5 Toxins In Your Home

The following post is the first from aannagreer’s new contributor Jen Wade. I’m so excited to have Jen here on the blog and look forward to learning from her about health and wellness.

Many people are becoming aware of the importance of reading ingredients labels on food packages, but have no clue how to read ingredients labels on personal care and household items. You would think that because a product is on a store shelf that it is safe, but that is completely false! There are harmful chemicals that most of us are putting on and around our bodies on a daily basis and don’t realize the damages we are causing to our bodies.

Several years ago, I started to get rid of harmful toxins and chemicals in personal care and household items. As I began to research about all of the chemicals in these daily items, I started to realize there are a few key ingredients that I needed to avoid and keywords to look out for when choosing a clean and healthy product. I also learned that there are no standards that govern the words “natural” or “organic” for personal care products, so don’t get fooled by marketing jargon like “hypoallergenic”, “nontoxic”, “Dermatologist tested or approved”, and the pretty botanical packaging that comes along with it!

It’s very easy and economical to make your own personal care and household cleaning products with just a few ingredients and some 100% pure essential oils. So, we’ll be sharing Do-It-Yourself recipes each month on how to replace personal care and household items with easy non-toxic recipes. But first, let me tell you about a few ingredients to look out for in your personal care and household items and why you should switch to a non-toxic version.

1. Fragrance

Did you know that fragrances are among the top five allergens in the world and is in the same category as secondhand smoke in triggering asthma in adults and school-aged children? According to the Environmental Working Group, there are potentially hundreds of chemicals in a single product’s secret fragrance mixture and the FDA does not require companies to list the ingredients in their fragrances, as it protects “trade” secrets. So when you see the word “fragrance” on an ingredient list, know that you could be applying hazardous chemicals such as acetone, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, camphor, ethanol, ethyl acetate, linalool, and methylene chloride. Fragrances are in the category of parabens, known to be linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and cellular level changes. This article does a good job of going into more detail about the dangers of fragrances in our personal care and household items.

2. Parabens (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates)

The EPA states all parabens- methyl, propyl, and butyl, are endocrine disruptors, contribute to reproductive and developmental disorders, learning problems, and immune system dysfunction. Look out for ingredients that start with these paraben words.

3. Phthalates

There’s a group of chemicals that are used in personal care and cosmetic products known as phthalates, which are known to be carcinogens as well as endocrine disruptors. You most likely won’t see the word “phthalate” on an ingredients list but you will see terms such as: parfum, other, DEP (diethyl phthalate), DBP (dibutyle phthalate), DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate)

4. DEA (diethanolamine)/ MEA (monoethanolamine)

These are wetting, thickening, and foaming agents commonly found in shampoos, bath products, lotions, liquid hand soaps, shaving products, deodorants, and cosmetics. These chemicals have been shown to interfere with normal brain development and can form carcinogenic compounds when they mix with the other chemicals in products as they sit on the shelves. These chemicals are readily absorbed into the skin and linked to stomach, esophagus, liver, and bladder cancers.

5. SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)/ SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)/ ALS (Aluminum Laurel Sulfate)

These are chemicals found in shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, deodorant, soaps, cosmetics, and detergents that have been linked with many health problems such as cancer, skin irritation, hormone imbalance, reproductive disorders, and eye irritations.

So there you have it! I hope this list is helpful in showing you how to find the big No No ingredients to look out for on ingredients labels of your personal care and cleaning products that you use in your home. For more details and information about chemicals in your personal care and household items, check out these two books: Super Natural Home or Planet Home. I read these when I was pregnant with my first son and they about gave me severe anxiety attacks! I thought everything in my home was going to cause me cancer! But then I realized that you have got to take baby steps. Replace products in your home slowly, one product at a time, so that over a period of time you have a new non-toxic supply of personal care and home cleaning supplies. I’m so excited to help you all learn how to replace your daily products with simple and non-toxic recipes in the upcoming months!

Visit www.ewg.org for information regarding non-toxic products and www.cosmeticdatabase.com for safety scores and information regarding personal care and cosmetic items.

(Photo by Eden Greer. Check out more of Eden’s beautiful photography here.)


Posted by Aanna on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015


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