5 Everyday Items That Contain Toxic Chemicals


Let’s look at five major sources of unhealthy chemical exposure. These chemicals can cause a variety of illnesses and toxicity. How awful it would be if you are working to cleanse your body with natural, organic foods for energy but then amass a great deal of toxicity unknowingly by the following 5 items.

They also can get into your body and suppress your natural beauty, leading to premature aging, dull or clogged skin, and even serious illness.


1. Household cleaning products

Everyone wants a clean house, but if you’re using conventional household cleaning products, you could be ingesting dangerous chemicals through your skin, mucous membranes, and respiratory system. While many commercial cleaners contain dangerous ingredients, some of the most toxic include:

  • Bleach, which can damage your respiratory system.
  • Air fresheners, which may contain formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, aerosol propellants, and dicholorobenzene.
  • Ammonia, which can cause skin burns and respiratory irritation. It can even create a poison gas when combined with bleach.
  • Drain cleaners are caustic and can burn skin and harm mucous membranes. They also have a harsh chemical scent that can damage the respiratory tract.
  • Laundry detergents contain dyes and other chemical agents that you can inhale or absorb through your skin.
  • Dishwashing soap contains chemicals and fragrances. Dishwashter detergents may contain bleach and other chemicals that can end up in trace amounts on your utensils and cookingware, and therefore then get into your food.

These are a few of the many hazards associated with conventional household cleaning products. Instead, choose natural solutions for cleaning. There are many available today at even regular drug stores that have green labels or are plant-based. You can use lemon rinds to clean stove tops and white vinegar to clean floors. If you have children or babies, using natural cleaning products is particularly critical, as their bodies and DNA are even more susceptible to damage from these chemicals.


2. Beauty products

Because you put beauty products directly on your skin, your body can absorb toxic chemicals from them. The ingredients in many beauty projects can accelerate free radicals, cause respiratory damage, and have other aging and health affects, as well. Some to watch for include:

  • Toxic shampoos that contain petroleum distillates and other chemicals. Many shampoos also contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), which can damage mucous membranes, the respiratory tract, and the immune system. They may also contain fragrance. When a label list fragrance, it may indicate as many as 4,000 different compounds. Many of these can lead to health problems, respiratory distress, and may even be carcinogenic and impose fertility issues or complications.
  • Body washes, cleansers and bubble baths may contain SLS and SLES, which we discussed above. They may also contain DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) or TEA (triethanolamine). These chemicals are carcinogens and hormone disrupters, which can prematurely age you.
  • Antiperspirants contain imidazolindinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin, two preservatives that are components of formaldehyde. This can cause joint pain, asthma, cancer, and other conditions. They also often contain aluminum, which is associated with brain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Nail polish also contains these ingredients, as do many other beauty products.

Other skincare products such as cleansers, lotions, and many others contain petroleum distillates, preservatives, artificial colors, mineral oil and fragrances, more. These chemicals can accelerate aging, discolor your skin, and block beauty from the inside. Read your labels carefully, and select all-natural, organic lines of products.


3. Sunscreen

It seems ironic. Many experts tell us to apply sunscreen to protect our skin and prevent cancer and aging, yet sunscreen can accelerate aging and increase cancer risk. Fear of skin cancer has led to daily application of dangerous sunscreen products, and many lotions and other beauty products contain sunscreens.

Sunscreen not only blocks your skin’s ability to absorb vitamin D from sunlight, which is essential for good health, but it also contains numerous toxic ingredients that serve as hormone disrupters and carcinogens while accelerating formation of free radicals. In fact, some studies show that areas where more sunscreen is applied there is a higher incidence of skin cancer. And all of this can lead to premature skin aging. Dangerous ingredients include:

  • PABA
  • Oxybenzone
  • Dioxybenzone

Instead, wear sun-resistant clothing and hats to minimize your sun exposure. Remember the quality of your sunscreen is very, very important. Look for chemical-free (or free-er I should say) sunscreens where titanium dioxide is the active ingredient.


4. Water bottles

Plastic water bottles, no matter how recyclable, are just not good for you. Made from petroleum distillates, plastics contain chemicals that leech into the water in the bottles, and can cause neurological disorders, hormone disruption, and cancer among other illnesses. Hormone disruption is of particular concern in premature aging.

