4 Dangerous Chemicals Lurking in Your Daily Life
Before I made a switch to safer, more natural alternatives a few years ago, I was the queen of Clorox wipes. Now, the smell of the wipes or passing the cleaning aisle in the grocery store goes right to my head. I used to use bleach in my bathroom and this is pretty much how my cleaning process went… keep kids downstairs, open the window, put on rubber gloves, hold my breath as I pour bleach into my tub then run downstairs not to return for at least an hour. Sound familiar? That is a ridiculous way to clean! When I learned that over 1,100 toxic chemicals are banned in Europe which includes many name brand products due to the health risks they could cause, it was shocking. In the US, only about 11 chemicals are banned! Many of the chemicals used in common cleaning products are registered pesticides, carcinogens, can cause kidney and liver damage, respiratory issues, and depress the central nervous system. It is crazy to think that products we use every day to keep our homes clean may be triggering health issues or worse, life-threatening conditions to our families and pets. These chemicals don’t just harm our bodies, but pose a great threat to our environment. Phosphates, cheap water softening agents, enter our waterways when detergents are washed down the drain and harm entire aquatic ecosystems due to excessive algae production. One 45 oz. bottle of dishwater detergent has enough phosphates to produce 200 lbs. of algae! This is just one example of how chemicals are impacting our environment.
Toxic chemicals are not only in the cleaning aisle but in personal care products too. Did you know it only takes about 26 seconds for anything you put on your skin to be absorbed into your blood stream? Think about your day so far. Maybe you started with a shower used soap, shampoo, conditioner, dried off with a towel that just came out of the dryer that had a dryer sheet (highly toxic) for static, rubbed on body lotion, brushed your teeth, applied make up and deodorant. How many chemicals got into your blood stream before breakfast? I share this not to scare but to educate and increase consumer awareness. Recently I read an article published in a parenting magazine about why children are reaching puberty at such early ages and it really hit home because this is what I’ve been sharing with my friends. The four factors mentioned in the article that are fueling the hormonal surge were obesity and excess fat in children, social and emotional stress, antibiotics in meat and dairy, and chemicals in plastics and personal care products.
So what should you look for on a label? Some common ingredients to be aware of include:
Formaldehyde – Can be labeled under the name Quaternium-15. It is used as a preservative and is a known carcinogen and skin irritant.
Parabens – Chemicals used as a preservative and can be an endocrine system disrupter.
Triclosan – It is a chlorinated compound used to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It can lead to hormone issues and is found in many hand soaps and toothpastes.
Phthalates – Are toxic chemicals used to make plastic more flexible found in many personal care products.
The green movement has been an upward trend the past decade which is a great thing for our planet but there are millions of consumers who do not give it much thought and I’d like to change that. We can’t control all of the environmental risks around us, but we can control our home environment by increasing our awareness and making small changes like reducing or eliminating toxic cleaning products, using mineral makeup and sunscreen, avoid using mosquito spray with DEET (a hack I’ve seen people use is rubbing a dryer sheet on their skin – please DO NOT ever do that!), using glass containers and stainless steel water bottles, going organic for meat, dairy and produce, and learning about alternative solutions like pure essential oils. As a mom, having peace of mind for my family is so important and my passion is sharing this information with others and to help them explore their options with safer alternatives.
Shopping healthier doesn’t have to mean a strain on your budget. For example, we stopped using Round Up to kill weeds and simply use a vinegar solution that costs less than $2.00. If you would like more information on being a more educated consumer and learn how to bring wellness on a budget to your household, contact me at 908-917-6458 or [email protected] for more information or an upcoming webcast.
Jennifer Korneski is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in Exercise Science and a Masters in Public Health from UMDNJ-School of Public Health/Rutgers. She worked in Corporate Health Education & Promotion prior to teaching Health & Physical Education for 12 years. Currently she works from home as a Marketing Executive for a leading Wellness Manufacturer.