Nearly every morning, we get up and have our daily shower. We make ourselves nice and clean before we start our day. Now, there is nothing bad about that is there? Well, research tells us otherwise.
According to a report published in the U.S. Journal 'Medical Hypotheses', "Traces of magnesium found in household water could be sufficient to cause permanent brain damages to those who take a regular shower." (Monsters and Critics)
But, what exactly is Magnesium, and why should we be worrying about it being in our water? Well, magnesium is a mineral that we need in order to boost our metabolism, help our nerves and muscles to function properly, keep tabs on out heart rate and encourages bone growth. But that means that we need magnesium, so what happens if we get too much of it through perhaps, our daily shower? Well, Doctors claim that if you take too much magnesium orally (as in, in the form of magnesium supplement) there is a chance that this could illness and short term diarrhoea, although this has never been confirmed. But, researchers claim that "inhaling" magnesium from the water could potentially cause a lot more harm than if we ate it. As John Spangler, of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina stated; "Inhaling manganese, rather than eating or drinking it, is far more efficient at delivering manganese to the brain. The nerve cells involved in smell are a direct pathway for toxins to enter the brain."(Monsters and Critics)
In the United States, water contains 0.5 milligrams of magnesium, and Spangler reckons that this is potentially far too much, and "could lead to brain damage", and if a person were to have showers longer than the average of "ten minutes", the amount of magnesium exposure could have far more serious repercussions, including symptoms that resemble that of Parkinson's Disease sufferers.
But water is definitely not the only part of our cleaning process that we should be worrying about.
-Shampoo and Shower Gel-
A shower experience would not be complete without shampoo, shower gel and all the other beauty products that we need, but surely they can't be bad can they? They're the things that make us clean, and smell nice. Once again, you would be wrong!
The biggest problem with our shampoos and shower gels is the use of a preservative called Paraben (look on your labels and see how many contain paraben). Parabens are used, as you might expect, to make the products last longer, so that you don't have to throw them away before you have finished them. For this reason, Paraben has its benefits, but did you know that "some paraben's - namely butylparaben and propylparaben - are under investigation by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) because of concerns about links with breast cancer and problems with the male reproductive system."(Daily Mail) Now that is a little worrying. But what worries Scientists is the idea that these Parabens could possibly "mutate" under certain circumstances, and if mixed with other things that could cause a reaction. Alcohol, for example, is also found in many products, especially cosmetics. Alcohol "can stimulate the penetration of paraben's into the skin and also the conversion of methylparaben to butylparaben, which, with propylparaben, has the greatest hormone disrupting properties in men and women." (Daily Mail)
I conducted a little research of my own, to see how many of the products that I use every single day when I have a shower contain one or more of the following ingredients: Alcohol, methylparaben, butylparaben and any other type of paraben. The results weren't entirely a surprise, but they certainly were worrying!
Somerfield Extract of Coconut Conditioner for Dry and Damaged Hair contained three varieties of alcohol; cetyl (used as a thickening agent), stearyl (commonly used as hair coating in shampoos) and benzyl (which is apparently used to eradicate head lice) and Methylparaben.
Asda Essential Care Balancing Conditioner, also contained cetyl, stearyl and benzyl alcohol, but it also contained isopropyl alcohol (used as a preservative), and two forms of magnesium; chloride (also used as a form of de-icer!) and nitrate (often used in ceramics). So, we're not only being exposed to magnesium in our water, but in some of our shampoos as well.
Asda Essential Care Strengthen and Repair Shampoo, contained magnesium chloride, and five different variants of paraben; the most commonly used methyl paraben, but also propyl paraben , butyl paraben, ethyl paraben (which also appears in food as an additive, named E214) and isobutyl paraben.
The only product that I looked at, that contained none of those ingredients was Lush's Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub.
In a period when money, for many of us, is incredibly tight, are we paying the ultimate sacrifice by buying cheaper priced products that last longer. Or is this scientists over-reacting and are the amounts of certain ingredients too small to really react in such a way? Without all the facts and whilst companies don't have to tell us the amounts of each ingredient, we might never really know.