The Breast Blog: Breast Ambassador reads the FINE PRINT

A few year's ago, I swore off name brand toothpastes. My main reason; I hated the flip tops. After a few squeezes of the old tube, the spout and cap seemed to get bunged up resulting in crusty toothpaste. How I hated getting one of those lumps in my mouth.

True, my level of health awareness was being prodded as my paste was drying out and I couldn't help wonder what was in the stuff I swished around my mouth and let dribble down my throat daily.

So I started buying 'natural toothpaste'. My fave .... Tom's of Maine. Cinnamon flavour to be exact. Very tasty. No artificial colours or flavours. No artificial sweeteners or preservatives. No animal products. And floride free to boot. I felt very, very good.

Today, I feel very, very bad about Tom's tooth paste. Here's why. I read the very small print and discovered my very tasty toothpaste contains: Sodium Laureth Sulfate (from coconut oil). Now I'm very pissed off. I need to go out and buy new toothpaste.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and it's ugly sister Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) appear on the Saje Natural Wellness Chemical List with the following nasty reputation:

"An ingredient in 90% of commercially available products that foam - soaps, shampoo and conditioner, these closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners, toothpaste, cream, lotion and engine degreasers. Corrodes hair follicle and impedes hair growth. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties. Penetrates your eyes, brain, liver and remains there for long-term. Degenerates cell membranes and can change the genetic information (mutagenic) in cells and damage the immune system. According to the American College of Toxicology states both SLS and SLES can cause malformation in children's eyes. May cause blindness and lead to cataracts. Studies also show that these additives react with the ingredients of food supplements or cosmetics, to form carcinogenic nitrates and dioxin. All of this may enter the circulatory system with each shampooing or each oral ingestion. The end result being that these harmful ingredients can be retained in the liver, heart, eyes, kidneys and muscles for several years after being used. It is further reported to cause eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, dandruff and allergic reactions. It is frequently disguised in semi-natural cosmetics with the explanation "comes from coconut". "

A Coconut Note: I've walked through coconut groves all around the world. Majestic, stately and I'm come to learn, one of the number one locations for an early death. They're like mine fields in the sky. If one of those husked suckers falls on your bean, you're a done deal. Or worse, a human coconut for the duration.

"Comes from coconut" sounds so benign. But apparently, if a coconut falls in the forest, and no one is there, it can still have impact.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetic adds some context for why we as consumers and users of these daily products need to do some math and see the larger, lifelong picture for ourselves and our families. "The chemicals in any one consumer product alone are unlikely to cause harm. But unfortunately, we are repeatedly exposed to industrial chemicals from many different sources on a daily basis, including cosmetics and personal care products. Many of these chemicals have gotten into our bodies, our breast milk and our children. Some of these chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems that are on the rise in the human population."

The Ugly Side of Pretty from Dragonfly Media offers yet more scope to ponder.

All this makes me want to spit fire and toothpaste.

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