Instead, choose a glass or stainless steel water bottle, and get yourself a good water filter that you can use to fill and refill your bottles.


5. Perfume

Perfumes and colognes contain fragrance with chemicals that can cause everything from respiratory distress to hyperpigmentation. No wonder so many people get a headache from strong perfumes (including me). They look so pretty in fancy bottles, but perfume is so toxic! It gets sprayed right on the skin and pulse points and is absorbed right into the blood stream, distributing the chemicals throughout the body. Scary.

Instead, try an essential oil as a fragrance. Sally B’s carries a few great solid fragrances (I like Just B). They don’t last as long as regular perfumes, but I keep it in my purse and re-apply more often. At least they are all natural and non-toxic, while smelling great!



Last updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • Wyly

    May I ask what you use to cleanse & condition your hair Kimberly? It always looks beautiful and bouncy. I’ve tried organic shampoos/conditioners and my hair just looks AWFUL. Any suggestions are helpful!

    Thank you!

    • Kay Bradt

      Wyly, I sell a skin and body care line that is without harmful chemicals. The shampoo is the best thing I have ever used in my life. The feedback I get on it is amazing.

      Check it out here-www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/kaybradt

      Have a great day, Kay

    • kate king

      I have been using organic products (from face care, body care, hair care, deoderant, healing, etc) fer quite some time now and have perty thin hair as it is but I have deeply fallen in love with Avalon Organics Hair Thickening Biotin B-Complex Shampoo and Conditioner! Even after a few weeks i noticed a great difference and no longer have to use hair products besides shampoo and conditioner! Also, I am a shaklee representative (www.shaklee.com) and there are tons of great products to use from vitamins to face care to weight loss to baby care and sooo much more. Here is some info on Avalon Shampoo and conditioner: :)

      Signature ingredient: Made with a healing complex of B vitamins – biotin, niacin and panthenol – to nourish the hair and scalp for added body and shine, increased scalp circulation and stimulation of hair follicles. Product description: Specifically designed to help restore thinning hair, this thickening conditioner is fortified with an elixir of of biotin, saw palmetto and wheat protein to control hair loss, while nourishing follicles. It will help strengthen hair strands and boost body and volume for a healthy scalp and thicker, fuller hair. Features and benefits: This thickening conditioner is formulated with nourishing aloe and jojoba, stimulating rosemary, saw palmetto and smoothing, strengthening wheat protein. Who should use this product? For fine, limp or thinning hair.

  • http://www.babeswithkids.com/ Natalya

    Very informative. I will have a look at the things I use.

  • Kylie

    Hi Kim,

    Are there any products you would recommend in particular? I am very fond of the Organic Skin Care Line Eminence but I would love to get some brand recommendations on shampoos and sunscreens as so many claim to be “natural” and therefore appealing. I will start looking at the ingredients on the label but any suggestions for your favorites would be helpful!

    peace and love,

    • Kay Bradt

      HI Kylie, I clicked on this article by Kim and saw your comments. I just wanted to tell you real quick that I have found a company that makes skin and body care without chemicals and the products are the most luxurious products I have ever used. Someone told me that their shampoo has changed her life.

      Here is my website-www.avaandersonnontoxic. com/kaybradt

      If you have any questions please email me. Kay

  • Megan

    I feel like everything in our world is going to somehow destroy our bodies… Frustrating

  • Michelle

    Where did you get that awesome glass bottle for GGS that you posted on twitter?

  • Jennifer Corn

    Kimberly, If you ever have the time I would love to know what makeup/hair products/deodorant you use personally! I have been slowly moving into the natural/organic phase, but it is hard to find good products! Thanks!

  • Nineva

    I stopped using body lotion and switched to jojoba oil and that works just fine for me – it is more expensive, but a little goes a long way and it works really well. I still use Neutrogena face lotion, though. What should one use in place of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and face cream?

  • jenny

    informative. i am not too sure about essential oils..i am scent sensitive and i react to essential oils. would be nice if the government restricted how much perfume can be put into products so it’s not super strong smelling. all products should just have a faint smell – perfumes included

  • gg

    Hi Kim, I have very sensitive skin. I just bought Eucerin everyday protection with 30 spf. I’m a Breast Cancer Survivor and I don’t want to be using harmful products. Can you suggest a good face cream?

