Anyone remember when most things were REAL? Before everything was made of plastic, laminate, particle board, or synthetic fibers? Before every ingredient in our food, body care, and cleaners ended in -phate, -kyl, or a long abbreviation or number?
I know some of you will probably stop reading right now and blow my post off as the crazy lady who wants to sell essential oils. That is quite true🤣🤣🤣, but this post is not about any of that.
This post is because I’m truly frightened by the rising incidence of cancer, diabetes, allergies, attention deficit disorders, developmental issues….the list goes on and on. Last night there was a story on NBC news about how fertility (sperm counts and sperm concentration) in men from Western countries has decreased by over 50% in the past 40 years. In 2015, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (PDF) stated that “Widespread exposure to toxic environmental chemicals threatens healthy human reproduction.”
What if a doctor or other highly educated person told you that your favorite brand of laundry detergent or baby shampoo was definitely going to give your child cancer? Or that your water was poisoning your family? Or your make-up was giving you Alzheimer’s? I’m pretty sure we would all immediately throw away that specific product. The problem is that we don’t always know where all the toxins are coming from, and it’s a build-up of these poisons in our environment that is causing so many health concerns. According to the Environmental Working Group, women use an average of 12 personal care products a day, containing 168 different chemicals. Men come in a little lower at an average of 9 products per day, and teens, whose brains are still developing, use an average of 17 per day! This exposure adds up. Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs at least 60% of what we slather, spray, and rub on it into our bloodstream.
“Ten years ago, this consensus wouldn’t have been possible, but the research is abundantly clear”
–Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an environmental epidemiologist at the University of California, Davis and co-chairwoman of Project TENDR.
It turns out there are A LOT of smart people, reputable organizations and universitiy science departments who are saying (and proving) the increase in these diseases IS related to all the fake toxic stuff we are exposed to every single day. Unfortunately, many of the organizations and laws put into place by our government don’t protect us. There are numerous reasons for this including outdated laws and deep pocket lobbyists. Too many of the organizations that are supposed to look after our well-being are funded by big business. Product labeling is NOT complete. Companies are not required to list complete ingredients particularly when it comes to fragrance, color, flavoring, and packaging materials. The Environmental Working Group estimated only 7-15% of products adequately disclose their contents. 😳
The new research “reveals the inadequacy of U.S. chemical regulation and highlights the need for health-protective, precautionary chemical policy.”
These harmful ingredients are found in our food, water, household products, furniture, cleaners, flooring, personal care products, make-up, prescription & OTC medicines….. They are KNOWN to cause cancers, lung-related issues such as asthma, thyroid problems, heart arrhythmias, tumors, hormone imbalances, and infertility among many other chronic or life-threatening conditions.
Exposure to phthalates has been associated with lower IQ levels and disruption of hormones particularly testosterone and estradiol. Heard of those? Now, do you know where you can find phthalates? They are found in a massive number of common products because they keep plastic flexible, keep synthetic scents from disappearing, and keep finishes intact. That means that they are in most shampoos, conditioners, body sprays, hair sprays, perfumes, make-up, soap, nail polish, children’s toys, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, plastic furniture, paint, food packaging and even coatings on medications.
What about sulfates? Research studies have indicated that they can cause permanent eye damage, recurrent mouth ulcers, and skin irritations. Where do we find sulfates? In just about every single product that foams or lathers. That means soap, shampoo, bubble bath, baby shampoo and wash, toothpaste, facial cleanser, laundry detergents, floor cleaners, etc. I have a personal story for this one. I suffered from awful mouth sores my entire life until several years ago when I read that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) in toothpaste could be the culprit. I found a toothpaste without SLS and cut the occurence of the sores to just a few per year. Now that I’ve added a non-alcoholic mouthwash and toothpaste with clove essential oil, I haven’t had a single one.
What about the pesticides? Pesticides are in our food, water, and air. Just because ONE food doesn’t have an amount of pesticide over the legal limit doesn’t really matter; it’s about the TOTAL amount of exposure. Research studies have linked pesticide exposure to ADHD, Alzheimer’s, birth defects, many types of cancer including breast, prostate, and ovarian, depression, fertility issues, immune system damage, low IQ, Parkinson’s disease, and respiratory problems. More than 50% of the sample produce that the USDA tests has pesticide residue. Almost a third has residues from two or more pesticides. There is no legal limit to how many pesticides can be used on food. “Tolerance levels are calculated for individual pesticides, but finding more than one type on fruits and vegetables is the rule—not the exception,” says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., a toxicologist and executive director of the Food Safety and Sustainability Center. “The effects of these mixtures is untested and unknown,” Rangan says.
The list of awful ingredients goes on, and I’m not going to list them all here, but there are MANY, and they are SCARY. I’m so disappointed in us, and I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t educate myself on this earlier in my life especially when I was pregnant and my children were young. However, I’m not going to let that stop me now! I plan on discussing this with as many people as will listen to me, and I definitely will continue to eliminate toxins as I can in my own home. I know there are a lot of people who say, “It’s too late; I can’t change anything now.” That’s simply not true! Even one or two lifestyle changes can make a difference. These toxins build up in our bodies, so eliminating even just a few of them can improve your health and decrease the risks to your children.
