Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are you a label reader?

 I am an obsessive label reader.  I always have been, and I can freely admit this.  Until about 18 months ago, that label reading only applied to food products.  I never gave much thought to the ingredients that were in the cleaning products I used in my home or the soaps, lotions and potions I applied to my skin or my children’s skin.  Through my training when I began promoting "green" products and my own personal research, I have realized what a mistake this was! 

Our skin is our body’s largest organ.  Babies and children are not just miniature adults.  Their skin is especially vulnerable to toxic ingredients in cleaning products, soaps and lotions.  Some cosmetic companies are beginning to advertise products that are free of parabens and phthalates.  Parabens may have the ability to mimic estrogen in the human body, much as hormones added to our food supply have been proven to do.  Phthalates are often added to products under the guise of “fragrance.”  Exposure to phthalates may cause a wide range of health and reproductive problems in people including kidney, liver, lung and reproductive damage.  A study conducted by the CDC found phthalates in virtually every person tested, but women of child-bearing age had levels up to 20 times higher than the rest of the population.           
Since my daughter was a newborn, we used a major brand’s “No More Tears” baby wash.  Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, I found the primary ingredient (after water) to be PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, which the FDA considers a probable human carcinogen (EPA, 2003).  It is readily penetrated through the skin.  The fourth ingredient is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a surfactant that strips moisture from the top layers of skin, leaving it dry and brittle.  Virtually every conventional liquid soap, detergent and shampoo contains this harsh ingredient.  No thanks! 

My daughter has always had very sensitive skin, and she is especially prone to dry, eczema-like patches.  I began using a castile-soap based wash on her, and, I kid you not, her skin improved within two days.  A large dry patch on her back immediately felt softer.  Within a week, she had no more dry patches, and they have not returned. 

I was surprised to learn that personal care and cleaning products are not regulated by the FDA as food products are.  The FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetic industry in 1938.   We trust our brands to provide us with products that are safe and healthy.  The only way to truly ensure that we are buying safe products is to read labels.  I recommend only buying products that are forthright about their ingredients. There is a great website, sponsored by the Environmental Working Group. Go HERE to research the products you have around your homes. If you don't see your favorite brand, you can check up on individual ingredients. I use this website very frequently when I am researching new recipes for my essential8 products.

 All of my essential8 products are free of sulfates, parabens, phthlates, artificial fragrance and colors.  They are safe and gentle for babies, children and people with allergies or sensitive skin, including eczema.  

Stay tuned for more information on why all those cleaning products you use in your home might be making you sick…


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