Saturday, March 28, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Where to get reputable information?

In this post, Much maligned ingredients: Propylene glycol, Katt asks: Recently I was in a soap group on Facebook and a woman asked me if i used propylene glycol.  At the time I had no clue what it was 'til I looked it up on your site. Besides the fact I don't use petroleum derived ingredients, I don't see what's so bad about it. So I asked her. She went off about how it caused cancer and all sorts of stuff, so I did some research and found a site called ATSDR, which stands for Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. They say all it can cause is skin irritation depending on the person. So my question is - is this a reputable site to get info from? It seems legit and basically coincides with what you say (I tend to trust what you say a lot). I just wanted to make sure I understand all ingredients before I use them and need to know a good site to get info from, not a bunch of people who bad mouth products because they don't like them. 

The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry is a "federal public health registry of the US Department of Health and Human Services". They are reputable. (Here's their take on propylene glycol!)

It's hard to know where to get information. I trust my textbooks and the studies I find through EBSCO host. I like Cosmetics Info, Paula's ChoiceChemist's Corner, and Joe Schwarcz (see his Facebook page!), to name a few.

I don't trust sites like the EWG, Skin Deep, Natural News, Food Babe, The Suzuki Foundation, and their like because they don't seem to get it right when it comes to chemistry. They rely upon studies conducted by labs no one has heard of and they don't share their data.

It's interesting how much misinformation there is out there about food and cosmetics, both relating to chemistry. The concerns about propylene glycol - it's in anti-freeze - reminds me of the Food Babe's crusade against the chemical azodicarbonamide in Subway bread, calling it the "yoga mat chemical".  You can't say that because something is in one thing, it's bad if it's in another. Water can be used to flush toilets and clean filthy vehicles, but this doesn't mean water is bad for us. 

Although I'm really flattered that you trust me, I encourage you to do your own searches to make decisions about your ingredient choices. (Shocking as it might be, I have been known to be wrong at times!) Find reputable sites and consult those regularly. If something doesn't make sense, consult another site or book to see if this is a widely held position.

Related posts:
Where do I get my information?
How do I research ingredients and make decisions about my ingredients?
How to research ingredients?
What constitutes evidence?


Marg said... is another great site, and for responsible information about essential oils, I go to the expert....

Rolanda said...

Hi Susan. Have you ever heard of a lipsomal delivery system? I have read a few things, but I am still not sure exactly what a lipsome is and what makes it a good delivery system.

Bunny said...

The place you want is Cosmetic Ingredients Review. They summarize reports and findings from all manner of scientific journals:

They list specifically irritation, carcinogenic, mutagenic, environmental, etc data. It's super useful!

sherri said...

Perhaps it's just coincidental, but since they've eliminated azodicarbonamide, that awful Subway stink anytime you're near one of their stores seems to have disappeared. For that I'm glad, even if azodicarbonamide isn't dangerous. :)

Adeeyis said...

Hey Susan!

What textbooks do you recommend? I would really like to start making my own products (more so for personal consumption) however I wanted to start learning about how everything comes together so I can select the right ingredients.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Rolanda. Check out this entry on Wikipedia for more information.

Hi Adeeyis! Check out the link "where do I get my information" in the post for my favourite textbooks!

Thanks Marg and Bunny. And Sherri - I never noticed that before, to be honest.