The myths behind organic shampoo

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Salon-quality, “organic” shampoo needs to come clean!240px-Anderson_Sophie_Young_Girl_Fixing_Her_Hair

First, what classifies as organic?  Products, after all, are not regulated and cannot be certified as organic.  Only ingredients can be certified, by the USDA, as truly organic. Products can be found with ‘organic’ on the label and other greenwashing claims, but look for the certification and you’ll know it’s safe with no pesticides and added synthetic chemicals.

In order for an ‘organic shampoo’ to be classified (truthfully) as organic, it should be made with an organic soap base, and the only truly natural option are saponified organic oils.  However, organic soap made from saponified organic oils does not create a shampoo which is Ph balanced for human hair.  If you were to use it for long hair or color treated hair, especially, you would not be happy with the results.  The high Ph level (ranging between 9 and 11) found in natural soap causes the cuticle cells of hair to swell up.  This leaves your cells rough and your hair looking dull and lifeless.

Many of us have searched for less harmful alternatives to clean and soft hair with natural products, but they are hard to find and over priced, with questionable ingredients to boot!  You can still have beautiful hair and avoid sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, all synthetic chemicals made by man that are scattered among most commercial hair care products.  Look for natural ingredients like Organic Aloe Juice and Castor Seed Oil, Rosemary, Neem Oil, Wheat Protein and Coconut Oil.

Check out and learn to read between the lines on labels.  Look up products on the Environmental Working Groups’ website, at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com to get a hazardous rating and the list of harmful ingredients before you buy them!

silloutteofgirlingrass

Beauty at the price of obesity

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ARE COSMETICS MAKING US FAT?

fat belly by Michelle Meiklejohn

Picture compliments of Michelle Meiklejohn

If you’ve tried diets and exercise, and haven’t seen the results you deserve, look in your bathroom.  Lurking on the shelves, in the drawers, in the shower and on the sink are some probable causes.  That’s right!  Unknown to most of us, our common, everyday personal care products could be the cause for our extra pounds.

Soaps, shampoos and cosmetics found on the stores in the U.S. have synthetic, petroleum-based chemicals that should be illegal.  Many are known Carcinogens, and they are linked to Endocrine Disruption.  Not only may they contribute to tumor and cancer growth, they are wreaking havoc on our hormones.

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families are trying to change the laws to help protect us, check them out on facebook or their website to help support their important efforts.  Their coalition includes cancer specialists, nurses, parents and concerned citizens everywhere.

Don’t take my word for it, see what The National Resources Defense Council wrote on this topic:

http://www.onearth.org/article/is-your-shampoo-making-you-fat



Mineral Oil is not what you think

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Part Four of a Series:

Exposing greenwashing and

chemical toxicity in our

trusted products

Different Minerals

Image via Wikipedia

Mineral Oil

It sounds innocuous enough…after all, minerals are all good, vitamin-enriched substances straight from the earth, right? Sounds pretty Organic doesn’t it?  Well, petroleum oil is also organic but we don’t want it on our skin!  Mineral oil, by the way, is a by-product of petroleum.  Yummy, put some synthetic fragrance in it and watch it fly off the shelves, onto our skin and directly into our bloodstream!

Mineral oil is found in many cosmetics, it’s a cheap filler they claim helps hold moisture into your skin.  Through our commercial everyday cosmetics,  we expose our skin and bodies to it regularly.  What does it do?  It’s the equivalent of putting plastic wrap around your skin.  It interferes with the skin’s ability to do what it was meant to do all day, every day. It clogs pores. Our skin sheds itself and rejuvenates itself constantly, and needs to breathe, as your largest organ, in order to do that.  Our skin also removes toxins from our bodies.  Mineral oil on our skin has been shown to slow down skin function and cell development, leading to acne and other skin problems, as well as premature AGING.

