This is Day 92 of the Green in 365 series!
This month we’re going to talk about going green in our bathrooms. The bathroom is the smallest room in the house, but there are so many eco-friendly changes we can make that can have a really big impact on our lifestyle. We’ll cover everything from green cleaning, to safe personal care products, and even green feminine care products and a special mini-series on Elimination Communication with our young babes!
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started! One of the first things that we think about in the bathroom is the products that we use – shampoo, conditioner, body soap, shaving cream, face soap, lotion, deodorant, makeup, hair styling products, toothpaste, and more. Take a walk down the beauty aisle at the grocery or drug store and the number of personal care products that are available today is staggering.
But, an even more staggering reality is that most of those products on the shelves contain long lists of chemical ingredients, most of which have never really been tested for safety of use in our products, and many of which have actually been shown to be toxic and harmful to our bodies.
I remember the first time I learned there were mostly likely toxic chemicals in my personal care products. My friend had shared a link to the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database, where they rate the toxicity of many of the thousands of personal care products available for our use based on their ingredients. I remember thinking that there was no way that there would be toxic chemicals in products available to buy at the store and that we use on our bodies every day, the government would never allow it! I thought that the government would protect it’s citizens from something like that.
So I stuck my head in the sand for a while and clung to the idea that ignorance is bliss. It was overwhelming to me, and I didn’t really want to know. How was I supposed to change all of the products that I was so used to using on a daily basis? And weren’t the alternatives hard to find and super expensive?
But as I began to make other changes in my green and natural journey, I eventually got to the point where I couldn’t ignore the reality of toxic chemicals in personal care products anymore.
The reality is that less than 20% of chemical ingredients used in personal care products have been tested for safety for use in personal care products. Also, there are no government regulations over the ingredients used in personal care products. The cosmetic and personal care products industry is self-regulated. Meaning that there’s really no oversight regarding the ingredients that they use or studies done on their safety. (source)
As I began to read and research about the ingredients used in personal care products, I looked up my own products on the EWG’s database. I was shocked when most of my favorites received scores of 5 or higher, meaning they contained ingredients that I really didn’t want to be using on my body.
The reason this issue is important is because the products that we use on our bodies are absorbed into our bodies through our skin, and some of the toxic ingredients used in personal care products have been linked to such serious things as asthma, learning disabilities, hormone and endocrine disruption, fertility and reproductive issues, and even cancer. These chemicals also affect the people in the factories where there products are made, and also our world when they’re rinsed down the drain and build up in our environment.
So to begin this month, if you’ve been avoiding this issue like I was for so long, I want to encourage you to start the journey toward safer and more natural personal care products by looking up your personal care products on the Cosmetic Safety Database. Search for the products that you use on a regular basis and see how they rank. Once you know where you’re current products stand, you’ll be able to make changes to better products, which we’ll be talking more about as the month goes on!
For more information and research, I encourage you to watch The Story of Cosmetics and check out safecosmetics.org.
Have you checked your personal care products on the Cosmetic Safety Database? How did they rank?
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