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Category: chemicals

12/01/11 05:14 - ID#55632

Tale of a Nail Wimp.

I obviously wasn't thinking much or even clearly last week. I have weird-feeling nails now thanks to that phase of temporary brain-fog.

I unconsciously scrubbed my kitchen and bathroom sinks without any gloves on. The bleach eroded the top layer of my nails and my palm skin off. It looked pretty scary. Moisturizing didn't make any difference. I was afraid that my nails would just keep unraveling, become brittle and fall off before the new growth had a chance to come in.

My bout with fogged non-existent thought processes didn't end there.

I don't own any clear nail polish and didn't want to get an entire bottle, so I actually went in to a nails parlour to see if they could apply a clear coat of polish to the damaged nails. They gave me a manicure. I should have just walked out, but I didn't because I was too worried about the rough and torn appearance of my nail surfaces... and I admit I was curious about how my nails would look like with a coat of polish (even though I could not bring myself to select anything other than clear polish).

It was a really bad idea. I should have listened to the tiny voice in my head that usually warns me about impending doom. It was totally yelling and I ignored it. The result is my nails feel weird now. I know that there are no nerve endings on nails but I can actually feel the coat of clear polish on them. It is almost as if my nails are having trouble breathing and moving. Ugh, how do people tolerate this weird-feeling? It doesn't feel good at all to have this extra sensory input from things that usually stay out of my conscious senses. I want to rub off the polish but I don't want any more chemicals on my nails - at least for now. Nail polish remover seems worse than nail polish for eroded nails.


I guess there is a positive aspect to this nail drama. It's good to know that I haven't missed anything by not owning any nail polish all these years and I am pretty sure now that I can live the rest of my life without it. And it doesn't pay to scrub sinks without gloves on.

(e:lilho), you are not just a fashion icon, you are a brave woman.
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Category: chemicals

09/04/11 07:11 - ID#55091

Shower soap

Hmm. more chemicals that I don't know about in my shower soap:

  • Sodium laureth sulfate
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Polyquarternium-7
  • Glycol Stearate
  • Decyl Glucoside
  • Hydroxypropyl
  • Methylcellulose
  • Sodium PCA
  • tetrasodium edta ( this is a chelating agent, it prevents blood from clotting. I guess it must be preventing clumping here. but what effect does it have on the skin? how potent is this?)
  • triethanolamine
  • methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • methylisothiazolinone

Probably okay
  • Water (Well of course)
  • Sodium Chloride (ditto for this)
  • Butyrospermium Parkii (Shea Butter)
  • Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5)
  • fragrance
  • citric acid

The list is the scariest because I really have no idea about some of these.

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Category: chemicals

09/04/11 06:55 - ID#55090

Palmolive dish washing liquid

The label is not on the bottle of dishwashing fluid so I had to look this one up on the Colgate website


  • Water: Consistency
  • Ammonium C12-15 Pareth Sulfate: Cleaning and Foaming Agent
  • SD Alcohol 3-A: Controls Thickness and Clarity
  • Lauramidopropylamine Oxide: Cleaning and Foaming Agent
  • Sodium Chloride: Controls Thickness (okay, this is salt)
  • Magnesium Sulfate: Controls Thickness
  • Fragrance: Pleasant Scent
  • Poloxamer 124: Controls Thickness
  • Pentasodium Pentatate: Maintains Product Stability
  • Preservative: Maintains Product Freshness
  • Sodium Bisulfite: Maintains Product Stability
  • Dyes: Color - yeah, what exactly?

I don't know about many of these chemicals. Their descriptions seem tame enough but who knows what lies beneath. I am somewhat rushed for time to verify each thing on that list. So there it is. I am exposed on a daily basis to these and I actually like washing dishes.
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Category: chemicals

09/04/11 01:09 - ID#55088

Italian Raisin Bread

Italian Raisin Bread baked in a brick oven. Distributed by Mastroianni Brothers Bakery Incorporated (518) 355-5310
51 Opus Blvd, Schenectady, NY 12306
  • Potassium Bromate.

Good grief. I am merrily eating this while it has been banned in Sri Lanka and China and has escaped a ban here because of a bureaucratic regulation loophole.

In the United States, it has not been banned. The FDA sanctioned the use of bromate before the Delaney clause of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act—which bans potentially carcinogenic substances— went into effect in 1958, so it is more difficult for it to now be banned. Instead, since 1991 the FDA has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it. In California a warning label is required when bromated flour is used.

I am on the last slice. It's delicious but I am placing a personal kitchen ban effective from the next minute. And I just wrote to the store to consider discontinuing this bread.
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Category: chemicals

09/04/11 11:34 - ID#55085

The product label project.

I have wanted to do this for the longest time. It's completely boring to anyone except me but I want to maintain a running list of every single chemical I apply on my skin or eat that I don't know about. It's fascinating how much chemicals dominate our lives.

I pretend that I am avoiding a ton of it by religiously reading labels to everything I consider buying. But I do end up getting stuff to eat or cosmetics that have unknown compounds in them. I don't know what the roles of these chemicals are or what they are capable of messing up in my body. I place my blind trust in the fact that they can't be excessively harmful because *someone out there* is definitely regulating them.

Fact is, there is very little regulation. Products that proudly proclaim that they are not been tested on animals actually scare me. I get all the arguments of PETA and animal rights activists and their gory pictures of animal suffering are shocking. But let's face it. At some point, we need to draw the line at just how much we want to compromise safety and health for humans in favour of "humane treatment of animals". Scientific research has primarily reached its current status because we could use animals to test our experiments.

We cannot emulate the living system otherwise. We cannot foresee the consequences of chemicals on living systems if we have never tested them on any. You cannot persuade me that reactions that you have seen on cell cultures come close to what happens in real life. My cynicism stems from first hand experience of the limitations of non-living systems for experimentation. It seems so paradoxical to me that we have such complicated and expensive clinical trials for drugs consumed by a minority sick population and yet NO regulation or trials for products that a vast majority of the general population uses and consumes daily and all the time. Prevention is definitely nowhere in the agenda here.

Another alternative is of course to use just edible and known natural substances in everything. While this is a logical and perfect alternative to the dilemmas of animal testing, it is also sometimes not very practical in today's world where products are global rather than local in their distribution and audience.

Anyway, I just ate some hummus:
It had "less than 0.5% of":
  • Sorbic Acid
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Phosphoric Acid

Preservatives. But why can't salt and olive oil suffice? Maybe I need to just make my own Hummus from (e:libertad)'s awesome (secret?) recipe.
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