By: Margo White
There are over 80,000 chemicals available for use in the US, yet only a fraction of them have been tested for toxicity. Many of these chemicals can be found in our foods, cleaning products and in our personal care products. The truth is, most skincare products on the market today contain chemicals that have been linked to some serious health concerns. Even more troubling is that these ingredients are commonly used in products marketed for babies and children.
According to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “On average, American women use 12 personal care products a day, and men average six products. That means an adult is likely to be exposed daily to 126 unique chemical ingredients in personal care products alone.” When most women discover this, they are shocked and are inspired to begin educating themselves and make safer choices for their families.
Why is this happening?
Most of us assume that someone, somewhere is overseeing the safety of skincare products on the market. Not so. In the US, The FDA allows the Cosmetics Industry to regulate itself. What does that mean? The Cosmetics Industry is allowed to put chemical ingredients into their products without being required to test for safety. They are not required to present their formulations to the FDA for approval. In addition, the FDA does not have the authority to initiate recalls.
As a result, our marketplaces are saturated with products that contain ingredients that have not been thoroughly tested for toxicity. Many of these ingredients (some of which are found in cord-blood and breast milk) are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, allergies, infertility, autoimmune diseases, learning disabilities, among other health concerns. This is especially concerning for babies and children, as their body systems are not yet fully matured, putting them at greater risk to the effects of toxins. In addition, some ingredients pose a threat to our environment.
So where to begin?
Step 1: Read labels! Just as you would read food labels, read the ingredients listed on all your personal care products (including toothpaste and shampoo) but be sure to check both the active and inactive ingredients. Don’t be fooled by claims like “pediatrician approved” or “all natural”. Some companies use broad terms in an effort to get you to believe their product is pure. Below is a list of the most commonly found ingredients that should be avoided. For the complete list and information about the health problems they cause visit: The Big Baddies at The Choosy Chick
Step 2: Educate yourself. Visit the following reputable resources to learn more:
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
EWG’s Skin Deep Database (available as app for phone)
Healthy Child, Healthy World
Step 3: Switch to safer products. Don’t feel overwhelmed by having to get rid of all your products at once, as this can be costly. Start simple. If you have children, start with their products first. As you run out of your hand soap, replace it with a safer alternative. Then move to deodorant, and so forth.
Step 4: Get Active! Find out what is going on in your state and country to eliminate toxins from products. Join forces with movements such as Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families to help get legislation passed that will protect consumers, especially the next generation.
Margot White, Health Educator and founder of THECHOOSYCHICK.COM has a BS in Community Health Education from Western CT State University and an MS in Education from the University of Bridgeport, CT. She is a mother of four boys and taught in the public school system for 17 years. She is passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and raising her children to make healthy, informed choices.
The Choosy Chick is an online boutique dedicated to researching and selecting the finest, non-toxic personal care products families deserve. They strive to stay at the forefront of the healthy living movement to eliminate harmful and toxic chemicals from personal care products.