You do everything you can to keep your home and family safe.
You’ve baby-proofed your home. You keep your kitchen and bathrooms clean. You wash your hands to keep from getting sick.
It’s easy to trust mainstream cleaning and personal care products to be safe for you and your family. Unfortunately, many times this isn’t the case.
The following 5 scary chemicals are present in common home and bath products and have questionable track records. Are any of these toxins in your home?
Parabens are preservatives found in shampoos, conditioners, creams, and other personal care products.
Evidence suggests that maternal exposure to synthetic parabens, such as isobutylparaben, during pregnancy can lead to anxiety and other behavioral problems in offspring.
Parabens mimic the actions of hormones and are thus known hormone disruptors. These can increase the risk of cancer and tumours, with pregnant women and young children having the highest risk. The European Union banned the use of parabens in products in 2012.
Many everyday household products contain formaldehyde, including detergents, cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, and bubble bath.
Studies were conducted on parents and children at three British universities. This showed that children whose mothers frequently used conventional cleaning supplies in their homes while pregnant had a higher risk of wheezing and reduced lung function for at least eight years after in-utero exposure.
Although the amounts of formaldehyde in these products are said to be safe, small amounts of formaldehyde are still absorbed through the skin when using personal care products. These can be irritating to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.
The Government of South Australia warns families that “as exposures can occur from many sources in our everyday life, every effort should be made where possible to minimize any unnecessary exposure to formaldehyde for you and your family to reduce the risk of health effects and becoming hypersensitive.”
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent found in thousands of products in Australia, including dishwashing detergents, hand soaps, toothpastes, lotions, and shampoos. Triclosan can also disrupt hormone function in the body.
There’s little research to show that triclosan actually helps despite its antibacterial nature. In fact, studies show that triclosan contributes to antibiotic resistance. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently banned triclosan for use in soaps; however, it’s continued to be used in personal care products.
Triclosan not only affects our environment, but has even been linked to allergies and eczema in children.
Fragrance is a general term for thousands of different chemicals found in many home and bath products.
While some of these chemicals are natural, others are synthetic and have been shown to be carcinogenic. Many are known skin and respiratory irritants.
Often, the consumer only sees the word “fragrance” on the ingredient label, in which case, any number of toxic chemicals could be used.
Many popular products contain synthetic fragrance, even brands that have claimed to be natural, eco-friendly, and ethical.
Sulfates are chemicals found in dishwashing liquids, soaps, home cleaners, and shampoos.
The Environmental Working Group shows that sulfates, particularly sodium lauryl sulfate, can cause developmental, reproductive, and organ toxicity in addition to endocrine system disruption and gene mutations such as those seen in cancer.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a known skin and eye irritant that has a drying effect on the skin and can irritate the respiratory tract.
How Safe Are Your Products?
Although toxic chemicals in products are common, you have control over what you use in your home and what products you purchase for your children.
By considering products that are made with natural, pure ingredients, you can feel good about what you bring into your home.
When we first started on our low tox journey we took baby steps and switched one product at a time. The process may take you a few weeks or even months but that is okay. Every little change you make is a sign you are heading in the right direction in making a better future for your family.
What products do you use in your home? Do any of them contain the scary chemicals above? Have you switched any products out for safer, natural alternatives? We want to know so please comment below!
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