This pile of toiletries and cleaning products that I collected from my medicine cabinet, my dresser top, my travel toiletry bag, our bathroom vanity, and our cleaning closet;
All of it is bad for the environment.
All of it is life threatening.
All of it is going in the garbage.
No, to the eco centre, in the dangerous chemicals bin, and here’s why:
After I watched the documentary film, Stink (available on Netflix) the other day, I took a walk through my bedroom and my bathroom to peruse the labels of all of my toiletries. I was really sad and dissapointed to discover how many of the products that I put in and on my body almost every single day, have toxic, allergy inducing and cancer causing ingredients in them.
I brought up the conversation with a friend and she said “yeah.. but we’re exposed to these sorts of things all the time, I mean, it’s unavoiable anyway so what harm can it do to wear a little perfume from time to time?”
I don’t have the answer to that question because I am not a scientist or a doctor but I do know that if you’re like me, you’re not just putting on a bit of perfume once in a while.
You are also washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner, and possibly using products to set or smooth it.
You probably also wash your body with soap or body wash, shave your legs with shaving gel or cream, wash your face with face wash, moisturizer your body, your hands and/or your feet.
You probably brush your teeth with toothpaste and possibly use mouth wash. There’s a good chance you are using deodorant or antiperspirant too. And I’m guessing you do at least one, if not all, of these things
EVERY SINGLE DAY.
But wait! There’s more! It’s not just in our toiletries. It’s in our laundry soaps and fabric softeners, candles, air fresheners, room sprays, most cleaning products, baby wipes, tampons and sanitary pads, scented art supplies, toys, clothing, and more…
In his documentary, widow and single father, Jon Whelan, presents overwhelming evidence that dangerous chemicals are added to products by design, both to mask the odour of the noxious chemicals they are made with and as scent-branding, to attract new customers and keep loyal ones.
Although Europe practices precautionary principles, U.S. manufacturers are free to add any toxic chemicals they want to their products and simply call it “fragrance” or “parfum”, with out specifying what that is comprised of, until it has been proven dangerous, which can take many years for scientists to do.
Fabric softener and dryer sheets contain these fragrant toxins and much of which is circulated into your house or out to your neighbourhood (and neighbours) through your dryer vent.
Procter and Gamble, manufacturer of a long list of cleaning and personal care items, including Crest toothpaste, Dawn dish soap, Pampers diapers, Tide laundry detergent and Pantene shampoo, the representative claimed they didn’t add a carcinogenic chemical to their products, that it was just “there.”
Here’s a transcript of the conversation Whelan had:
Whelan: “I read an article online yesterday and it said something that if it has a chemical in it called 1-4-dioxane it might cause cancer. I just wanted to be sure that it’s not true.”
Representative: “It’s not something we add to the product, OK, it’s something that’s in the product.”
Whelan: “Can you tell me who adds it then?”
Representative: “Pardon me?”
Whelan: “You said you didn’t add it. I was wondering who does add it?”
Representative: “It’s in all of the ingredients. You know what I mean?”
Whelan: “No I don’t.”
Reports show that the use of toxic chemicals may not only be poisoning adults and children, but also causing damage even before birth, yet we continue to pump our personal products, cosmetics, furniture, carpeting and even clothing with it.
I have found a ton of recipes for DIY/Homemade cleaning products and cosmetics, and honestly some of them, work even better than the commercial ones.
I checked my apricot face scrub on my Think Dirty app, and found out that it was full of toxins and cancer causing substance. I swapped it out for a homemade coffee cinnamon scrub that smells good, feels great and does the job WAY better than my store bought scrub!
“everything gives us cancer” is one of the most common responses I get from people.
A lot of things do now, it’s true, it’s scary and can be really discouraging. but why improve your odds unnecessarily?
Don’t have time to mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean your windows?
Yes you do! But if you feel like you don’t, there are non-dangerous products out there, and some of them are even sold in bulk so you don’t waste money on extra packaging!
Just make sure you have a look at the ingredients before you buy them, even if the label says “natural” or “green” or “clean”.
The David Suzuki Foundation has a helpful list of harmful chemicals to look out for in your personal products here: davidsuzuki.org
As does Coconuts & Kettlebells here: coconutsandkettlebells.com
EWG has guides to healthy Cleaning, endocrine disrupters, skin care, sunscreen, and more here: www.ewg.org
I read that Europe has much higher standards about what is and is not permitted as ingredients in their products, so before throwing all my favourite French perfumes in the garbage, I’m going to do a little more research, but aside from that, the rest of the lot is getting the boot.
Have you made changes to the cleaning and personal products you purchase?
Do you make any of your own or have a favourite resource for recipes?
Please feel free to share and inspire our community!