  • http://KimberlySnyderDetox Carie

    Thank you for your book it has really changed they way I think about food. I have a few medical conditions I battle with on a daily basis, trying to get control of them has been a nightmare and a lot of the med’s has caused me to gain a lot of weight. I’m having a complete work up for MS again. In the mean time I am starting your detox program in hopes of losing weight and to help me feel better about myself maybe I can come off my med’s then. Thank you for your book to help me become a better me.

  • http://www.greenandcleaner.com stephanie

    Traditional dry cleaning also contains toxic chemicals!

  • http://kindnaturalyou.blogspot.com Beth


    Thank you for spreading the word about fragrance being extremely toxic. So many people are unaware that fragrance is loaded with harmful chemicals which have a definite impact on the central nervous system and contribute to allergies, asthma, cancer, and myriad other health conditions and respiratory problems. Headaches and nausea are other side-effects of being exposed to fragrance. It isn’t limited to perfumes and cleaning products either. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, dish detergent, perfumes, candles, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and other seemingly harmless products contain this ingredient and are equally detrimental.

    Those who choose to go fragrance-free should not be discouraged when initially making the transition as there are certainly many fragrance-free options out there. You have to be careful even with essential oils as these can trigger symptoms like headaches/migraines. It is safer to smell products that you can eat (ie. orange peels, smoked paprika, mint leaves, cinnamon, coconut.. you get the idea).

    Fragrance today is what cigarettes were to the people of yesteryear. Just as smoking was once considered safe and advertisements for tobacco companies were not required to warn consumers, fragrance seems to have followed that very pattern of widespread popularity/usage. Hopefully, in due time, people will come to their senses (no pun intended) and do away with all forms of fragrance, so as to stop polluting the air and our bodies.

    “Get a Whiff of This: Perfumes (fragrances) — the Invisible Chemical Poisons” by Connie Pitts is a must-read for everyone, especially those interested in learning more about this subject. It’s a quick-read too! I read it in a day, it was that compelling.

    Thanks again Kim, for keeping everyone informed health-wise. Have a very happy, healthy, and *GREEN* New Year! : )

  • Chantal

    Kim, you should write a blog or post a video on youtube showing the skin care- hair and cleaning products you use. That would be amazing!
    I know using vinegar and lemon with salt to clean our bathrooms is an organic way to go. I would be greatful to hear your tips.

  • maria

    Hi Kim,

    Is it safe to drink the green smoothie drink when breast feeding?

  • Carolyn

    Hi Kim,

    I just starting the Beauty Detox Solution and wanted to know what facial cleanser & moisturizer you would recommend.

    I appreciate any suggestions you may have!

  • Nicole H.

    Is Mica a safe ingredient in make-up and mineral makeup? Also, I was looking at Sally B’s Get Even powder and it has mica and boron nitrate in it. Those sound scary. Are they okay to put on the face?

  • Meli

    I am also waiting for Kimberly’s replies on her suggestions for hair and face products. I dying to know! I really can’t afford to waste money on trying out random products. Please give us some recommendations, Kimberly.:-)

    • Tristian

      No Poo Shampoo. Anything that lathers. I use baking soda and water. once a week I wash just my roots with the tiniest amount of all natural shampoo. I also use all natural soaps for face and skin care. My skin has never been so radiant! :) I will wash my face sometimes with baking soda as well. It makes my skin smooth and vibrant. Make sure you have a good diet, because that contributes to your skin and hair too. Good luck! :)

  • Claudia

    Hi Kim :)
    I was hoping to purchase Invisible Zinc.
    And would most likely go for the tinted moisturizer rather than wearing my foundation and with the slight colour it will help cover my terrible skin at this stage since I have been drinking a green smoothie every morning and limiting dairy this should clear up soon.
    But I wanted to ask you what you thought on these ingredients.Please find below complete ingredient lists for the two requested products.

    Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear
    Active ingredients
    Zinc Oxide
    Full ingredients
    Water, Zinc Oxide, Isopropyl Myristate, Cyclomethicone, PEG-7 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Polyethylene, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Iron Oxide CI77492, Iron Oxide CI77499, Iron Oxide CI77491

    Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield
    (+/-):, CI 77891, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499


  • Kayleen

    Hi Kimberly,
    I notice you mention “no tap water” and get a “good water filter” in quite a few of your articles/tips. Any suggestion on filters? Do basic Brita or Pur filters work or are there better filters you would recommend? Thanks!

  • Misty

    I’m curious what you think of retinol, vitamin A skin care products.

    • Kimberly Snyder

      There are different forms of vitamin A, some more irritating and some more natural than others. I’ve read research that they should not be used by women who are pregnant. I am also doing a skincare blog soon, stay tuned for that.

  • Kelli

    I was wondering if anyone uses Arbonne Skin care? It is “all natural” and was curious on peoples thoughts.

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  • LHales

    I was in love with my Chanel Chance but would get a headache daily… finally realized it was from the perfume. Switched to an all natural blend of perfume oils specially made to resemble the same notes and feel better; I get even more compliments now because of the way it reacts with my skin!

  • wellnessminded

    Wow, awesome article, so much great information! I spent years spinning my wheels trying to find a product for my skin that was not harmful and didnt contain awful or toxic ingredients. I used to use just plain coconut oil but that really wasnt doing the trick so I started using this product called The Gud Stuff. I use the plain paradise unscented b/c it has no fragrance. IT HAS BEEN AMAZING on my skin. My skin is NEVER dry anymore and super radiant. it’s so awesome. I loove it. hope it works for you! Cheers!

  • http://www.aupair-australia.net miryam aubert

    Dear Kim

    we are all asking what skin care products do you use please
    face creams, etc please

  • Marie

    Natural cosmetics and skincare can often include essential oils, lemon, Eucalyptus, etc which are all horrible for your skin and its collagen! Research this. I used to use lemon lip balm and could never understand why my lips were so horribly dry. I love all- natural and certainly organic, as I am a vegetarian and eat a very healthy diet. I am 56 and my skin is amazing – a lot has to do with genetics and the rest is tons of antioxidants, no essential oils and daily moisturizer and sun protection.

    Just mentioning…..

    • Jody

      I love essential oils and thot they were good for me.. I use lavender on itchy mosquito bites and love my rose oil in glycerine.. what do you use for sunscreen and moisturizer?

  • Liz

    How do you feel about the Brita water bottles that come with the filters inside? I know since they are plastic you are probably not a fan, but it is hard to find filtered water at school or when traveling. Thank you for your wonderful information! I love watching my body change before my very eyes.

  • Summer L.

    I am finding all of this so interesting. What’s sad is that the products that are good for you cost so much more than the ones that are not good for you (same thing with food). What do we do when we are on a very limited budget? It’s like we’re stuck. As far as cleaning products, I know things like white vinegar are cheap, so that’s not a problem. But it’s the health & beauty stuff and the organic foods that will kill my small budget. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • http://www.melaleuca.com Keshia

      Well have you ever heard of melaleuca? These products are very safe and they are produced from the plant which repopulates itself. It’s concentrated so theres much more than what you get in stores and theres no toxic chemicals. They have everything from food, cleaning products, make up, and lotions just to name a few. Thanks

  • cindy

    I would like to know if Virgin Coconut Oil can be used as sunscreen. I want to be able use a natural sunscreen. Could this be used on a 6 year little girl? Thank you for your advice

  • Luisa

    Dear Kim, I am concern with what you say about plastic bottles and the poison that leech into our water. If i boiled the water first from the plastic bottle would that still make the poisoning to our water. I use 5 gallons water bottle right from the cooler, and I use it deliverily in all my household needs, like cooking, drinking, for my smoothies, for my plants etc…. but now my concern is how safe is to drink from this plastic bottle everyday for everything. Please, let me know if I boiled the water will make a significant improvement to my water.?
    Luisa Esposito

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    This is great green product we use daily, stay healthy and save a lots of money since we eliminated all toxic chemicals in our household.
    I glad to help answer any question you could make.

  • http://www.melaleuca.com Keshia

    Well If any of you are Looking for A safer better way to get the toxic chemicals out of your home, melaleuca has great products and it helps with bettering your health too.

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