Saying “NO!” to all the companies that continue to hide toxins under the “fragrance” label which masks over 3,000 ingredients, the ones that care about profit over everything else, the ones who refuse to change because it’s not required by law is a way to let our voices be heard. We can protest with our pocketbooks by choosing the real over the fake because we all know that money talks. There ARE reputable companies out there who are trying to use quality ingredients and do the right thing.
Yes, high quality real ingredients may cost more. Tell me what your health and the health of your children is worth? From someone who has lived the past several years watching my husband fight for his life and spent almost every day for the past seven months in the largest cancer hospital in the world—it’s worth ANY price to know that you aren’t knowingly giving your loved ones more toxins. The ramifications of continuing to use these harmful chemicals are especially scary to developing fetuses, infants, and children from toddler to teenager.
“The water we run from our taps, the lotion we smear on our skin, the shampoo we rub in our hair, even the dust in our houses is full of synthetic chemicals.”
-Tracey Woodruff PhD, MPH, director of UC San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, also a professor in the University’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and former senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency.
I started down this road when my husband was diagnosed with his first cancer in 2012 (testicular). Anyone else besides me think maybe that this cancer could be linked to these hormonal/endocrine disruptors??? I made changes toward eating fewer processed foods, more clean eating, less sugar, and more local or organic products. As the cancer diagnoses kept coming (skin, sarcoma), I upped my research and added homemade skincare, aluminum free deodorant (this is a big one y’all), simple castille soap, homemade cleaning products, and pure essential oils for wellness support. I stopped using scented candles and other home fragrances. I made my own laundry detergent and quit using dryer sheets. The more I did, the easier it was.
The next cancer diagnosis (leukemia) called for some big changes in our life. We decided to move to Houston in January to be near MD Anderson; it was a great time for me to “clean house”. I got rid of all my old over the counter meds, bath & beauty products, toxic cleaners, pesticides, and everything else I could that had been lurking in my cabinets. Instead of taking allergy medications and shots, I switched to a natural alternative that works better for me. I started over with cleaners made from essential oils, vinegar, and baking soda. I filled our new pantry and refrigerator with fruits, vegetables, and as many truly organic, high quality ingredients as I could find. I began work on our new yard and planted a garden; I vowed to do without toxic pesticides, use only organic fertilizer, and use old-fashioned pest remedies. I researched water filtration systems and bought a Berkey. Our new veterinarian in Houston actually told me to NOT give our animals unfiltered tap water because it would cause all sorts of health problems, so they get filtered water too! The newest report shows pollutants in virtually ALL public water systems. Check YOUR city’s tap water by entering your zip code here! My Berkey is extremely easy to use, much cheaper and friendlier to the environment than bottled water, and as a bonus, when an asteroid knocks the moon off it’s axis or the the zombies cut our water supply, I can use it to filter rain or pond water because it doesn’t need electricity!
My latest target has been sunscreen for my husband and make-up for me; there are some really great alternatives to all the crap, and I’m incredibly happy with the results! Oh, and guess what else? You know how they told us that the BPA-free plastic was safe? Maybe not so much says a UCLA study. So please use glass and stainless steel containers.
I realize that none of this will be able to reverse my husband’s cancer diagnosis, but it can help prevent further damage while helping him recover from his stem cell transplant and all the toxic chemotherapy he has been through for so long. I also feel better about the example I set for my kids and others, and I feel a whole lot better about my own health. Since we moved to Houston, I have only taken a medication on two separate occasions for a migraine headache. Twice in 7 months! Every other time I had a headache, overdid it in the garden and hurt my back, felt anxiety or stress, had a hot flash, experienced heartburn or stomach discomfort, had pain from carpal tunnel and arthritis, or sensed a cough or cold coming on, I solved the problem with a natural remedy. Taking a pill had become second nature to me, and I’m so glad I broke that habit. When I add up all the things I DON’T buy anymore, it makes up for the higher quality non-toxic products and food items that I do purchase.
I encourage you to do your own research, read labels, be vigilant in using quality products, and stay as close to REAL as you can. Our families and future generations of our families deserve it! When you know better, you DO better!
Some links to some other news articles and products I trust.
Environmental Working Group–links to a lot of research and info
Toxic Exposure: Chemicals Are in Our Water, Food, Air and Furniture
Project TENDR-a unique collaboration of leading scientists and health professionals targeting environmental neuro-development risks
June 2017 Allure magazine article about my new favorite non-toxic make-up
The safe deodorant I like best!
STUDY: TOXIC CHEMICALS FOUND IN DRINKING WATER OF 15M AMERICANS
Dangerous chemicals hiding in everyday products
The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese
A Strong Case Against a Pesticide Does Not Faze E.P.A….