Why is it necessary to know the ingredients that make up a product? The answer is quite disturbing: it’s because they contain toxic chemicals. From baby toys to cosmetics and food, we are bombarded by these harmful chemicals every day sometimes without our knowledge. These toxic chemicals are not the first thing you think about when you apply your moisturizer in the morning, when you smell your boyfriend’s Cologne, or when you wash your clothes. Unfortunately, there are thousands of these toxins that have fallen through the cracks of labeling and found residence in your laundry basket and your bathroom.
According to a U.S. Researcher’s Report, 1/8 of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are either industrial chemicals, carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins or hormone disruptors. Some even include plasticizers which are chemicals that are used to keep concrete soft. Being vegan, I care very much about what is absorbed through my pores and am very concerned about the carbon footprint of the products I buy. Putting the money towards products that do not contain these chemicals is a no-brainer to me, but I admit that I was sickened at the level of toxicity of some products. The most common toxins, known as ‘the dirty dozen’, can be found in around 80% of personal care items and laundry detergents. There is a massive loophole in labeling laws. I was surprised to find out that Tide was at the top of the toxic list. Tide has the highest level of 1,4 dioxane (63 PPM), a petrochemical found in paint and varnishes, which is a carcinogen. It is even considered dangerous when inhaled (like when you smell your clean clothes) and is absorbed by your body when you sweat.
Toxic ingredients have found their way into our products and in turn pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. I thought of naming a few, but there are thousands. Here is a list of a few TOXIC INGREDIENTS you want to avoid at all costs:
- Phenols: found in laundry detergents. Banned in the E.U. Known to cause damage to lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, it can cause serious health condition and even death in extra-sensitive people.
- Optical Brighteners: found in laundry products to alter ultra-violet wavelengths which in turn makes clothes look whiter. It is highly toxic to fishes in the sea where it ends up, causes mutation in bacteria and can trigger strong allergic reactions in humans when exposed to sunlight.
- Parabens: used in products for preservation purposes by blocking the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold. PARABENS HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN BIOPSY SAMPLES FROM BREAST TUMORS. It can be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants, shampoos, facial cleansers, food and pharmaceutical products.
- Triclosan: an anti-microbial chemical found in toothpaste and anti-bacterial soaps and gels. Considered an endocrine disruptor, therefore, can alter the thyroid gland and replicate hormones. Is causing us to become resistant to antibiotics and has been called for a ban from the Canadian Medical Association. It is highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Even more troubling is that it can be found in many items such as garbage bags, toys, linens, mattresses, toilet fixture, clothing, furniture fabric, paints, laundry detergent, facial tissues, and cosmetics.
- Phatlates: Increases the flexibility and softness of plastics. Found in nail polish, perfumes, lotions, hair spray, deodorants. Also, an endocrine disruptor which has been linked to breast cancer.
- Sunscreen Chemicals: Benzophenone, PABA, methoxycinnamate. They are all endocrine disruptors and have been known to cause cellular damage as well as cancer.
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate/ Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Found in more than 90% of personal care products as well as cleaning products. They are skin, lung and eye irritant and when bound with other chemicals can become carcinogen and have been known to cause damage to kidneys. Found in shampoos, body washes, moisturizers, mascara, and acne treatments.
Faced with this information what is one to do?? I have compiled a list of suggestions as to avoid toxic ingredients:
. Limit the amounts of toxins you expose yourself.
. Avoid chemical-laden, processed foods.
. Drink lots of filtered water.
. Buy safer and more natural products.
Many companies do not believe in poisoning their clientèle in the name of profit. One of them is Arbonne, and I sat with one of its Consultants, Rusiana Tiju, a friend of mine who truly believes in Arbonne’s vision and who was utterly shocked when I told her she needed to stop using Tide! I mention this company because I do use their products and like them. Arbonne is 100% Vegan, Gluten-Free, Cruelty-Free, GMO-Free, and Kosher. I was very impressed when she announced to me that their supplements which are nutrition based products were just labeled Drug- Free which means that they remain 100% accountable when it comes to their ingredients. Arbonne has cosmetics, personal care, spa and wellness, men’s and baby products as well as a whole array of nutritional items.
There are many other companies worth mentioning such as Tom’s of Maine, Green Beaver, Druide and Kiss My Face to name a few. I think it’s important to put our money where it counts. There is no need to expose ourselves and destroy our beautiful planet as well. There are many other safer alternatives to choose.
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