Chemicals to Avoid: Part 2 Xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that enter the body and mimic estrogen. There are many sources of xenoestrogens, from air pollution, plastics, and water pollution. This article will cover the common estrogenic compounds found in personal care / cosmetic items. (You can look forward to my expanded series on xenoestrogens from other sources soon.)

Estrogen receptors are complex molecules within certain cells in our bodies. They have a complex shape that is designed to accept estrogen—just like a lock and key.

Estrogen receptor molecule

Estradiol, a form of natural estrogen

Estrogen receptors are designed to accept estrogen molecules. When estrogen locks in to a receptor, certain things happen—particular cells are spurred to grow and divide, other levels of hormones are signaled to release. It’s a very complex process that affects many parts of our body, the heart, our bones, as well as our reproductive organs (men too!) When estrogen has done its job in the receptor, it’s released and metabolized (broken down) and leaves the body.

When a xenoestrogen enters the body, it’s different. Because these chemicals are similar in shape to estrogen, it locks in to these receptors–but not quite correctly. Because they’re shaped differently, the all of the chemical bonds aren’t formed correctly. The receptors are stimulated in negative ways, creating cells where they shouldn’t be. This can lead to reproductive disorders such as:
Anovulatory Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (having a period without ovulating)

  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Adenomyosis
  • Reproductive cancers, uterine, ovarian, breast, etc.

There are a number of xenoestrogens in personal care products. One is a group of chemicals that you’ve probably heard of, parabens. They’re listed on labels as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, etc. Parabens have been studied numerous times and have been found to act estrogenically in cells, and to accumulate in breast cancer tissue. They are used in a wide variety of products as a preservative.

methylparaben. Note the similar ring-like structure to the estrogen.

For expanded information on parabens, visit this page.

Phthalates—phthalates are a very harmful group of synthetic chemicals that can mimic estrogen. The problem is that phthalates aren’t usually listed in the ingredients list—they’re used as fragrance compounds, so whenever you see the listing for “fragrance” you don’t really know what it is. There are over 3000 different chemicals used in fragrances, and many of them are phthalates.

Aluminum chlorohydrate is another one—it’s an anti-perspirant compound that acts like estrogen. This is especially important to avoid since it’s a compound you’re applying, leaving on your skin in a very delicate area right by your breast tissue.

Triclosan is also a common xenoestrogen. Triclosan is a compound used in hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial hand soaps. It has become a major problem because so many people are using these anti-bacterial soaps and washing them down the drain. Downstream the waters become polluted with triclosan, which then acts like estrogen in aquatic life—then you have fish and frogs and other animals that die off because they can’t reproduce. We think that we need these antibacterial agents, but we don’t. It’s not about killing the bacteria, but washing it away. Triclosan only kills 99.9% of bacteria–that .1% ends up surviving and getting stronger. We then have more resistant strains of bacteria that lead to higher incidence of staph infections in hospitals, schools, and even homes.

Suspected Xenoestrogens

Phenoxyethanol has not been studied much as a xenoestrogen, but its chemical structure definitely shows potential to acting estrogenically.

Salicylic acid, commonly used as an anti-aging or anti-acne treatment, is a suspected xenoestrogen.


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Chemicals to Avoid

Our skin is our body’s largest organ and is highly absorbent. What we put ON our bodies ends up IN our bodies. Chemicals in personal care products can and do affect our health, from skin issues, allergies, asthma, headaches, hormonal imbalances, and even increased cancer risk. The big companies like to tell us that “it’s just a small amount” so the chemicals pose no risk, but think about everything you use every day–shampoo, body wash, face wash, moisturizier, body lotion, makeup, hair products–this is multiple daily exposure, and the toxic load can build up. Over the years I’ve made “top five” or “top ten” lists about which chemicals to avoid, but there are just so many! Today, I’ve narrowed it down to five major risk categories.


Ethoxylated compounds are synthetic chemicals created using the known carcinogen ethylene oxide. Chemical manufacturers are able to create synthetic chemicals that have skin-conditioning or cleansing products similar to oils, soaps, and natural butters but at a much cheaper price. Many times these chemicals are made out of cheap petroleum or animal by-products. These are the parts of the animals from the bottom of the barrel, literally, that no one wants. First, they take out the meat that they sell to people, then they take the lesser cuts and use them for hot dogs and other low-grade meats. Then, the pet-food companies have their pick. The leftover sludge of fats and cartilage is then processed and sold to cosmetic companies to make ingredients like stearic acid and cetearyl alcohol.

So, where does ethylene oxide come in to play? Well, companies can turn a fatty acid like stearic acid in to an emulsifier, steareth-20, which is able to combine water and oil. Using the ethoxylation process, chemists can design chemicals that are able to do things that they otherwise would be unable to do.

The problem with the ethoxylation process is that trace amounts of ethylene oxide can remain in the product. Ethylene oxide is a known carcinogen, and can be absorbed by the body through the skin. Other compounds like sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol are penetration enhancers, and break down the protective barrier of skin, delivering these carcinogenic chemicals further in to the skin and bloodstream.

Additionally, the ethoxylation process can create 1,4-dioxane, also a known carcinogen.

