Environmental Working Group is a terrific source for learning about the products we use daily and whether they are safe or unsafe for us. As a consumer health “watch dog” informant website, I highly recommend you check them out. They take great pains to research many interesting and scary truths about the ingredients that are in all these things. Many of these products, from skin lotions to moisturizers, shampoos, dish soap detergent, sunscreens, etc. are unfortunately loaded with toxins that we would not have given much thought to.
Some interesting facts to share with you from them are underlined as follows:
• Your Body: Do not use triclosan or triclocarbon found in hand sanitzer, and bar and liquid soaps. You can use those with ethyl alcohol or ethanol. Also you may find triclosan in toothpaste, which should be avoided. Basically, these chemicals disrupt your hormones. It is safer to wash your hands well with soap and water than to use “Purell” type products. There are hand cleaners available without triclosan for use when no water is available.
• A recent lab study found the chemical to exert both estrogenic and androgenic effects on human breast cancer cells (Gee 2008). Studies of fish suggest that triclosan may have weak androgenic (Foran 2000) or anti-estrogenic effects (Matsumura 2005), while a metabolite of triclosan may have estrogenic effects (Ishibashi 2004).
Look for organic products for skin, hair, nails, soaps, cleaners, etc. if your budget allows. If you can’t afford the price of organic soaps and skin care products, then try to just splurge on the ones you would use the most, such as your allover body moisturizer and body soaps. Those products which you use on the largest amounts of your skin are the ones to worry about the most, since they are absorbed right into the liver and endocrine systems of our bodies.
For babies and children I highly recommend going all the way when it comes to buying organic for soap, shampoo and skin care, as their sensitive little bodies are most susceptible to the dangers of these chemicals. Even Johnson & Johnson is guilty of using ingredients that really are not safe. Things like petroleum (in Vaseline and other products) are actually not good for you as they are derived from petrol which is great for our cars but not our bodies! According to studies, mineral oil (a petroleum product found in many beauty products) smothers the skin (the body’s largest organ), making it impossible for it to breathe. In fact, because of the way mineral oil works, it is a poor choice for beauty products for these reasons:
• It disrupts the way the body naturally detoxifies;
• It slows the rate at which cells are renewed, thereby damaging collagen, connective tissue, and elastin – all of which contribute to the way skin looks and feels;
• It results in skin that ages prematurely
We need to be our own label reading detectives for healthful safety. Unfortunately our FDA does not protect us from the dangers of these ingredients, but you can control what you decide to buy the most of if you learn how.