Ahead of this weeks installment of How Toxic Are You? I looked into a couple of ingredients mentioned last week, which I was surprised to find in just about every cosmetic I own.
Limonene. It is a naturally derived product from the Rutaceae family of citrus plants, but according to Wikipedia, Limonene works as paint stripper when applied to painted wood!! It provides a lemony smell in cosmetics, in my particular brands it is listed as 'from essential oils'.
When I found info about Limonene on Osha(us dept. of labour) it said: Potential symptoms: Irritation of eyes, nose, throat, skin; allergic contact dermatitis. Health Effects: Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat, Skin---Mild (HE16); Skin sensitization--- Dermatitis (HE3).
And also: 3) Although chronic oral administration of d-limonene to rats caused kidney damage and kidney tumors in the males, this effect is thought to have no human relevance (IARC Group 3)... so what was the point of the animal testing?? Now I'm having to assume that Limonene as used in my products, which are against animal testing, and claim to be earth friendly and baby friendly, must be using some form of this which is truly harmless and natural??
The second one is Linalool. From wikipedia: Linalool is a naturally-occurring terpene alcohol chemical found in many flowers and spice plants with many commercial applications, the majority of which are based on its pleasant scent. That makes some sense to me as I noted that Limonene is also a terpene. I suppose this is where some good knowledge of chemistry would be useful. My educated guess would be that there are many ways of combining these natural substances to create different effects. I think the toxicity comes from synthetic versions. So perhaps these two have passed the test. I still would have to say that less is more, and I love the products (again, like Pure Nuff Stuff or Neals Yard) which sometimes have only five easily understood natural ingredients! And perform well.