So the very problem of baggy, aging skin, which we buy cosmetics because of the false claims to help us, is exacerbated by the ingredients found inside those products.  There may be evidence from the big manufacturers that claim Mineral Oil (or baby oil, which is just scented mineral oil) is safe in small doses.  Even if you believe them, why promote more dependency on oil?  Here are some clinical findings about Mineral Oil and its effects:

http://home.caregroup.org/clinical/altmed/interactions/Drugs/Mineral_Oil.htm 

If you’re still a skeptic, just consider children for a moment, and look at what brighthub.com has to say:

“Mineral oil, also commonly known as baby oil, has a sad history of harming infants and small children. The risks are very real. Children have been known to inhale the oil and as a result many have died a slow death of asphyxiation. One child is reported to have struggled for a very long 28 days to breathe before death occurred.

In 1991 a lawsuit ensued against Johnson & Johnson after their 15 month old child suffered permanent brain damage.”

Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/environment/green-living/articles/63879.aspx#ixzz1QbTcnGOj

Could brain development be inhibited by our shampoos?

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Part Three of a Series:

Dermatology products

Image via Wikipedia

Exposing greenwashing and

chemical toxicity in our

trusted products

DEA, TEA and MEA

Why should soft, thick hair come with the price tag of “Carcinogen” attached?

Should we be concerned with brain development disruption for unborn fetuses?

Why are our drug stores full of products that have concerning ingredients?

I don’t have a chemical degree, so it’s hard to read and understand labels in commercial products.  There are some that are most disturbing based on the research out there.  I’d like to err on the side of ‘prove it safe’ rather than take my chances…but the FDA disagreed with that approach when they made our personal care products a self-regulated industry.

Remember the old saying, “Coffee, Tea or Me”?  Try to avoid the ingredients “DEA, TEA or MEA”!

Read what Science Daily wrote about DEA as one of the concerning ingredients here.

While the long term effects of our minimal exposure to toxic ingredients in our everyday products is unknown, we do know some disturbing facts:

Fact #1:  Europe has banned many toxic ingredients from personal care products, but they are still available in hundreds of products in the U.S.  One of these toxins is DEA, or Diethanolamine.  DEA is used as a wetting or thickening agent in commercial shampoos, shaving creams, bubble bath, soaps, hairsprays and sunscreens.

Fact #2: More than 100,000 tons of DEA are sold each year in the U.S., so it’s a very commonly used ingredient, unless you seek out genuine organic, toxic-free products.

Fact #3: The National Toxicology Program reported an increased chance of liver and kidney tumors in mice when DEA was put on their skin.  There is evidence that it blocks the production of the nutrient choline, which is essential for brain development, especially for our unborn children.

Fact #4:  DEA can also show up as a contaminant in products containing related chemicals, such as cocamide DEA.

Try to avoid these ingredients, if you believe, like I do, that the mice who were tested are evidence enough for me to steer clear of these toxins:

  • Cocamide DEA
  • Cocamide MEA
  • DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
  • DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
  • DEA Lauryl Sulfacte
  • Lauramide DEA
  • Linoleamide MEA
  • Myristamide DEA
  • Oleamide DEA
  • Stearamide MEA
  • TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  • Any product containing TEA or Triethanolamine

“Germ fighters” present serious health concerns (exposing Triclosan)

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Part Two of a Series, exposing greenwashing and

chemical toxicity in our trusted products

Triclosan

Decorative Soaps

Compliments of Wikipedia

Since 1995, the anti-bacterial soap industry has boomed into a $16 BILLION dollar a year industry.  We all bought into the  belief that we needed it to keep germs at bay.  What has happened is just the opposite, it has stripped the good bacteria right along with the bad…leaving us more susceptible to bacteria than ever, not to mention with extremely dry skin as a result of using it daily!

Triclosan is under review by the FDA and is associated with some very concerning health issues.  It has been suggested by the American Medical Association that we avoid Triclosan at home, as it may be contributing to bacterial resistance to antibiotics. An advisory committee to the FDA found that household use of antibacterial products provides no benefits over plain soap and water. There is also NO evidence that Triclosan provides an extra benefit to health in our products, beyond the use of it in toothpaste to prevent gingivitis.

