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Spooky Ingredients Lurking in Your Household Products

Posted by Christopher Picerni on
Spooky Ingredients Lurking in Your Household Products

As Halloween approaches, it's the perfect time to shine a light on some truly spooky elements that might be hiding right under your sink or in your bathroom cabinet. While a certain level of toxicity is unavoidable in today’s modern world, it's important to consider the ingredients in our household products. In this blog post, we'll expose some eerie ingredients that frequently haunt common household items, and shed light on how you can make better choices for a healthier and happier home.


Parabens are commonly found in cosmetics, shampoos, and lotions. Although they act as preservatives, parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, potentially disrupting hormonal balance. This ghastly ingredient has been linked to various health concerns, including breast cancer. Many natural cosmetic companies are now creating “preservative-free” versions of their formulas, so keep an eye out as those enter the market!


Phthalates are often concealed within fragrances in household products like air fresheners, cleaning agents, and personal care items because they are designed to help the scent of the product stick around longer. These compounds can interfere with the endocrine system, potentially causing reproductive and developmental issues. Opt for phthalate-free products to keep these invisible phantoms at bay.


You probably know that formaldehyde is used for embalming (eek), but did you know it may also be lurking in your home? Formaldehyde, a colorless gas, can hide in household cleaning agents, nail polishes, and even hair straightening products. Exposure to this spine-chilling chemical can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, and is classified as a human carcinogen. 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS):

SLS is a common ingredient in shampoos, soaps, and toothpaste, giving them their foamy consistency. However, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can cause skin irritation, dryness, and potential long-term damage. In the mouth, use of SLS in toothpaste can lead to ulcers. While a less foamy soap or shampoo may not be as satisfying, trust us, your skin and scalp will thank you!

Artificial Colors:

Artificial colors can be found in a myriad of household products, from cleaning agents to packaged foods. These deceptive hues may harbor potential carcinogens and allergens, haunting your health. For example, Red 40, a common artificial color, has been associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Choose products colored with natural alternatives like fruit and veggie juices for a spook-free kitchen.

Synthetic Fragrances:

The term "fragrance" covers dozens, if not hundreds, of chemicals on product labels. It’s hard to determine as a consumer what you’re actually getting when an ingredient list contains “fragrance”, so it’s best avoided. As mentioned above, synthetic fragrances can harbor harmful phthalates and other undisclosed toxic chemicals. Opt for products that explicitly mention natural or essential oil-based fragrances to avoid these lurking spirits, or look for the “fragrance-free” label.

In the season of ghouls and ghosts, let's not forget the potential spooks hiding in our everyday household products. Being aware of the ingredients we bring into our homes allows us to make informed choices for our well-being. Using the EWG’s Skin Deep® Database is a great resource for double-checking the safety of the personal care products you purchase. Make your house a haunt-free environment and embrace the spooky season worry-free!

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