Spotlight on EDTA
… and why you should avoid it in your cosmetics, food and cleaning supplies.
Cosmetic product ingredients accumulate in our bodies quietly and often go unnoticed until a sudden issue pops up. It is easy to glaze over a foreign acronym when we read the ingredient list. That doesn’t make the ingredient less harmful. Here is why you should watch out for EDTA in your cosmetics, food and cleaning supplies
~ WHAT IS EDTA?
It is a common ingredient in many personal-care, cosmetic products, and yes, FOOD.
~ WHERE IS IT FOUND?
You’ll find it in moisturizers, skincare and cleansing products, personal cleanliness products, bath soaps, shampoos and conditioners, hair dyes, hair bleaches, and many other products. It’s also cleared for use in packaged foods, vitamins, and baby food.
~ WHAT IS IT MADE OF?
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid is synthesized from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde, and sodium cyanide.
~ Why is it a good idea to avoid formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde is often used in corpse preservation and embalming.
The National Cancer Institute studied workers exposed to high levels of formaldehyde (such as industrial workers and embalmers) and found that formaldehyde causes myeloid leukemia and rare cancers, including cancers of the paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity, and nasopharynx.
~ IS EDTA IN YOUR PRODUCTS?
- Extends the product’s shelf life, which translates in increased profits.
- It is a chelator and binds to certain minerals. It helps personal care products work better in hard water
- It is a penetration enhancer. That means EDTA opens the skin and allows other ingredients deeper into the skin. If your product contains additional preservatives/stabilizers (such as Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Phenoxyethanol), they will end up in the deeper levels of your skin.
~ WHY YOU AVOID SHOULD AVOID IT?
- Potent eye irritant
- Skin irritant
- It can cause/worsen eczema
- It can cause cancer – besides containing formaldehyde, it might also carry dangerous levels of dioxane, a by-product of manufacturing that is also carcinogenic.
~ TRICKY NAMES IT HIDES BEHIND:
- Edetate sodium
- Tetrasodium edetate
- Tetrasodium salt
~ BONUS TIP: It is easy to glaze over and dismiss acronyms, especially when they are foreign to us. Just because something sounds short and easy, doesn’t mean it is not harmful. As hard as it its to believe, EDTA has been approved for use in baby food. Here is a bullet list of foods highest in EDTA:
- Salad dressings, sauces, and spreads
- Pickled vegetables, such as cabbage and cucumbers
- Canned beans and legumes
- Canned carbonated soft drinks
- Distilled alcoholic beverages
- Canned crab, clam and shrimp
Yours in Beauty,