Children and teens are especially susceptible to chemicals. While the FDA does test chemicals and additives to see if they cause cancer, they do not look at the effects these chemicals may have on our growing children. In fact, children products are notoriously toxic. They do not test how it may accumulate in children. They do not test the hormonal effects or potential learning disabilities associated with additives. And then there is the potential problems missed from mixing chemicals by exposure to a variety over a short period of time.
The list of chemicals in any one product is staggering, just look at an ingredient list and try and pronounce them all. Most ingredients that are listed are harmful chemicals proven to cause cancer and birth defects. According to the Environmental Defense Group, some 78% of the chemicals in personal care products have not even been tested for toxicity. While Europe has stricter standards, the U.S. government does not police all chemical ingredients in personal care items. Companies are allowed to do it because it's only a "minute amount" of this or that bad chemical. The theory is that a little bit can't hurt. But the reality is that all those minute amounts are compounded into all the luscious creams, lotions, shampoos, perfumes, sprays, deodorants, cosmetics. On top of that, we use these products daily, thus compounding the cocktail of chemicals into our body on a regular basis. And, unbeknownst to us, the ingredient list doesn't include everything because many combinations are protected as "trade secret."
But we can take steps to safeguard ourselves. Choose companies that take an interest in our health, not just their bottom line in creating effective yet safe products:
- Aubrey Organics
- Badger Balm
- Dr. Bronner's
- Earth Mama Angel Baby
- Kiss My Face
- Labels on the front are for sales purposes when it comes to personal care items. Organic does not necessarily mean safe for personal care products. It's a marketing ploy. There are currently no certifications for personal care products to be organic, though it is in the works. Choose companies that truly offer organic ingredients not just an organic smattering so they can highlight that on their label or, my favorite, when they say it's 90% organic because it's, oh, 90% water infused with organic essential oil.
- Make sure your hair coloring is lead-free free and read to avoid other harmful chemicals.
- Personal care items should be free of Sodium-Laureth/Lauryl Sufite or SLS and Parabens, and other harmful chemicals.
- Lipstick does indeed get ingested as we eat, drink, kiss, and lick our lips . Many lipsticks contain lead. Choose lipstick with ingredients that you would eat since after all, you are going to eat it.
- Choose nail polish that is formaldehyde and toluene free.
- Perfumes can include a laundry list of items not on the label. Most include hormone disrupters, phthalates, and artificial fragrances. Phthlates are known hormone disrupters leading to issues in fertility; they have been linked to birth defects. Once you understand what's in there, the aroma won't be as alluring. Choose pure essential oils instead.
- If pregnant, you are sharing what you spray and put on your skin so choose carefully for the health and safety of your wee one.
Link for more information:
- Skin Deep, Environmental Working Group
- Are Your Products Safe?, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
- Come Clean Campaign, Organic Consumers Association
This post is part of two Carnivals:
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