By Diane Elkin
Holistic Health Coach and WRASH Member
There has been a lot of talks recently about the use of pesticides, specifically the herbicide glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup). A recent study by the University of Washington revealed the use of glyphosate raises the cancer risk of those exposed to over 40%. Knowing this information, it is safe to say no one is rinsing their hair with glyphosate or using it as a lotion on their skin.
A topic that is rarely discussed, however, is one that affects every person that has ever used any personal care products. These products include soaps, lotions, deodorants or fragrances, makeup, nail products, and more. According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, the average person is exposed to over one hundred chemicals from their personal care products and cosmetics before leaving their house in the morning. While most people assume their products are safe, the list of ingredients is mostly unregulated even though cancer-causing ingredients are in the formulation. Used long term, day after day, and month after month this has the potential to cause our bodies harm.
In 1938 the Food and Drug Administration was given authority to oversee the safety of personal care products; however, the products are rarely tested, and they are not well regulated. Buying products with the words “natural” or “botanical” mean very little since these claims have no legal definition. As it stands today, the safety of personal care products and cosmetics is the responsibility of the company that makes them. Also, as it stands today, there is no requirement for the company to test a new product or chemical that is being introduced. If testing is performed, they are not required to release whatever data they collect. This is a flawed system.
What this means to you and I is that just because a product is on the shelf at Wal-Mart or Bath and Body Works doesn’t guarantee that it is safe or without risks. What are we to do if the regulators aren’t regulating and the testers are not testing? It is up to us, as the consumer, to learn how to read a list of ingredients before we decide to expose ourselves and our family to potential toxins. With a few simple changes, we can reduce our exposure and toxic burden.
The most common toxic ingredients to look for are:
* Sulfates (sodium lauryl, sodium laureth, etc.)
* Parabens (any form: -paraben, methylparaben, propylparaben, etc.)
* Phthalates (dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate, fragrance, MMP, MEP, MiBP, DMP, DEP, DiBP)
Making small changes over time can make a huge difference in your health and well being. There are lots of safe and effective products available today for you to begin substituting for your old products. Making these changes doesn’t have to be hard, and it is an area of your life where you have complete control to make clean choices. Visit www.ewg.org/skindeep as a resource for safer alternatives.