Recently a study done by the State of California and the Organic Consumers Association found that a number of personal care products that were supposedly “natural” contained higher than acceptable levels of 1,4-dioxane from ethoxylated compounds. In fact, once the state of California found out about the contamination, it sued the companies that it had tested. Every product sold in California that contains a carcinogen must have a warning label. The brands were forced to reformulate and most of them fixed the contamination problem. But this was only a handful of “natural” companies—the big brands have gone untested and unregulated for 1,4-dioxane contamination.

How to spot an ethoxylated compound

There are three easy ways to spot an ethoxylated compound. First is looking out for “PEG.” PEG stands for polyethylene glycol. Polyethylene Glycol is used in cosmetics as a skin conditioner and emulsifier. It usually is followed by a number, reading PEG-200. The number following the PEG is the number of moles (a unit of measure in chemistry) that the glycol has been treated with. So PEG-40 is polyethylene glycol treated with ethylene oxide 40 times. The higher the number, the more ethylene oxide

Second, look for the suffix “eth.” Sodium laureth sulfate or ceteareth-20 are two examples. The “eth” indicates it has been treated with ethylene oxide.

Third, look for dashes followed by a number, as in steareth-20.

One last ingredient to avoid: “vegetable emulsifying wax.” This is a blend of fatty acids and polysorbate 60 and steareth-20, which are ethoxylated compounds.

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Less than two months to the next Anodizing Workshop in San Diego

Click here for registration

Register by July 14th and save $100

The anodizing workshop will be held at Holiday Inn Express San Diego Old Town

Make sure to let them know you will be attending the Surface Finishing Academy’s Introduction to Anodizing Course to get the best possible rate.

Holiday Inn Express Old Town
3900 Old Town Avenue, San Diego – Old Town, CA 92110
Tel: 619-299-7400

If you want to know more about the anodizing workshop, please send me an email at [email protected] __________________________________________________

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La SA-FA de Burgos ha realizado una campaña de recogida selectiva durante todo el curso escolar para poder reciclar el papel de aluminio de los bocadillos y envases fabricados con este material.

Las BRIGADAS ALU han animado a todos los alumnos y profesores a depositar el aluminio en los PUNTOS ALU del patio de la escuela. El centro escolar también ha preparado una exposición sobre reciclaje con motivo de la Biodiversidad Biológica.

Después del éxito de la campaña, ya están pensando en recoger briks, envases de plástico y latas de acero durante el curso que viene.


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Poles / Palificazione (6)

Catenary added (but not yet finished…) on distribution centre’s side. Then I also placed a fence all around.
La catenaria è stata aggiunta (ma non ancora terminata) sul modulo lato Centro di Distribuzione. Quest’ultimo è stato anche recintato.

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Facebook 出現點閱綁架(Clickjacking)之攻擊手法分析

ZDNet Taiwan: Facebook出現惡意連結讓你說讚
ITHome: Sophos:點閱綁架侵襲Facebook
資安之眼:玩臉書喊「讚」 小心陷阱
Graham Cluley’s blog: Viral clickjacking ‘Like’ worm hits Facebook users

YouTube: hundreds of thousands of people over this hoilday weekend were infected by a clickjacking worm

hxxp://thedatesafe. com/obama/
hxxp://www.thedatesafe. com/man
hxxp://www.thedatesafe. com/promdress/


“The Hidden Body Part The Artists at Disney Didnt Want You To See.” -> http://disneyhiddenlike.

“LOL This girl gets OWNED after a POLICE OFFICER reads her STATUS MESSAGE.” -> http://girlownedbypolicelike.

“This man took a picture of his face every day for 8 years!!” -> http://manpictureofhimselflike.

“You’ll NEVER believe what OBAMA did on TV” -> http://thedatesafe. com/obama/

“The Prom Dress That Got This Girl Suspended From School.” -> http://www.thedatesafe. com/promdress/

3.FB 用戶點擊了這些留言,被誘騙到「釣魚網站」,若再點擊了「Click here to continue」之連結,就會在自己 FB 的「塗鴉牆」上留下「新的詐騙留言」,使其他人上當。如此周而復始。

1.點閱綁架(Clickjacking)手法並不是出現在 Facebooks 網站上。
這意味著 FB 上的超連結還是可以信賴的,是連結的內容不可信賴。在看各新聞時,我以為 FB 網站受到攻擊的,但事實上並不是如此。

2.關鍵在於 FB 上的超連結,會誘騙使用者到「釣魚網站」,該網站中夾帶點閱綁架(Clickjacking)的攻擊手法。所以,最大的問題在這裡,您的警覺性呢?
模擬實戰點閱綁架手法(Challenge to Clickjacking)」你注意到了嗎?

3.目前觀察只有在您的 FB 上做留言,使你的「好友」也受騙上當。
透過「釣魚網站」不斷的點擊留言,使更多人受騙上當,達到散播的目的。可以加以利用其他手法的,如最常見的「偷 cookie」、「網頁掛馬(Drive by Download)」、「XSS Worm」、「Click by Download」…等,其實玩的花樣還很多。我不是教你使詐…XD。

==2010/06/07 Update==
手法有些變化了,「Facebook “likejacking” targets World Cup, BP, Shrek, UFC, …」,SophosLabs blog 裡面提到,該「釣魚網站」出現好幾種不同的網頁內容了,不再是「Click here to continue」連結的單調內容,「劇本」有變化,您的警覺性呢?

4.Sophos 稱這個手法叫做「Likejacking」。
XD…如果利用撲浪或推特來散播留言,是不是手法又要改名了。 Continua a leggere

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