Since the early 2000’s the world has started to seriously look at the overwhelmingly negative effects of endocrine disruptors on health and human welfare. These largely man-made chemicals have steadily become a growing concern and strong moves to ban them in the EU from being used in personal care products, food preservation, cleaning products, pesticides etc. have been made. Sadly, in the US only a precautionary approach to protecting the public has been taken and currently the US has banned about 11 toxic chemicals compared to the over 1300 banned in the EU. The banned chemicals in the EU are comprised of endocrine disruptors and carcinogens to name a few.
So what are endocrine disruptors? According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.” Some of these adverse effects include infertility, endometriosis, hormone mimicry (estrogen and androgen) which can lead to cancer, infertility, polycystic ovaries, liver damage, thyroid disease, obesity etc.
How does our endocrine system work? While the endocrine system is highly complex the simplest explanation is as follows: The endocrine system is made up of glands that produce and secrete hormones; chemical substances produced in the body that regulate the activity of cells or organs. These hormones regulate the body’s growth, metabolism (the physical and chemical processes of the body), sexual development and function, sleep and mood. Additionally, the endocrine system is made up of the following glands: hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal glands, pineal body, reproductive glands and the pancreas. With that said, it is not hard to see that the endocrine system is critical to our health and well-being. If it becomes compromised in any way our body can be affected by a cascade effect that impacts everything from how we feel to major organ functioning many of which can be irreversible.
Beware of endocrine disruptors. The list of known and potential endocrine disruptors is long and they are both natural and man-made. They include dioxins, PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls), phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), various pesticides, talc, atrazine, perchlorate, mercury, fire retardants, lead, arsenic, PFC’s and many more.
Did you know… In the United States, despite the known adverse effects, it is still legal to include these and many more endocrine disrupting chemicals and substances in our personal care products (it is also important to note that they are used in food preservatives, cleaning products, toys, and packaging). We purchase these products with the intent to nourish our skin, hair and bodies and it is disconcerting at best to know that a very large percentage of these products are in fact not a safe choice for us and for our families.
The majority of perfumes on the market are synthetic and are filled with dozens of potentially hazardous chemicals. In addition to phthalates (a known endocrine disruptor), perfumes can contain carcinogens, skin irritants and lung irritants.
So, how do you protect yourself and make the absolute best choices for you and your loved ones when it comes to perfume, make up, skincare and other personal care products? Begin by reading all product labels…
Perfumes. Choose natural perfumes. Natural perfumes are the safest (and most luxurious) choice as they are comprised of only essential oils and resins and should contain no chemical preservatives.
I created LURK for the purpose to provide safe, luxury perfumes for both men and women. My perfume oils contain no chemical preservatives (the USDA organic jojoba is the natural preservative). LURK eau de toilettes contain a natural USDA organic (proprietary) preservative blend of wild thyme and marjoram.
Pay attention to material sourcing. Raw material sourcing is also critical. The ingredient itself is just as important as where it comes from and how it was grown, harvested and rendered. Look for brands that only source the safest, sustainable ingredients, if pesticides were used to grow the plant then it follows that pesticide residues will accompany that ingredient throughout its life cycle. Look for brands that have short supply chains with high safety standards and strong ethics. Brands should also be willing to be transparent about their ingredients and methods.
I hand blend and compound each LURK perfume using only 100% pure essential oils that are sustainably sourced, organic and/or supercritical (CO2) extracted. I formulate to produce the purest, safest products possible that are sophisticated, complex and provide for a beautiful experience. My perfumes contain none of the synthetics or chemicals associated with mainstream perfumery and skincare and do not contain oils that have been diluted, engineered or fractionated. LURK’s purpose and commitment is to create perfumes that sustain the living and olfactive quality of our oils and providing a new level of safe, authentic luxury.
Cosmetics and Skincare
- Purchase products with an ingredient list you can pronounce. When an ingredient deck is filled with chemicals we can’t pronounce it should be clear that it is most likely not a healthy choice.
- Choose the freshest, most natural products possible. Remember that many of these products will have a shorter shelf life because they contain fresh, natural ingredients. Don’t overbuy.
- Know which preservatives are safe to use. There are now also dozens of brands that offer natural products with safe preservatives (i.e. leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, rosemary oil extract, antioxidants etc.) These brands have longer PAO (Period After Opening) and also are safe choices. Select products packaged in BPA free packaging or glass.
- Steer clear of products that generically list “fragrance” in the ingredients. There are endless toxic chemicals found in “fragrance” and they are not regulated or required to be listed on an ingredient deck. They are simply hidden in the word “fragrance” and those ingredients are protected by “trade secret” laws. Chemical “fragrance” shows up in absolutely everything from face washes to candles, cleaning products, sunscreen and make up and should be avoided.
By choosing LURK Perfume you are making a confident choice in your well being and health. We provide perfumes that are 100% pure essential oils with no additives, synthetics, compounds, fixatives, preservatives, GMO’s, phthalates, or parabens. Our perfumes are a healthy, organic, luxurious choice that promotes a new way of experiencing perfume.
This is an important and complex topic and this article serves as an introduction. I encourage everyone to do their own research and to consult the Environmental Working Group and The Endocrine Society for more information.