Why this SAFE ingredient should never be in your cosmetics.
Welcome to my formulating world.
Just thought I would let you into my world of formulating…
I am currently working on a formulation for a gentle Face Wash. So, one of our philosophies at Truth is Honesty – pure, cruelty free, natural, as organic as possible and not harmful to humans or the environment.
What I want to achieve in making this product is a beautiful, high quality facial wash that is suitable to use all over the body and for your hands too. Part of my journey is research…lots and lots or research! Surprisingly what I have found is a lot of NATURAL and ORGANIC cosmetic products and face and body washes contain PEGs. Now, PEGs in themselves have been deemed to be relatively safe, which is why I’m guessing a lot of natural skincare ranges include it as an ingredient. BUT I had to dig deeper...
Use in Cosmetics - safe, BUT..
“Overall, it is concluded, that the PEGs covered in this review are safe for use in cosmetics under the present conditions of intended use… Taking into account all the information available, it can be assumed that these compounds as presently used in cosmetic preparations will not present a risk for human health.” Source: “Safety assessment on polyethylene glycols (PEGs) and their derivatives as used in cosmetic products,” Toxicology and Preclinical Affairs, 2005.
... what about the likely Contaminants?
You'll need a good comfy chair and strong coffee to read this report in the link in full. Welcome to my world!
"Unfortunately, no reliable safety or toxicity studies could be found for other PEG derivatives being evaluated in this review. Nevertheless, PEGs and PEG derivatives were generally regulated as safe for use in cosmetics, with the conditions that impurities and by-products, such as ethylene oxides and 1,4-dioxane, which are known carcinogenic materials, should be removed before they are mixed in cosmetic formulations. Ultimately, specific assessment studies for each chemical mixture are prompted for the exact evaluation of their safety in cosmetic use." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4505343/
Health and Environmental Hazards
So, it should be fine to include right? As long as the contaminants have been removed it's all good. Well, I was suspicious right from the get go. The short answer is, When products were tested, most had these carcinogenic contaminants.
“…Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen…In a study of personal care products marketed as "natural" or "organic" (uncertified), U.S. researchers found 1,4-dioxane as a contaminant in 46 of 100 products analyzed. v” http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics---peg-compounds-and-their-contaminants/
So, PEGs in themselves are safe IF, and it's a big IF, they are NOT CONTAMINATED. However, even if you manage to get product with safe PEGs (how would you know?) it uses these very toxic, carcinogenic ingredients such as Dioxane, in the manufacturing process to make PEGs. These somehow have to be disposed of and eventually end up in our environment.
And something just as important to TRUTH as making a product that doesn't harm us or animals DIRECTLY is the ENVIRONMENTAL factor. "PEG don't easily degrade and can remain in the environment long after it is rinsed down the shower drain." http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics---peg-compounds-and-their-contaminants/