Poison by Shaving: Gillette Mach 3 Turbo Gel

June 5, 2007

The Ecologist Online reports that Gillette Mach 3 Turbo Gel contains “several skin irritants, four potential carcinogens, three central nervous system poisons and two reproductive toxins.”

David Beckham is pulling in £40m campaigning for the product.

The Ecologist Online has listed the product’s ingredients along with the harmful and potentially deadly side effects reproduced here:


Palmitic acid: Emulsifier. Adverse effects: Contact dermatitis

Triethanolamine: Detergent; surfactant. Adverse effects: Contact dermatitis; May contain carcinogenic impurities

Isopentane: Solvent. Adverse effects: Breathing difficulties; Has anaesthetic effect on the skin; Dry skin; contact dermatitis, Altered heart rhythms; Dizziness; headaches; Irritating to nose and throat. A major component of gasoline vapour, and a chemical relative of isobutane

Glyceryl oleate: Emulsifier, Emollient. Adverse effects: Skin allergies; dermatitis

Stearic acid: Emulsifier. Adverse effects: Skin allergies

Parfum: Fragrance. Adverse effects: Allergen; Triggers asthmatic reactions; Skin irritation; Headache; mood swings; depression; forgetfulness. ‘Parfum’ is a collective name given to hundreds of different chemicals used to produce fragrance in cosmetics and toiletries. Most are neurotoxic and many are persistent (ie, they don’t break down in the environment and they accumulate in human tissue and breast milk). Artificial musks, common ingredients in fragrances and toiletries, are hormone-disrupting.

Isobutane: Propellant. Adverse effects: Headache; Mood swings ;Nausea; vomiting; dizziness; High doses can cause convulsions and coma. These highly flammable volatile organic chemicals accumulate in human breast milk. While isobutane doesn’t destroy the ozone layer, it does contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog, which can cause serious breathing problems.

Polytetrafluoroethylene: Film former; Friction reducer. Adverse effects:Carcinogenic; Birth defects; Weakens immune system. Also known as Teflon, this chemical belongs to the same family of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) as Scotchguard (now withdrawn from the market for safety reasons) and a range of other fabric treatments such as Stainmaster and Gore-Tex. A recent report by the US pressure group the Environmental Working Group on the PFC perfluorooctanoic acid revealed that it can be found in the blood of some 90 per cent of US citizens. PFCs are indestructible and widespread in the environment, and some observers believe that their effect on humans may make DDT look safe by comparison.

Propylene glycol: Solvent. Adverse effects: Penetration enhancer. Propylene glycol alters skin structure, allowing other more toxic chemicals to penetrate more deeply into the skin, and eventually the bloodstream.

BHT – butylated hydroxytoluene: Antioxidant. Adverse effects: Contact allergies; contact dermatitis. Potential carcinogen; May cause birth defects If absorbed, BHT can accelerate the breakdown of vitamin D, which helps maintain immunity and healthy bones and teeth.

CI59040, CI 42090: Colourings. Adverse effects: Skin irritation 42090 is a potential carcinogen 59040 is an irritant to the mucous membranes of the eyelids, mouth, nose, respiratory tract and genitals; the EU does not allow it in any preparations that come into contact with these areas 42090 is also known as FD&C blue 1, CI 59040 as D&C green 8; both are synthetic coal tar dyes.

The safety of most cosmetics products like shampoos, lotions, hair gels, deodorants, etc can be found at Skin Deep: the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database.


2 Responses to “Poison by Shaving: Gillette Mach 3 Turbo Gel”

  1. Jesse Says:

    Notice all the acids–these are great, because not only do they have the negative effects mentioned above, they are also what causes razors to wear out within several uses. If you keep your razor blade immersed in mineral oil when not in use, they last up to TEN times longer because the oil keeps them from corroding.

  2. Thanks, Jesse. That’s a great tip that I’ve never heard before.

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