Tangents Podcast

26: Toxin Exposure in Everyday Life

26: Toxin Exposure in Everyday Life

Today we have a great guest with us. Joining me is Lindsay Worley. We are going to be diving into the topic of toxins that surround us daily, many of which we are unaware of and most of which we have no idea are harming us. Lindsay is a fellow health nut and Beautycounter consultant. That makes both of us staunch advocates for better beauty and safer personal care products. Lindsay holds a bachelors degree in health promotion and wellness and a masters degree in public health.  In general, Lindsay is a wonderful example if you’re looking to learn more about healthy habits and lifestyle choices. I’m looking forward to chatting with her today and sharing with all of you how to avoid toxic chemicals whenever possible. Welcome, Lindsay!

What are you into now: 

  • Lindsay: Making better choices

Intro: Did you know that you could have lead in your lipstick? How about formaldehyde in your shampoo or liquid baby soap? Or maybe carbon black, which is found in eye liner, mascara, and other makeup products that has been linked to increased incidence of cancer and negative effects on organs? Honestly, I could go on and on about toxins that are in the vast majority of the products we use on ourselves and our family every day. The crazy part? It’s all legal. Companies aren’t even trying to hide it. We wonder why 52% of children have an illness or chronic disorder by the time they’re 16 years old. (Medicade 2019). Let’s start paying attention to the chemicals around us everyday and start shifting our purchases to products that can support our health and longevity, as well as that of the environment, instead of pushing us towards ill health and environmental decline.

What got you started?

What kickstarted this off was when I became first introduced to a clean company that you introduced me to that focuses their efforts on restoring health (self-care) and ensuring no harmful ingredients are formulated into their products. Since then my current interests lie in educating those about learning how to choose safer products and becoming a conscientious consumer and helping them identify whether the everyday products they are choosing and using will support or deter where they stand on the line of the continuum of health.

What is the background and history of personal care related products? Education/History

When it comes to safety for personal care/cosmetic-related products there has been no law or federal regulation on safe ingredients that are placed into these product formulations that make up that product since 1938. Over 80 years ago, that’s wild. This unfortunately means that the FDA will allow essentially any ingredient into the makeup of a certain product due to the lack of laws that are placed to help govern safety.

What is the current regulation?

There are some ingredients that are banned to not be included in product formulations but the concerning aspect of this list is that it is very small. If we compare the US to other countries the US only bans 30 ingredients compared to the EU that bans over 1000 and Canada that bands over 500. So we are definitely behind in that aspect of what we allow and don’t allow in product formulations that are sold on the market today.

Why should we be concerned?

Full disclosure here, I am not a chemist nor am I a scientist. I am an educator who has taken the time to do my own research in exploring chemicals and toxic exposure. I do think that is important to share the research that I have found.

Research exists and reports that chemical exposure can lead to health implications over time. 80% of chemicals that are added into our personal care related products also have never been tested for safety. This also means that there are data gaps in the subject of chemical exposure and long-term health. Again the level of chemical exposure can determine the severity of health implications and we need to be aware of what those health implications are.

Some of the health implications that result in toxic exposure include

  • Neurological disorders
  • Respiratory issues/difficulty of breathing
  • Increased range of allergies
  • Skin irritation, redness, inflammation, and increased risk of dermatitis
  • Infertility which is on the rise and impacts many couples and research has shown that it impacts sperm count in males. So this can be linked to why ¼ couples struggle with conceiving.

What are some specific Ingredients that you make sure to avoid:

Propylene Gylcol—is a synthetic liquid substance and is added to specific food ingredients like frostings, baked goods, to help distribute flavor in processed-related foods.

It is also one of the most widely used ingredients in cosmetics and many personal care products that are on the market because it’s a cheap and easy ingredient to work with to help preserve the products and extend shelf life.

