Detox your personal care routine
Every day we use an abundance of products as part of our personal care routines and often don’t think twice about the contents of these products. From toothpaste to soap, shampoo and antiperspirant to cosmetics, they all must be tested and safe for us to use right? Unfortunately the answer is not really because the cosmetics industry is not required to prove an ingredient is safe for human health before it is used in a consumer product.
You might be surprised to hear that lipstick contains lead and that common antiperspirant and shampoos contain chemicals linked to cancer. These chemicals are toxic and we are smearing them all over our bodies unaware of the long term affects. Environmental Defence reports that over 1 700 cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting, and allergy-inducing substances have been banned or restricted in European personal care products. But, many of these same harmful substances can still be found in Canadian products, our bodies and the environment.
The Big Picture: Small amounts used daily add up!
In a recent report, the David Suzuki Foundation investigated which products are most commonplace in the Canadian market and came up with a list they call The Dirty Dozen. While the quantity of any particular chemical of concern in a single application of a single cosmetic is, in most cases, very small, it is not uncommon for a given cosmetic to contain multiple ingredients linked to health and environmental hazards, and most of us use several products every day. These several small daily doses add up when combined with other daily exposures to toxic substances in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the manufactured products we use at work and at home.
Take It Up yourself
- Consult online resources and books to learn which chemicals to avoid
- Purchase fewer personal care products and try making your own with safe household ingredients
- Read labels carefully and look for shorter ingredient lists and plant-based ingredients
- Tell companies you prefer to buy products that do not contain harmful ingredients to health and the environment.
Take It Up with a group
- As a group, read a book or screen a film that sheds light on toxic products to understand the issues. Make time to discuss the ideas afterwards and what you are going to do
- Ban fragrances, colognes, perfumes and artificial air fresheners from your workplaces, school or faith-based institution. Learn about scent-free or fragrance-free policies
- Share new, truly natural products that work for you with friends and family
- Host a fundraiser and donate to environmental organizations who do research and education on these issues; or use funds to buy books about toxic products and healthy living and add them to your group’s library.