Archive for August 23rd, 2012

Change the World Wednesday – 22nd Aug

I’m a day late. Not a case of procrastination, although I suppose there well may be elements of the same, rather I have been thinking.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, the driest desert in the world

We have also had some very dry weather, too dry. The humidity here has been terribly low this week, 20% yesterday. Tuesday was even worse, it gave me such a headache that I missed work; and I am usually one of those who have to be dying before I’ll do that. Been drinking water like it’s going out of fashion in order to stay hydrated. São Paulo was worse off yesterday, humidity there struck a 30 year low, 10%; that’s worse than some deserts.

This week’s challenge is a doozy. It was the ‘dooziness‘ that lead to what appeared to be procrastination on my part, but really it was thinking.

This week refuse to put chemicals on your body. Read the labels on everything which comes in contact with your skin and only use it if it’s chemical free.


Or … If your skin is already glowing with chemical-free happiness, please share tips and ideas. Feel free to suggest products or share recipes for homemade items … tell us about how you transitioned from toxic ingredients to healthy ones … or share the differences you’ve experienced since switching over. We’d like to know about anything which will help us eliminate chemicals from our body care products.

Well, ‘skin glowing with chemical-free happiness’… nope, that’s not me.

Refuse to put chemicals on my body. I am a man of simple means, I don’t go into toiletries much. I use soap, I don’t use shampoo, haven’t for years. I use a simple spray deodorant, the temperature here in summer dictates an additional measure besides soap to stop one reeking of sweat on the bus. I use a plain toothpaste, no flavours or fancy gels. And that sums it up.

Now, let’s look at what’s in the stuff I use:

Deodorant, Senador Platinum.

Ingredients: Alcohol, water, glycerine, perfume, benzalkonium chloride, alph-isomethyl ionone, benzyl alcohol, citrôl, citronella, coumarin, d-Lemonene, eugenol, geraniol, butylphenyl methylpropional, benzyl salicylate, hexyl cinnamal, linalool.

Well, that’s a lot of chemicals. Are they good or bad?

benzalkonium chloride – highly toxic to fish. Toxic to humans at 10%, most applications use 0.001 – 0.002% or 10,000 times less than a toxic dose.

alph-isomethyl ionone – Widely used as a fragrance in the formulation of aftershave lotions, bath products, bubble baths, hair care products, moisturizers, perfumes and colognes, shampoos and skin care products. Known to irritate the skin and trigger allergic reactions for some people.

citrol – a biodegradable, environmentally safe, water soluble, heavy duty, organic citrus base, solvent cleaner and degreaser, related to lemonine. Can cause skin irritation in some people.

citronella  – no info as an ingredient.

coumarin – rat poison in high dosages. Found in camomile tea, synthetic vanilla substitutes, tobacco products. Some people can become sensitised to it.

d-Lemonene – can be a skin irritant wit prolonged exposure. Distilled from lemon rind.

eugenol– cloves, the agent that gives cloves their distinctive smell. Some people may become sensitised to it.

geramiol – a type of alcohol, mosquito repellent, but attracts bees.  Geraniol should be avoided by people with perfume allergy.

butylphenyl methylpropional – synthetic fragrance, some people may become sensitised to it, therefore it is mandatory to be listed as an ingredient in Europe.

benzyl salicylate –  occurs naturally in a variety of plants and plant extracts and is widely used in blends of fragrance materials. Sensitisation is possible.

hexyl cinnamal – Hexyl cinnamaldehyde is a class B allergen according to DIMDI classification. It is also an irritant in concentrations higher than recommended.

Linalool – Over 200 species of plants produce linalool. Linalool gradually breaks down when in contact with oxygen, forming an oxidized by-product that may cause allergic reactions such as eczema in susceptible individuals (5-7%).

So basically, none of that is very good.

I use it once a day when I am working,or when I go out in public. I wouldn’t say that I was a heavy user, but nevertheless, it is surprising what it contains and that almost all of it is not good for the skin.

They warn on the bottle to keep away from children, because some of those ingredients can cause renal failure in high dosages.

I am not going to do the same with the soap and toothpaste I use; firstly, that took a lot of time, and secondly… I’m too scared. I don’t want to know. I have been shaken from the comfort of my little world.


You’ll notice on the image, a vertical line on the left; that is the list of ingredients and warning. It is so small, that I had to use my glasses and use the reflection of the daylight to make out the list in black on a sliver label. It was very difficult t read.


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