In the research that I have found and explored this ingredient has been used in over 14,395 products, according to 2019 data in U.S. FDA’s Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program

It also comes from a list of many different ingredient names as well, such as:

  • Propylene glycol
  • 1,2-Propanediol
  • 1,2-Dihydroxypropane
  • 2-Hydroxypropanol
  • EINECS 200-338-0
  • EPA Pesticide Chemical Code 068603
  • Isopropylene glycol
  • Methylethyl glycol
  • Fragrance (traces of propylene glycol may help make up the ingredient that is listed as natural flavors, artificial flavoring)

Propylene glycol is found in almost any personal care related product such as

  • Deodorants
  • Cosmetics
  • Creams and lotions
  • Foods (highly processed)
  • Mascaras
  • Sunscreens
  • Any cleaners, shave creams, hairspray

Although labels don’t typically tell you the amounts of how much propylene glycol is in a specific product this ingredient is termed “generally safe” by the FDA because of its small doses and amounts that are included. However, there is still chemical exposure there and I’m a big believer that small exposures over a period time can lead to big impact.

Exposure to this ingredient has been tied to a range of health issues and the concentrations to show these effects can be as low as 2% (the exposure can be minimal)

  • Skin irritation and allergic reaction and causing redness
  • Research has indicated its not safe for infants or pregnant woman
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Propylene glycol can penetrate in our bloodstream and overtime can cause cell implications

Parabens- a group of preservative ingredients also used in cosmetics, personal care related products, and estimated at 75-90% cosmetics contain parabens at low levels.

Parabens have shown through research that it impacts the endocrine system which is a concern because our endocrine system helps regulate our hormones, help control mood, growth, reproductive health and development, and helps our organs function optimally

Parabens also penetrate the skin and evidence is out there revealing that they interfere with hormone function for both males/females. For example, parabens can mimic estrogen, (the primary sex hormone) and have been detected in human breast cancer tissues so what essentially happens is depending on the exposure level of parabens in our bodies it can potentially turn on the growth hormone-receptor- for positive breast cancers cells

From the research I have found it has been estimated that woman are exposed to 50 mg per day of parabens from cosmetics alone, however more research needs to take place regarding the resulting levels of parabens we have essentially floating in our system.

Methylparaben, butylparaben, and propylparaben are some of the most common parabens in cosmetics. Other chemicals in this class generally have “paraben” in their names (e.g., isobutylparaben, ethylparaben, etc.).


Fragrance is also considered a trade secret in the beauty/personal care industry. The concerning part of having “fragrance” in the ingredient label of a product is that it can result in over 3,000 ingredients and chemicals to makeup that said scent.

Fragrance is among the top 5 known allergens and causes and can trigger asthma attacks. So I avoid any label that has fragrance in the ingredient label, unless that company is transparent and details out exactly what makes up that “fragrance” scent. Use products that are scented with essential oils that are coming from natural products extracted from plants.

  • Just recently in 2020 California passed this law known as the Safer Fragrance Bill-2020 to govern safety around the fragrance loop hole.
  • This law now enforces Manufacturers of cosmetics distributed in California will now have to disclose their products’ fragrance and flavour ingredients
  • This act will come into effect in January 2022

How can we take action?

Passing laws and public reform take consistent effort and it takes a long time for laws to get updated. It takes consistent advocacy work, meeting with members of Congress, advocated for updates in laws. And there are companies out there and consultants that are helping to achieve safer beauty laws and changes, so choosing to support companies where their mission statements are aligned with what your values are in health is a great way to take action and be part of that collective impact.

It also relies on the companies as well. It’s up to the companies who are making the products if they value the importance of safe ingredients, and some companies are very misleading in their product labels and to the eye they seem “Clean”.  Again it comes down to choices and it’s up to us to make the conscious choice to evaluate that product to identify if it is safe for us to use long-term.

Brands to research

  • Beautycounter
  • Honest
  • 7th Generation
  • Primally Pure
  • Branch Basics
  • Native

Resources for research

Takeaway: Choose one product you use daily to research and replace with a clean one. Two easy ones: fluoride free toothpaste and fragrance-free laundry detergent. Every month, replace one more item and keep researching for your own benefit.

Find Lindsay: betterbeautywithlinds_ on Instagram

Thanks for joining us for this episode of Tangents Podcast. We hope you learned something new and can implement something new for improving your health and life. In fact, please share this information. We want to positively impact as many people as possible. Subscribe on Itunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. Leave a review and tell your friends about us, too. Show notes are found on Infinity Wellness and Chiropractic’s website. You can find Kali by searching for Sweetspot Nutrition on Facebook and on Instagram. You can find Dr. Sara by searching for Infinity Wellness And Chiropractic on Facebook as well as on Instagram. Thanks for joining us. Until next time, be well.