Recently, I came across some information I found very disturbing, and extremely important. So, after further research, it became clear that this information needed to be shared. I'm sure you've all heard that it is better for the environment to use natural cleaning substances such as vinegar and baking soda in the kitchen. But, do we give any thought to our personal hygiene products?
What I found is that many of the ingredients found in our shampoos and soaps, etc. - even baby care products and toothpaste - are toxic chemicals that are very bad for our skin and hair, not to mention our eyes, even our internal systems. Now, I know many of you are thinking 'yeah, yeah, yeah…everything causes cancer' but this is different. These are not some mild chemicals rumored to be cancer-causing. These are actual caustic agents, some of which are classified by the EPA, etc. to be harmful to both humans and the environment.
These chemicals are so common in our bath and skin care products that one would have to search high and low to find a product that does not contain at least a few of them. Even worse, these chemicals are not necessary at all. In fact, in other countries where the chemicals are banned from use, these same producers are able to create their products without adding them. Unfortunately, information suggests that the personal hygiene and cosmetic industry in the US is allowed to self-regulate. This leaves them free to expose consumers to more than 25,000 chemical additives without oversight. These same chemicals can be found in anti-freeze, automobile engine degreasers, even garage floor and boat cleaners.
Obviously, such a number is beyond the scope of this reporter to cover. Thus, I will list just a few of those that are widely found. These include: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and variations of it like Sodium Laureth Sulfate; Cocomide DEA as well as derivatives and alternatives of both the Cocomide and the DEA, which would be listed as respectively as Cocomidyl Proprianol and TEA, etc. I think I spelled at least one of those correctly! Another chemical often found in products we immerse ourselves in daily is Paraben, which again comes in several forms, such as Ethylparaben and Methylparaben. You can even find Formaldehyde, Propylene Glycol, Aluminum, and GMO (genetically modified) ingredients in certain body care products. And the list goes on and on.
What also goes on and on is the list of symptoms and side effects associated with these products. While cancer may be among them, it is a very long list which includes endocrine disruption, auto-immune disorders, cataracts and other eye-related issues, tissue dryness, hair breakage, asthma, allergic reactions and conditions, even neurotoxicity…it is not a pretty picture, no matter how attractive one may feel after using these chemicals in their personal care routine.
Dr. Mercola, an eye doctor and national health care advocate, explains that using these chemical-based products may be even more dangerous than eating them would be. Chemicals pass easily through the skin into the veins below and straight into the bloodstream. This is especially true of the membranes in our eyes and mouths. In fact, my research revealed that some 2000 different chemicals were found in the umbilical cords of newborns - showing the ability of these chemicals not only to pass freely through natural barriers, but also to stay in one's system. Thus, for pregnant women, the issue is doubly-important. The good news is there are alternatives that are not only safer, but much more economical as well.
Dr. Mercola suggests seeking further information on the subject and recommends a number of books and websites in his article, which I will reference below. Additionally, I will list a number of resources for making non-toxic alternative products that are inexpensive and not difficult at all. I have personally tried several of these recipes, or similar ones, and found them to be quality mixtures that offer a healthier alternative to the expensive, chemical-laden products one finds in the store.
Toothpaste recipe (I prefer using a natural mint such as peppermint essential oil; an optional sweetener can also be included. I added a bit of raw organic honey): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSEl2Sv1RV8
Shampoo recipe (I prefer not to use castile soap as there is some indication it contains lye. I substituted a vinegar/baking soda mixture. Add about a teaspoon or two of the baking soda to the ¼ cup of vinegar. I used organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar. I also used steeped several bags of herbal tea in the water before-hand to add scent. I used a jasmine/chamomile blend, though you may prefer some other kind): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn-tbKcRrms
Laundry Soap recipe (there is an alternative recipe that adds a well-known oxygenated cleaner. I did not use that ingredient, but I was very happy with the standard recipe here and have been using it for more than a month. Even with the children playing outside during their summer vacation, their clothes came clean): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHPwTcjFCpw
Dish Soap recipe (there are several alternative recipes to this one): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge0CLqtbdAY
For the previous two recipes, the laundry and dish soap, super washing soda can also be made at home by dehydrating baking soda in the oven for about two hours. Here is a recipe for that (I did not line my pan and it worked just fine): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwSqoZfu_Mg
Deodorant recipe (I substituted organic potato starch for the arrowroot powder and it worked just as well): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bXofKySG4A
*Recipes can also be found on you tube for homemade body wash, fabric freshener, fabric softener, hair conditioner, hair detangler, lip balm, and that list goes on and on as well. There are even recipes for making your own essential oils to flavor or scent the products above but mine won't be ready until Thursday, so I can't vouch for a particular one at this point!