Triclosan can be found in many products, not just antibacterial soaps.  Anything labeled antibacterial or “fights germs”, or “protects against mold”, even claims like “odor fighting” or “keeps food fresher, longer”…all lead to the fact that Triclosan is in the ingredient’s list.  You can find it in many places and products, such as:

  • soap and dishwashing liquid
  • anti-bacterial soaps and lotions
  • towels
  • mattresses
  • sponges
  • personal care products
  • shower curtains
  • toothbrushes
  • phones
  • kitchenware and plastic food containers
  • shoes
  • flooring and carpets
  • cutting boards
  • clothing and fabrics
  • toys

Antibacterial Soap on hand

The European Union has classified triclosan as toxic to aquatic organisms, as wastewater treatment does not remove all of the chemical and it ends up in water sources.  It’s use in cosmetics is restricted in Japan and Canada.

What are the health risks associated with Triclosan?

Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity. Low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. Regular use may exacerbate skin disorders like Eczema, contribute to Asthma, and increase skin sensitivity.  Triclosan is extremely drying to the skin, just look at any health care provider’s hands who uses it regularly, and you will be convinced.


Probable Carcinogens found in products labeled organic

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Part One of a Series, exposing greenwashing and chemical toxicity in our trusted products

1,4-Dioxane

You won’t find it on the label…but it appears in many of our everyday products.  It’s called 1,4-dioxane and is used as a solvent.  It’s one of the “Top Toxins” to avoid in our homes and on our bodies, yet it’s prevalent in many of our soaps, shampoos, skin care and other products.  It’s among the worst of the synthetic sinisters, so I decided to blow the whistle on it first.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers 1,4-dioxane a probable human carcinogen. (EPA, 2003).  Take a look at the list of carcinogens based on OSHA’s definition of Select Carcinogens in 2009.  Our friend 1,4 Dioxane is company with Asbestos, Arsenic, Coal Tar…and pages more, I only got through the C’s, the list is enormous.  They also give their definition of a Carcinogen at the bottom of the document.

Caution Select Carcinogen sign1,4 Dioxane is in many of our skin care products, and penetrates easily through the skin.  There is evidence that links it directly to systemic cancer in a skin painting study in 2000.  Even though the FDA admits it would be easy to strip this chemical out of our products, the process has to be ‘voluntarily’ adopted by the manufacturers in the industry.  I guess that’s not as easy as it seems, since no such adoption effort has been made.

Even some trusted “organic” or “natural” (labeled) products contain this demon, including these leading brands, which shocked me.  I was a victim to the “greenwashing” by these companies and their claims:

JASON Pure Natural & Organic
Giovanni Organic Cosmetics
Kiss My Face
Nature’s Gate Organics

Find out more at the organic consumer’s website.  This watchdog group has over 500,000 members.  You can also find out more about how to make a difference with pending legislation efforts at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetic’s website: www.safecosmetics.org

HOW DO I KNOW IF A PRODUCT INCLUDES THIS DEADLY DIOXANE?Soap-bubbles

1.4-Dioxane can appear as a contaminant in products containing SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate, an ingredient found in 90% of commercial soaps and detergent).  It’s also found in ingredients including the terms “PEG”, “-xynol,” “ceteareth,” “oleth” and most other ethoxylated “eth” ingredients.  Generally, if you can’t easily pronounce it, look it up before you trust it!  Besides being a probably carcinogen, look at the proven effects of 1,4 Dioxane when tested on animals.  This is directly from the EPA website:

Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to high levels of 1,4-dioxane has caused vertigo, drowsiness, headache, anorexia and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in humans.  It may also irritate the skin.  Damage to the liver and kidneys has been observed in rats chronically (long-term) exposed in their drinking water. Tumors have been observed in orally exposed animals.  EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.

