When you stop to think what is in the products that you use every day, it can be frightening.
For example, consider toothpaste. Most of us use it around twice a day; some of us use it more often (or not). If you were asked, “What is in your toothpaste?”, how would you respond? Most of us don’t give it that much thought. A few years ago, I probably would have replied, “Flouride, maybe baking soda, and xylitol or some sugar free sweetener”.
But what’s really in your toothpaste?
I stumbled upon this article tonight and found it very interesting: Crest Toothpaste Embeds Plastic in Our Gums
Basically, the thought of the article is that those pretty blue flecks in that yummy-tasting Crest toothpaste are actually something called polyethylene, which is the same thing that your plastic garbage can is made of. The flecks don’t dissolve, they don’t go away, and they can get stuck in your gums, possibly leading to dental problems (per the writer’s hypothesis). It’s definitely worth taking the time to read the article.
Of course, toothpaste isn’t the only product that we use daily that contains ingredients that we don’t fully understand as consumers. For example, Subway recently announced that it was removing azodicarbonamide from its sandwich bread, which is the same ingredient that you can find in yoga mats. Coca-Cola and Pepsico announced that they’re removing brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from their soft drinks after consumers complained that it is a flame retardant and an endocrine disruptor (it also disrupts iodine absorption, “causing nutritional deficiencies which can promote cancer”). Sounds great that it’s being removed, right?
Weeeellll … they may be removing it, but they’re replacing it with sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB), which has been shown to cause liver problems in animals when studied. (See the complete article here) Since it seems that we’re surrounded by items that could harm us in one way or another, how can we be “smart consumers”?
First: READ LABELS. If there is an ingredient you don’t recognize, look it up. My mom used to say about food, “When in doubt, toss it out”. The same phrase can apply to anything that you are going to put in your mouth or on your skin. After research, if you have doubts about a particular ingredient, DON’T USE IT. There are plenty of alternatives to that same product, be it deodorant, toothpaste, or sunscreen, that you don’t have to settle for less. Remember that every toxic substance that you put in or on your body just adds to your overall toxic load. Eventually, in one way or another, your toxic bucket will tip, forcing you to acknowledge it.
Check the “Healthy Home” page on my website for ideas for less toxic household products and links to helpful information. I will continue to update the page as more and more products are being created regularly out of consumer demand for safer products. As always, another great resource is the Environmental Working Group’s website, where you can check the toxicity of the products you use every day.
“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.”
― Jane Austen