Because it's confusing to remember all of those complicated nasty chemicals we're going to get you started by giving you a list of 12 of the top offenders. Type these into your smart phone and use the list when you're choosing your products and you'll be in pretty good shape. This list is courtesy of the David Suzuki Foundation. Check out the complete report if you like here.
1) BHA and BHT - used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
2)Coal tar dyes:p-phenylenediamine adn colors listed as "CI" followed by 5 digits - used in hair dyes and cosmetics. Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals which are toxic to the brain.
3) DEA, cocamide DEA and lauramide DEA- Used in some creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers ans shampoos. Can react to form nitosamines which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and wildlife.
4) Dibutyl phthalate - In some nail polishes and artificial fragrances. Suspected endocrine disruptor and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
5) Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazoildinyl urea, quarternium-15 and sodium hydroymethylglycinate - used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer. More on this here.
6) Paraben, methyleparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben:Used as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may interfere with male reproductive functions. More here.
7) Parfum/Fragrance: Some fragrances contain phthalates that are disrupt hormones. Some contain ingredients that can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neorotoxicity and harmful to fish and other wildlife. More here.
8) PEGs: Used in some cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, which may cause cancer.
9) Petrolatum: A petroleum product that can be contaminated and potentially cancer causing.
10) Siloxanes: cyclotrasiloxane,cyclohexasiloxane, cyclomethicone: Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disruptor and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
11) Sodium Laureth Sulfate- Used in foaming cosmetics, shampoos and bubble bath. Skin irritant and can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane with may cause cancer. More here.
12) Triclosan- Used in antibacterial products. Suspected endocrine disruptor and may contribute to antbiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. More here.