Part 1 – Ingredients to avoid
Find Part 2 here
I’ve been a hippie girl my whole life. I don’t know where that connection came from because I certainly did not grow up in a hippie home. My parents were both regular folks who worked science jobs and got divorced when I was very little. I remember being a teen scrolling through my mother’s record collection and being so flabbergasted that there was only one lonely beatles album – Abbey Road. How could my mother have this whole collection of vinyl and instead of being cool – it was filled with classical guitar and the likes of Roberta Flack. This was not the hippie stuff I was looking for. Fast forward multiple moon cycles and here I am loving this planet so much so that not only do I try and eat as much organic as I can but I also try and only use certified organic products on my body.
During the past 10 years I have spent a ton of time reading labels. When we owned ShopEco in Windsor, ON I was constantly sorting through trying to understand what the best products were so that my customers could easily purchase products without having to do the research themselves. I wanted everything in our store to be straight up trustworthy. I got dupped a few times – where I had vetted a product previously and then they changed their ingredients or new information came to light – it was a constant struggle to stay on top of.
You may already know that babies being born nowadays are often already starting with quite a toxic load. In a study done by the WWF in the UK, out of 30 new babies born, all of them contained at least 5 of the 35 chemicals that this study was testing for. Some of those babies carried as many as 14 of the 35 chemicals. Another study done by the EWG in the US, stated that as a general rule each person is carrying a toxic load of over 200 chemicals on average. These chemicals can be anything from perfume, fire retardants, cosmetic ingredients, cleaning fluids, tin can linings, or even plasticizers.
In an average household you can find toxins in your kitchens (ie., oven cleaners, dishwashing liquid, automatic dishwasher detergents, as well as all purpose sprays and cleansers), in the bathroom (nail polish remover, perfumes, hair dye, cosmetics, skin care), and in the laundry (bleach, spot and stain removers, mark and scuff removers, and laundry detergent). There are also a whole host of other chemical toxins that you clean with, that you use to freshen and disinfect, and that you use around the home and garden.
Here is a small list of some standard offenders:
Animes – Monoethanolamine (MEA), Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)
These are found in many cleaning products, including oven cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, laundry pre-soaks, floor strippers and carpet cleaners. They may cause liver, kidney and reproductive damage, as well as depression of the central nervous system. Inhalation of high concentrations – when cleaning an oven for example – can cause dizziness or even coma. The chemical can also be absorbed through the skin. It is a moderate skin irritant, and a severe eye irritant.
Ammonia is found in a wide range of cleaning products and hair dyes and can be a severe eye and respiratory irritant that can cause severe burning pain, and corrosive damage including chemical burns, cataracts and corneal damage. It can also cause kidney and liver damage. Repeated or prolonged exposure to vapours can result in bronchitis and pneumonia. Ammonia will react with bleach to form poisonous chlorine gas that can cause burning and watering of eyes, as well as burning of the nose and mouth.
Bleach can be found in a wide range of household disinfectants and bleach products. It is a corrosive chemical, and sodium hypochlorite (the main ingredient) is an eye, skin and respiratory irritant, as well as a sensitiser. It is especially hazardous to people with heart conditions or asthma, and can be fatal if swallowed. It may be a neurotoxin and toxic to the liver.
Most often found in waxed paper, detergents, cosmetics, shampoos, bubble baths, and hair conditioners, athlete’s foot treatments, skin disinfectants, mouthwashes.It is classified as a Category 2 carcinogen. Low level exposure causes irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, and can cause skin and lung allergies. Higher level exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep.
Staying clear of the above mentioned ingredients will go a long way to keeping your house healthier and safer for you and your family.
Some of the best green tips out there are to start off ditching the anti-bacterial products. Microbiologists have found soap and water best for washing hands and removing germs.
When choosing a soap – choose safer soap. Those that are certified organic liquid and bar soaps or look for words like “saponified” and “soap”, which indicates it’s a true soap, and not a synthetic detergent.
Lastly avoid leave-on hand sanitisers. Leave-on hand sanitisers don’t remove the dust and dirt that can be contaminated with chemicals. Essential oil-based sanitisers are better bet because they don’t contain triclosan.
If you are looking for some help trying to figure out which products are right for you – or how to understand the labels of what you already have in your household – contact me today. I’d love to help you out.