Greener Essays – Part 5 – Chemicals

When we first started learning more about the world, for example what is wrong with the food or how dangerous plastic is, my mind was whirling. I decided to type out everything in my own words, which became these ‘essays’, which I scrapbooked and included in our family photo album to chart the changes we were making in our life.
Since I’m on vacation this week with my in-laws, I thought it would be a good time to post all my essays from last year, showing what we learned, and how we’ve shaped our lives around this information to be the people we are this year.
So here is Part Five of the Six Part series…

Chemicals in Our Home, October 2012
“Fragrance” on an ingredient list may be the most common type of chemical in the home. It can be found in anything, just check the label! Used in laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, cleaning supplies and disinfectants, air fresheners, deodorizers, shampoos, hair sprays, gels, lotions, sunscreens, soaps, perfumes, powders, and scented candles, “fragrance” is not a natural scent added to your product, they are a class of chemicals. The term “fragrance” or “parfum” on personal care product labels can be a cover for hundreds of harmful chemicals known to be carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, and reproductive toxins. Another hazardous chemical “Paraben”, also known as: methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben, are a class of artificial preservatives widely used in cosmetics and personal care products which mimic the activity of estrogen in the body, causing the promotion of growth of breast cancer cells. Next are “Phthalates”, they are used in cosmetics, fragrances, plastics, deodorants, and body care products. They may disrupt hormone receptors as well as increase the likelihood of cell mutation. Unbelievable. We are applying these chemicals directly to our bodies. And isn’t it ironic that we actually contaminate our air when we use cleaning products with harsh chemicals – some of which are carcinogens – to “clean” our homes? We switched to the following products around the home, and also began using vinegar and baking soda to scrub bathroom counters and the tub.

SOAP: The best quick explanation: “The antimicrobial chemical triclosan in antibacterial soaps is believed to disrupt thyroid function and hormone levels in people; when it mixes into wastewater, it can cause sex changes in aquatic life. And health experts believe that overuse of this and other antibacterial chemicals is promoting the growth of bacteria that are resistant to antibacterial treatment. A better alternative is good old-fashioned soap and warm water, it will kill just as many germs.” So, we switched to Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Bar Soap, Product Description: “Same since 1839. All natural, hypoallergenic, no animal by-products or synthetic detergents. Rinses clean with no drying residue. Ingredients: Coconut Soap, Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Coconut Oil And Natural Fragrance.”
LAUNDRY AND DISHWASHER SOAP: “Household products such as detergent and various cleaning products may contain hazardous chemicals such as ammonia, sulfuric and phosphoric acids, lye, chlorine, formaldehyde, fragrance and phosphate, and phenol.” We switched out both our laundry soap and dishwasher soap with the same thing, a combination of Twenty Mule Team Borax Powder and Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. Borax Product Description: “Since 1891. Natural laundry and multi-purpose household cleaner. Helps make your china sparkle & eliminates kitchen odors. Helps remove stains and deodorizes.” Washing Soda Product Description: “All Natural Product. Detergent booster and household cleaner. 100% fragrance and phosphate free.”

DEODORANT: “Aluminum-based compounds are the active ingredients in antiperspirants. They block the sweat glands to keep sweat from getting to the skin’s surface. Some research has suggested that these aluminum compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells. Deodorants can also contain Parabens, known to create estrogen in the body. Propylene Glycol, a neurotoxin that causes kidney and liver damage. TEA & DEA, known to cause allergic reactions, liver and kidney damage.” Now wait a minute, so putting the kidney damage aside for a moment, two of the main ingredients in deodorant may cause breast cancer? No thank you! This was a priority for us, so we replaced our deodorant two months ago with one tablespoon of Baking Soda mixed into one cup of water, applied to your underarms with reusable/washable sturdy cloths that I made from fabric scraps. And after a couple days getting used it, the mixture has worked perfectly.

I switched to homemade cloth pads for my period. I stopped wearing makeup. We switched to natural toothpaste and lotions, and we are working on a shampoo replacement. I simply cannot believe that not only are there toxins in the food we eat, and the plastic that it’s packaged in, that are causing us to ingest cancer causing carcinogens… but those oil-based chemicals are also in all the plastic products that we buy, AND all the personal care products, AND home cleaners, AND the plastic that they are all packaged in. It’s simply shocking that this is allowed to happen. And depressing. I don’t want to get cancer because other people are money hungry, and refuse to change things. We have cleaned out as much as possible from our home, but will it be enough?

The Scrapbook Pages: