What do some of the Conventional and/or even so called “Organic” products contain that Certified Organic products don’t?
Most conventional skin, personal and hair care products contain TEAs, DEAs, Sulfates, Glycols, Parabens, Synthetic and Artificial ingredients, Ethoxylates, Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde derivatives. A large number of toothpastes, mouthwash / mouth sprays for example contain Aspartame and Triclosan.
Research is showing that health issues from these chemicals are infertility, skin rashes, cancer, learning disabilities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Dr. Sarah Lantz, author of “Chemical Kids” states children are capable of absorbing 40-50% more chemicals than adults therefore putting them at greater risk for health issues later in life so it is important to minimise
your children’s toxic exposure across all areas including skin, hair, beauty, personal, oral and baby products as well as toxins found in conventional foods and produce.
As each country has different criteria for organic certification, some allowing a margin for non-organic and GMO ingredients it is wise for all parents to read labels and become familiar with these nasty ingredients. If you are not sure which are safe then consult the resources like the Chemical Maze or the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database of products and ingredients.
If we take personal care products as an example, what are some of the key toxins we may be putting on our bodies?
If we are to be honest about conventional products, only the cosmetics companies know what they put in their products. Not all ingredients are required to be included on the label and there are many names for the one chemcial. The list of dangerous ingredients used in cosmetics is quite long — the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has stated that nearly 900 of the chemicals used in cosmetics are toxic. Some of the major ones you definitely want to avoid are:
Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. (Methylparaben, Propylparaben, IIsoparaben, Butylparaben). They have been:
- linked to possible carcinogenic activity.
- believed to have an estrogenic impact on the body.
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked methyl parabens in particular to metabolic, developmental, hormonal, and neurological disorders, as well as various
- used in over the counter personal products as a preservative to extend the shelf life of products
- found in face, body moisturizers, body wash, deodorants and cleansers.”
Phthalates, plasticizing ingredients (present in nearly three-quarters of 72 products tested by the Environmental Working Group), which have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm-motility in adult men, among other problems. which can damage immune and nervous systems and reproductive organs.
Toluene, made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure linked to anaemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing foetus.
Triclosan is a registered pesticide. It is an antimicrobial active ingredient contained in a variety of products where it acts to slow or stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Found in a large number of personal care products it is also apparently used in toothpaste to stop gingivitis. Brushing your teeth with any toothpaste containing Triclosan can expose you to the harmful effects, which include impaired heart and muscle function and hypothyroidism.
How can manufacturers put these toxic chemicals in products?
Easily. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), analysis (2010) of the 10,500 ingredients used in the range of personal care products such as, personal, hair and skincare, toothpaste, sunscreen and nail polish products, only 13% of them have been reviewed for safety in the last 30 years, and those that were reviewed were reviewed by the Cosmetics Ingredients Review, which is run by the cosmetics industry. A report by the EWG in 2010 showed that on average, most women were likely to apply 126 different ingredients to their skin on a daily basis and roughly 90% of these ingredients have not been evaluated for safety.
Advice on how to avoid these toxic substances?
There are many non-toxic alternatives in the marketplace these days so there is no excuse not to
be using chemical free products in your everyday lives:
1. Eat organic product – minimise or eliminate processed foods.
2. Use only certified organic household, personal, skin, hair care products.
3. Use only certified organic deodorant. Do not use antiperspirants.
4. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably don’t want to put it on your body. Ask yourself,
“Would I eat this?”
5. Look for products that are fragrance-free. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds –
even thousands — of chemicals, and fragrances are a major cause of allergic reactions.
6. Pay attention to the order in which the ingredients are listed. Manufacturers are required
to list ingredients in descending order by volume, meaning the first few ingredients are
the most prominent. If Lavender or Chamomile extract are the last ingredients in a long
list on the label, your Lavender and Chamomile body wash isn’t very natural.
7. Buy products that come in either glass bottles or ensure the plastic is Bisphenol A (BPA)
8. Purchase certified organic products from companies that are earth-friendly, animal-
friendly and green.
9. Purchase either the Chemical Maze Book or the phone app and review all products when
you go shopping. It’s a great way to become familiar with the things to avoid.
Make sure you join us on our Mums and Babies Online Global Health Summit
(http://www.mumsandbabieshealthsummit.com/register-here/) a FREE online global
summit where you will have access to the worlds’ leading experts who discuss everything
pertaining to mums and babies health., pre, during and post pregnancy.
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In the next post from Therese, she talk's about the transfer of chemicals from mums to babies in utero and the impact of that transfer.
Until then, stay well and switch to safer alternatives, the safest being certified organic!