In my pursuit to become as informed as possible, I’ve been reading an interesting and informative book called Less Toxic Living— How to Reduce Your Everyday Exposure to Toxic Chemicals: an Introduction For Families.
One eye-opening piece spoke about how indoor plants are healthy to have in your home, because they absorb many of the airborne chemicals from typical cleaning products, and exhausts from our machines, like the washer and dryer.
Now, I don’t have a green thumb…
but I’m definitely re-thinking getting a plant or two for my home.
Another chapter lists the reasons to leave your shoes at the door upon entering your home. This is basic knowledge, as a way to avoid bringing outside filth and germs and toxins into the home. It is something I always tried to do, however, my family protested way too much … so now no one is allowed in MY bedroom without removing their shoes. Best I could do.
The most disturbing piece was the chapter that discussed parabens.
Parabens are petroleum-based synthetic preservatives that extend the shelf life of almost all skin care products and cosmetics. Without parabens, our products would get moldy and unusable in just a few days. We’d have to have a separate fridge just for our cosmetics.
This synthetic material mimics hormones, confusing and and upsetting the hormone balance in our bodies, which throws bodily systems like the nervous system. This hormone-mimicking quality is causes something called endocrine disruption, and has a high potential to wreak havoc on our bodies’ delicate hormone balancing act. For example, one famous study found an accumulation of parabens in breast cancer tumors (1), throwing into question the way our body detects and responds to these synthetic preservatives. Learn more about the health concerns of parabens here.
The biggest hurdle in our quest for safe cosmetics is our fear of sounding uninformed. Don’t let anyone make you feel stupid for asking questions. A salesman selling me an expensive cream snapped at me once when I asked him about a product ingredient. The staple answer seems to be that “the bad chemicals are only traces and cannot hurt.” This is only one of a four-part defense mechanism employed by dubious companies trying to capitalize on the layperson. More on that in another post.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to become educated and to read product ingredients. Detecting parabens is easy, because the ingredient will end in “paraben,” such asmethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.
We want to empower you to equip yourself with the knowledge and let you be your own judge. One post at a time.