As our world gets smarter, faster and more convenient, the products we use everyday are changing with it. Over the past 40-50 years the way we live our everyday lives has changed dramatically. The way we earn our money. The way we raise our children. The technological advances we use every single day. The way we buy our food. The products we have access to. All of this convenience comes with a cost. More evident than it ever has been, that cost is the expense of the consumer’s health.
We can’t just slather soaps and lotions on our body, soak in a tub full of chemicals and spray our eating surfaces with toxins and really think that none of it will have an impact on our bodies. These toxic ingredients by themselves are labeled as “safe for use” by the CDC and governing agencies – but what they are not able to measure is the quantity that people are taking in on a daily basis. The chemicals in your shampoo, your body wash and your face wash may be safe in and of themselves but what about when you use them all at the same time? Then you get out of your shower and wipe down with a towel soaked in more of those toxins from your laundry detergent and fabric softener. Next comes the toothpaste. The mouthwash. The body lotion. You’re barely starting your day and your body is overloaded with work ridding itself of hormone disrupting and cell manipulating toxins. Not to mention all the toxins and chemicals in our FOOD that we put in it all day! (Another day, another post). Overexposure to these many of these toxins has been linked to cancer, auto-immune disease, allergies, hormone manipulation, toxic substance overloads and more.
When is it too much and how will we know? It may take years for these toxins to bring about noticeable health problems, but everyday you expose your body to more and more of them, you may be feeding the problems you do not know yet exist. Read on to see how you can start educating yourself on these ingredients and what you can do about it in your own home.
Non-toxic. Natural. Clean. Plant-derived. Green. Eco-friendly. Made from organic ingredients.
These are all increasingly popular labels splattered across the chemical laden, toxin-filled products we use every single day. Wait. “If the label says non-toxic…shouldn’t the product be clean?” “If it’s made from eco-friendly materials, isn’t it healthier for me?” Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There’s a new word running around derived from the idea that companies are manipulating their customers into thinking their product is clean and good for the environment by the use of clever marketing, when in reality, it’s not.
“Greenwashing (a compound word modelled on “whitewash”), also called “green sheen”, is a form of marketing spin in which green PR, green values or green marketing are deceptively used to persude the public an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly.”– Wikipedia
“Greenwashing” is not only being utilized when it comes to environmental factors, but companies put these kind of labels on products that clearly are not 100% what they claim to be. Which is legal. Only a percentage of the product has to be organic before a company can use that label. And titles like plant-derived or non-toxic only have to apply to a percentage of the ingredients as well – not the whole list. Not all synthetic ingredients are harmful – but are you paying attention to which ones are?
Plays on wording aren’t the only trade secrets being utilized. Many companies use acceptable words on their ingredient list to hide a myriad of ingredients they do not have to disclose. The best example of “hidden ingredients” are the words “fragrance” or “parfum.” This is a huge trade secret among the beauty industry as well. Most of our products will contain some kind of secret scent concoction if it is not derived from essential oils.
So how do you know if the products you buy are truly safe? If you can’t trust the label, where do you look to find true clean products? Here are a few helpful tips to utilize in your search:
- Become a label expert. Turn the product around and look at the ingredient label. Learn the ingredient names you need to avoid and read the entire list.
- Avoid any product with the ingredients “fragrance” or “parfum”
- Use an app to check your products. My favorites are “Think Dirty” or “Environmental Working Group” – both of these Apps rate products on their level of toxicity. I try to use products with a score of 3 or lower.
- Research companies that have clean standards. There are companies who are trying hard to produce truly toxin-free products, but it is up to the consumer to find them and support them.
- Get back to the basics. One of the best ways we can be sure our products are clean is to make them ourselves. Here is a great article with ideas on how to do this in your own home. Some natural cleaning ingredients: Lemon juice, vinegar, castile soap, borax, baking soda, essential oils to fragrance and olive oil.
- You can even level up your homemade products by buying local and organic ingredients to use.
Don’t panic and go on a purge tossing out all of you products. I suggest replacing your products as they run out. That way you can research products one at a time and it won’t feel overwhelming. Small 1% changes every single day really add up to big results.
Any reduction you can make in the invisible toxic load your body is fighting will be beneficial and one day – it will thank you for it!
You can do this,