Here is a good “myth vs. Fact” sheet on 1,4-dioxane:

http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/DioxaneFacts080314.pdf

Bugs Beware, Eucalyptus is here!

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I’m one of those lucky people who Mosquitoes love.  They find me as soon as I arrive to the vicinity, even when nobody else is bothered.  This picture describes a day in the sun for me. mosquito researcher from worst-jobs.com This is me enjoying an outdoor moment…complete with Vitamin D, fresh air…and mosquitos galore!  But the bug sprays are full of DEET, so beware of them and look for more natural ingredients.

Eucalyptus is a natural insect repellent.  It works amazingly against Mosquitoes, Ticks and Fleas, smells great, and is super-safe!  My sore-free legs are proof positive that it really does work.

Repelling insects, especially those pesky, nasty mosquitoes, is so much more important that it was years ago. As if a bug crawling on our skin weren’t bad enough, now there are diseases these bugs carry that could make us deathly ill, maybe even terminally ill, just from one ‘innocent’ bite. With all of the diseases carried by insects, such as West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease and Malaria, the scare is very real.  You might be tempted to reach for the strongest, most popular brand of repellent, but consider these facts before you reach for that bottle of toxic repellent:

mosquito repellent cartoon

Image compliments of transafric.com

v    DEET is the most widely used mosquito repellent, developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and patented by the U.S. Army in 1946.

v    DEET is absorbed through the skin and passes into the blood. The Medical Sciences Bulletin, published by Pharmaceutical Information Associates Ltd. reports, “Up to 56% of DEET applied topically penetrates human skin and 17% is absorbed into the bloodstream.”

v    DEET is a registered pesticide. Blood concentrations of about 3 mg per liter have been reported several hours after DEET repellent was applied to skin in the prescribed fashion.

v   DEET is also absorbed by your gut, how yummy does that sound (“Honey, what’s for dinner?  Pesticides, again?”)

v    Seriously, DEET has very alarming effects on the central nervous system.  Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia of Duke University studied lab animals’ performance of neuro-behavioral tasks requiring muscle coordination. He found that lab animals exposed to the equivalent of average human doses of DEET performed far worse than untreated animals. Abou-Donia also found that combined exposure to DEET and permethrin, a mosquito spray ingredient, can lead to memory dysfunction, learning disabilities and motor deficits.

v    To make it worse, many commercial products combine DEET with ethyl and isopropyl alcohols (as well as Freon!), increasing the toxicity with the combination of chemicals (according to an emergency medicine bulletin).

v    Any product with DEET is required to carry instructions that they should not be used at all for children under 6 months.  Additional required warnings state that for children 6 months to 2 years, only concentrations of less than 10% DEET should be used, and only once a day. For children from 2 -12 years old, only concentrations under 10% should be used, and repellents should not be applied more than 3 times a day.  Sounds to me like we should avoid it all day, everyday with all of these restrictions!

Still not convinced?  

Here’s a few more reasons to use Organic Bug Spray instead of petroleum based, synthetic chemically-laden products on your largest organ (your skin):

v    Wildlife, especially birds and aquatic life, are harmed from the use of DEET…because of it’s production and our use of it as a society, it has been found to reside in 75% of U.S. water sources.

Here’s the Icing on the cake:

v    DEET as a repellent doesn’t work as well as natural bug spray!  In a 2008 U.S. WASHINGTON study (Reuters), it was found that DEET doesn’t block the insects’ sense of smell, it just stinks to them.  In the same study, they found that mosquitoes reacted stronger to the Terpenoids, which are the compounds in the aroma of Eucalyptus (and cloves, menthol and camphor).

 

When you find one that works well, let me know. My favorite product is no longer available and when my stockpile runs out, I’ll need another miracle to turn to with Eucalyptus in it…so thanks for sharing!

