Toxic Body Lotion? Poison lipstick?? Sounds like an episode of The Real Housewives gone wrong, huh? Guess again! These things may have found their way into your bathroom cabinets and you didn’t even know it. The video above is a great one, by the one and only Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Diet fame. She is a health warrior if there ever was one, and if you aren’t familiar with her story, check it out…it will blow you away! In this video, she discusses the state of our health and beauty products with a member of the EWG, Environmental Working Group. Thier message is shocking and important to our health!
Did you know that our cosmetics are regulated by the FDA? And by regulated I mean, governed by a law that was made in 1938 and has had minimal improvements since that time. Unfortunately, there are many chemicals and known toxins in our health and beauty products which most of us would NEVER knowingly put on our cars, let alone our skin, eyes or lips! (Remember the article on Triclosan??) How about propylene glycol in make-up…this is antifreeze! How about bisphenols in lotions, body washes, shampoo? A known hormone disruptor and possible carcinogen. I was shocked when I learned that our everyday products contain toxins that are harmful to our bodies and we are unwittingly using these products every single day!
It’s known that our body burden is impacted greatly by health and beauty products. Body burden is the sum total of chemicals and toxins we are exposed to, that work their way through our bodies. Reducing my body burden is something I am working on, and lowering my exposure from health and beauty products is at the top! I have stopped using shower products and body lotions with ingredients like SLS (sodium laurel sulfate), parabens, and phthalates. If you check out the Mind Body Green Infographic with the top 12 toxic ingredients in cosmetics, you will see most of these ingredients are known to be carcinogenic, hormone disruptors, and frankly just scary! My new favorites are from Alba Botanica (especially the Hawaiian products) as are the products int he 365 by Whole Foods line, which are great as well as fairly priced for ‘clean’ beauty items. I havent been able to find a great hand cream for these terribly cracked and dry hands, so I had to stick with my conventional creams here. But I did get rid of my Vaseline (it rhymes with gasoline for a reason….) and switch to Shea Moisture baby balm, which has the thick emollient texture of vaseline but is organic and non toxic. fortunately I only wear lipstick 3-4 times a year, so for my day to day, I use the balms and glosses from Yes to Carrots and Burts Bees, so as not to consume any extra lead (yes LEAD!) that is often in lipstick.
One other item of note is that while many of these chemicals are permitted in our health and beauty products under our lax rules controlled by the FDA, other countries around the world are banning things like parabens & phthalates (notably, most of the EU…) due to their questionable health interactions. It was shocking to me to learn that we are so far behind when it comes to caring for ourselves by reducing the toxins we are exposed to. A huge win was made this past August when Johnson & Johnson voted to start decreasing toxins such as parabens, formaldehyde releasing agents, triclosan and other chemicals from their products. Shockingly, these products included the traditional baby formulas that Americans have been using for years with these chemicals included. It was particularly upsetting to find out that similar baby products abroad had already banned these substances years ago and we are just catching up! As Kris Carr says in her wonderful video above, when we purchase items that skip these toxic chemicals, we vote with our dollar. While there are many groups, such as the EWG, lobbying on our behalf in Washington we can take small steps to the impact these brands by choosing with our dollar. I hope you will check out the links below for some extra info on this topic & how you can reduce your body burden!!
Toxins In Traditional Lip Gloss, Well and Good NYC http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2011/05/17/the-most-toxic-cosmetic-traditional-lip-glosses-finds-study/
Top 12 Ingredients to Avoid in cosmetics, Mind Body Green http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5971/12-Toxic-Ingredients-to-AVOID-in-Cosmetics-Skin-Care-Products-Infographic.html
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=1054
Why Vaseline is Bad For You–Bliss Tree http://www.blisstree.com/2012/01/12/look/vaseline-bad-for-you-petroleum-jelly-alternatives-879/
Top 7 Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics–Bliss Tree http://www.blisstree.com/2012/02/13/look/toxic-ingredients-in-beauty-products-505/