Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

How safe is your soap? July 31, 2008

The Environmental Working Group has a website called Skin Deep. This site is an excellent resource for consumers in that it lists thousands of personal care products in an organized way and rates them on how safe their ingredients are.

“Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 25,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn’t require companies to test their own products for safety.”

At Skin Deep, you can find hundreds of specific items for hair, skin, eyes, nails, baby, oral care, fragrance, and makeup rated from 0-10, zero being the safest. Each item’s score is explained in detail and safer options are given.

I occasionally purchase an item or two at a department store but most of my everyday care products come from my local drugstore. In today’s post I’m listing safer, inexpensive bar soap choices from Skin Deep’s site that can easily be found at your local drugstore. I’ve also listed a common item with high (not safe) score as comparison.

It should be noted that although Skin Deep gives products a “moderate hazard” score, some of them contain parabens, which one study suggested may cause breast cancer due to hormone mimicking properties, fragrance, which can often mean Diethyl Phthalate or DEP, which is an endocrine disruptor that has been linked to reproductive and genital abnormalities, propylene glycol, which the FDA says is safe for general use but can cause cancer and contains toxins that affect reproduction, sodium laureth sulfate, which can cause skin and eye damage and even liver toxicity and finally, BHT, which has been linked to neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption. Items containing any of these are noted.

Bar soap with a score of 1 having a “low hazard”:

Basis Sensitive Skin Bar Soap

Bar soap with a score of 3 having a “moderate hazard”:

Dove Beauty Bar Sensitive Skin – BHT

Dial Original Bar Soap White – fragrance

Irish Spring Deodorant Soap Original 8 bar pack – fragrance

Ivory Classic Ivory Bar Soap – fragrance

Zest Bar Soap Bar, Linen Fresh – fragrance

Bar Soap with a score of 4 having a “moderate hazard”:

Zest Bath Bar Soap, Spring Burst – fragrance, sodium laureth sulfate

Bar soap with a score of 7 having a “high hazard”:

Lever 2000 Bar Soap, Energize – fragrance, propylene glycol

Visit Skin Deep and check out some of your favorite products to see how they rate. Then decide if you need to make some changes. If you do, don’t feel you need to do it all at once. Just make changes as you run out of things.

Check back with me as I’ll continue with safer choices for oral and baby care.

See an earlier post of mine called, “How Safe Is Your Shampoo & Conditioner?

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One Response to “How safe is your soap?”

  1. whitecypresses Says:

    Hi, I like your subject of going greener with our personal care items. Recently I’ve become amazed at the chemicals present in things we use everyday like soap, toothpaste, and shampoo. I’m trying to make a move onto organic personal care products. I’ve begun trying Avalon Organic Shampoo and my boyfriend Jason organic shampoo. Only to find out that Jason shampoo and other “organic certified” products have a chemical that causes cancer in it! It seems like everything we have taken for granted as safe has now become monstrously dangerous for us all. Keep up the good blogging!


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