range from indigestion to death. Sodium fluoride is also a potential carcinogen.

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