Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chemicals to Avoid Part 3: Neurotoxins

Neurotoxins are chemicals that cause damage to the cells of the brain and nervous system, and, in addition to temporary symptoms, can lead to chronic disease. Neuron bundles in the brain transmit information through conducting electrical energy. When they are damaged, they can no longer correctly conduct this energy and do their job. Different areas of the brain control different functions. Parkinson's disease ocurrs when neurons of the substantia nigra become damaged, and fine motor control is affected. When other areas of the brain are affected it can lead to chronic depression, chronic anxiety, ADD & ADHD, chronic panic attacks, chronic insomnia, chronic fibromyalgia, chronic dimentia and a number of other disorders and diseases.

Neurotoxins are found everywhere--from the drugs we take, household chemicals, and personal care products.

A few neurotoxins in personal care products:

DEET, a common mosquito repellent ingredient is a neurotoxin.

p-phenylenediamine, found in hairsprays

Propylene glycol is in many products, from shampoos to lotions. It is also an industrial anti-freeze and a neurotoxin.

Artificial Colors--names like FD&C Aluminum Lakes and such. Most are neurotoxins.

"Fragrance" can be made up of over 3000 different compounds, many of which are neurotoxins.

For a definitive list of neurotoxins, visit this page.

Up next: Formaldehyde Donors


Anonymous said...

I love all of your blogs, they are very informative.. but I don't understand.. the list of neurotoxins on the site you listed.. lists sugar (sucrose) and caffeine as neurotoxins... the sugar is what gets me the most.. I don't understand!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Interesting! I don't have an answer to that at this time. I mean, I can imagine that eating a lot of sugar could have effects on the brain (caffeine for sure does affect brain function, as it tricks your brain in to thinking that you're not tired). But I'll be interested to find some studies about it.

Anonymous said...

Propylene Glycol is also used in (MANY) packaged, processed foods (brownie and cake mixes, sweetened coconut; I imagine it's in there to help retain moisture and therefore achieve a desirable texture) so PLEASE read ingredient labels.