We can spend a lot of time optimizing our health by what we put into our body. Eat a nice grass-fed steak or sauteed organic vegetables, and your putting chemical-free nutrition straight into your body and improving your health. It is doable in the world of food to make sure that you are not ingesting chemicals that work against your health.
But there is a whole other world out there. A world where things aren’t as cut and dry as buying an organically grown chicken from a local farm. What I’m talking about are the chemicals that are abound in the products we put ON ourselves. Our clothing, our sheets, our household cleaning products, our cosmetics, all of these products carry with them many ingredients that we have never heard of. There are many thousands of chemicals in use in our household products. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are associated with increased risk of cancer,allergies and autoimmune disorders, heavy metal toxicity, endocrine disruption, infertility, and more. We are constantly exposed to these chemicals in one way or the other through out the day. It’s no wonder why so many environmental illnesses are more prevalent today. Let’s dig into some specifics!
We spray them on everything and then have direct skin contact with them. Before I heard about all of these chemicals I never bothered to look at the labels of typical cleaners. Here are a few common ingredients that we should be steering clear from.
- Look for 1,4-Dioxane. This is commonly found in liquid detergents, and is a known carcinogen. Look out for ingredients like PEG,polyethylene,polyethylene glycol, and polyoxyethylene.
- Synthetic fragrances like what are found in most deodorants, shampoos and soaps, and cleaning supplies. They emmit VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), which are known to disrupt the central vervous system, irritate the lungs, and contribute to cancer. Look for unscented or products that are naturally scented.
- All purpose cleaners containing diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA). These react to form nitrosomines, which are known carcinogens.
Instead use things that accomplish the same goals without all of the baggage of chemicals and chemical byproducts. Look for brands like 7th Generation. They make a VOC-free all purpose cleaner, as well as many other products that are cost effective and safe for your home. Use whole ingredient cleaners like baking soda, white vinegar, lemon, natural soaps, and borax.
Personal Care Products
These are a biggie. Most brands of makeup, shampoo, skin care products, and all personal care items contain what are known as the “dirty dozen”. Before I learned of this list I was not aware of the dangers of many of these items, often found in “natural” products. Check out this useful report from the David Suzuki Foundation for more details. Here is a short explanation of each.
- BHA and BHT- A preservative in many cosmetics and foods. A classified carcinogen and endocrine disruptor.
- Coal Tar Dyes- Often listed as Blue-1 or P-phenylenediamine. Associated with cancer and heavy metal toxicity.
- DEA, MEA, TEA- Causes liver cancers and pre-cancerous changes to the thyroid and skin
- Dibutyl Phthalate- Often found in hair dyes and nail polish. It is a known endocrine disruptor and contributes to liver and kidney failure. A related ingredient called DEP is a common fragrance in most products. Look for ingredients like “parfum” or “fragrance”, and turn the other way.
- Formaldyhyde-releasing preservative- This slowly releases amounts of formaldyhyde, a known preservative and carcinogen.
- Parabens- Found in up to 90 percent of personal care products. A known sex hormone and endocrine disruptor.
- Parfumaka Frangrance (parfum)- Can trigger allergic reactions, migraines, and is associated with neurotoxicity and cancer.
- PEG (polyethylene glycols) – A potent skin contaminant. Often contaminated with 1, 4-Dioxane, a carcinogen.
- Petrolatum-In many skin moisture and hair care products. A skin irritant and allergen.
- Siloxanes ( cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane and cyclomethicone)- May impair human fertility and influence neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.
- Sodium laureth sulfate- Often contaminated with 1, 4-Dioxane. Even in organic or natural products.
- Triclosan-Found in most household products including sheets, trashbags, matresses, ect. Interferes with hormone function and is a skin irritant.
Whew! Check out brands like EO, Everyone, Dr. Bronners, and Crystal for person care products that are free of anything harmful and contain just what you need. For an amazing selection of personal care products where the labels have already been read for you, go to Thrive Market. Thank me later.
Thats it everyone. Make sure to check out those brands and make your home a healthier place for you and your family. Sign up below for a free copy of our ebook, 3 Elements To Lifelong Health, and a weekly email filled with health tips!
Elliot Steele is a Primal Health Coach based in Chelan WA. He strives to empower those looking to regain their health after a lifetime of misinformed practices. This is the essence of Steele Back Your Health, to truly learn how to be healthy with sustainable habits. Check out the coaching and blog page for more info!