This month on the blog, I'll be exploring Detoxing our Bathrooms and sharing why I started making my own personal care products. Often when we think about 'getting healthy', the first place our mind goes is our kitchen. The foods we eat, the products we're buying. We might start to look at food labels and researching unfamiliar ingredients. Indeed, becoming comfortable with reading food labels is really important because there are so many ways for companies to hide bad ingredients in foods. For example, did you know that MSG can be hidden in a food under the ingredient, 'seasonings' or 'spices'? Becoming a detective in the kitchen is an essential part of getting healthy, but this skill is important in our bathrooms, too!
According to Gill Deacon, author of "There's Lead in Your Lipstick", the average woman is exposed to 127 chemicals before walking out the door in the morning! These chemicals are lurking in our shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants, perfumes, lotions, make-up, cleaning products, air fresheners and more. Through our lungs (inhalation), mouths (ingestion) or skin (absorption), these toxins end up in our bodies. Once they are in our bodies they can affect our health in a number of ways:
- Hormone disruption: toxins can affect our hormones by mimicking them or interfering with how they function, leading to a wide range of symptoms and imbalances, from early-onset puberty to infertility and reproductive defects. Includes BHA, BHT, triclosan, phthalates, parabens, artificial musks.
- Neurotoxic: some toxins damage brain cells. Babies and children are at a higher risk. Includes fragrances, aluminum, sodium laureth sulfate, formaldehyde releasing agents.
- Respiratory illness: many toxins cause asthma and other breathing difficulties, including lung cancer. Avoid talc, fragrance, formaldehyde releasing agents, vinyl.
- Cancer: several toxins have been linked to cancer and increasing our cancer risk. Includes sodium laureth sulfate, talc, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde releasing agents, petroleum-derived ingredients.
- Reproductive and developmental harm: chemicals have been linked to damaging our reproductive health and to harming developing babies. Avoid pthalates, parabens, triclosan, formaldehyde releasing agents, petroleum-derived ingredients.
For a more in-depth look at each toxin, click here and here. Several environmental groups have campaigns to create awareness and pressure the government to remove toxins from our cosmetics, including Environmental Defence, the David Suzuki Foundation and Greenpeace International.
When I began reading the labels on the back of my personal care products, I was amazed by how many harmful things were lurking in my bathroom. Even products that said, "Natural" and "Dermatologist Tested" were full of toxins!
So, let's Detox our Bathrooms-
- Start by reading labels. Become familiar with the names of these toxins, carry a Toxins Pocket Guide to the store if that helps.
- Use natural cleaning products. Vinegar and baking soda are all you need to clean and disinfect a bathroom. For recipes, check out my post on Natural Cleaning Products.
- Avoid synthetic air fresheners. Burn natural incense or open a window.
- Switch vinyl shower curtains for natural materials, like cotton or hemp fibres.
- Buy toxin-free personal care products and cosmetics. Use the Environmental Working Group's, Skin Deep Cosmetic Database to look up a product for its safety rating if you are unsure.
It may take a bit of time, effort and money to detox your bathroom, but your body and your health are worth it!
Next week, I'll share some money-saving tips and recipes for a toxin-free bathroom! Thanks for reading!