Back in the day, we used to die of all sorts of immediate causes. Infectious diseases, gruesome accidents, and food borne illness were our number one enemies. Yet as society “progressed”, we got better at vaccinating, upping safety, and setting standards so that those really awful bacteria and horrific accidents were no longer a significant threat. But something else happened as well. We went from using very simple personal care products, or none at all, to an elaborate collection of gels, lotions, sticks, sprays, powders, and semi-solids that save us from our hairy, smelly, and unattractive selves. In the process of that transformation, we seemed to forget about the safety aspect of those products, because hey, you can eat a meal pretty much anywhere without a reasonable fear of illness or death.
Except that illness and death still lurk, they are just no longer sudden and horrific, but slow, building, and just as unpleasant in the end.
People have been decrying the diseases brought on by modern food – diabetes, heart disease, and on and on – but until recently, it seemed only a small group of people seemed to confront the fact that our soaps, our shampoos, our lotions and mascaras and shaving creams are all full of untested, carcinogenic, and essentially toxic chemicals. If you’re not sure, pick up a bottle of the closest personal care product that you have lying around and read the label. It’s okay, I’ll wait. My bet is that there’s a bunch of stuff on the back that sounds highly scientific. It is, and it’s written in code to say, “I am going to slowly poison you, perhaps pushing your cells towards cancer, or hurting your brain, or maybe, just maybe, I will make you infertile. Muahaha.”
So that’s not what it’s really saying, but that is what those chemicals are doing while the companies laugh all the way to the bank.
Consider this: our skin is the biggest organ we have. And it absorbs stuff like a sponge. Anything you put on it pretty much ends up in your bloodstream, and thereby your organs. Think about medicated patches. They are now widely used for birth control, helping to quit smoking, and other ailments. It is an effective delivery system. Thus we deliver sodium laureth sulfate, mercury, lead, all sorts of petrochemicals (and yes, by petro I mean oil, as in the crap that makes your car go vroom) and all other wonderful things that you wouldn’t put on your plate, or on your skin, if you knew that it reduced your neural activity, or made your husband infertile, or was going to add up in such massive quantities in your body that where the cancer sprang up was just a matter of when, not if. Imagine what that does to a child, by the way, which ends up being slathered in the same stuff, but is much, much smaller than an adult.
I’m not trying to be alarmist here, but you have no idea what you’re putting all over yourself. Lipstick? It has lead in it. Mascara? Mercury. Shampoo? Oil. Toothpaste? A bi-product of strip mining. Oh wait, that’s fluoride. Of course it’s good for you, right? And you spit it out anyway? Sure, of course you do, and your teeth are so much stronger as the fluoride seeps in through your mouth and your mucous membranes and sets up shop in your body. SO worth it.
Actually, I am trying to be alarmist. You should be alarmed that your are slowly poisoning yourself with stuff that feels and smells lovely. But most people don’t want to be bothered, because, you know, you might have to go to a different grocery store, or spend more money, or gasp, go online. Luckily for the lazy, there is a new bill hitting Congress that would finally regulate the personal care industry. Currently, they self-regulate and can opt-out of following their own rules. That’s right. It’s kind of like Calvinball, except with toxins instead of a stuffed tiger.
If you are worried about what’s in your skin care products, there is always www.SkinDeep.com. You can find out what kind of lovely things are hiding in your deodorant, and also search by which deodorants are least toxic. Yes, it can be a bit trial and error – for instance, I can’t even tell you how long it took me to find a natural deodorant that actually worked (apologies to those who might have been near me in the interim) – but it’s worth the peace of mind in the end. It’s also important to remember that even though something says it’s “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean that other nasties aren’t lurking. This is why Skin Deep is so useful. It even has customer reviews for certain products – and I am always available if someone needs advice.
There are of course terrible things also in cleaning products, our food, and our general environment, and we can’t completely escape them all. But why not lessen our load?
For more info, please read this.