 

That’s all folks!!!That's All Folks with Porky Pig

Top 10 Toxins we invite to dinner!

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Dishwashing liquid in use

Image via Wikipedia

Brain Fog anyone?

Feeling sluggish?

Any health concerns?

Check your cabinets and closets…it could be that your home is full of toxins, many that you don’t even know are lurking.  Toxic chemicals, in fact the very ones we “invite” to our homes, could be the direct cause for many health issues.

I recently attended classes with 2 different Wellness organizations, OmniHealth Academy and HuntforWellness, where they both shared earth-shattering information about our body’s toxicity and how it affects our overall health.  It was great hearing Medical Professionals who are passionate on the topic, teaching others and spreading the same message that I like to share: toxins are toxic!

Here are the TOP TEN TOXINS in our homes and the chemicals that make them among the worst, according to OmniHealth.

I’ve added my favorite easy, affordable and convenient solutions for each of them.

1.  Dishwashing Detergent

Problem:  Chlorine, Flouride+PetroChem, Benzene, Phosphates.

Solution:  Seventh Generation, or Laundry soap nuts in liquid form, or distilled for a DIY option (see laundry #3).

2.  Oven Cleaner

Problem:  Lye, Ammonia

Solution:  Self-Cleaning Oven, Vinegar, elbow grease!  Use Baking Soda with these tips:  http://www.ehow.com/how_4549356_clean-oven-natural-ingredients.html

3.  Laundry Detergent

Laundry soap nuts by Chartreuse

Laundry soap nuts by ChartreuseProblem: Benzene (causes Leukemia)

Problem: Benzene (causes Leukemia)

Solution:  Laundry Soap that grows on a tree!  They clean and soften, save money, are compostable…and can be used for other soap needs, including the dishwasher!

4.  Floor and Furniture Polishers

Problem:  Petroleum Distillates (basically, flammable crude oil!)

Solution:  Organic All Purpose Cleaner, one that is safe enough to drink, smells heavenly and uses certified organic ingredients and essential oils.

5.  Air Fresheners

Problem:  Where to start?  There are SIX chemicals, targeted by the Government as holding the highest priority for neurotoxicity!

Solution:  Organic air fresheners from certified ingredients and organic reed diffusers, open windows and fans!  Check out “Get a Whiff of This” for thorough research on documented dangers of fragrance in our environment.

6..  Antibacterial Soaps and Cleaners

Problem:  Triclosan (Liver Damaging)

Solution:  Avoid at all costs, organic and natural soaps are antibacterial by their very nature and protect our “good” bacteria, which we need for a healthy immunity system.  Antibacterial soaps are also very drying and damaging to skin, our largest organ.

7.  Dry Cleaning

Problem: Perchloroethylene (known Carcinogen) – According to GreenAnswers.com, Perchloroethylene is a compound that is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it interferes the brain’s ability to function properly. Read more about dry-cleaning toxins in this article.

Solution:  Find a “green cleaner” in your area, or try delicate wash and laundry soap nuts, they work well even on silk…just ask anyone you know who grew up in India, where the Soapberry Trees grow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All-Purpose Cleaner by Chartreuse

All-Purpose Cleaner by Chartreuse

9.  Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners

Problem:  Same as Drycleaning, known to have Perchloroethylene

Solution:  Sorry to dwell on it, but Chartreuse All Purpose Cleaner really does an amazing job on all water-safe materials and surfaces…especially carpet stains, I have several customer testimonials on that alone!

A close-up of a Pumice Stone.

Image via Wikipedia

10.  Toilet Bowl Cleaners

Problem:  Hydrochloric Acid (Liver and Kidney Damage)

Solution:  Pumice Stone for hard water, Chartreuse Bathroom Cleaner

Thank you Faith Hill and OmniHealth for having me as a guest!

Thank you Tunis Hunt and Estela Hunt at HuntforWellness for having me as a speaker at your Toxic class!

Both of these wellness programs also monitor Mercury, Lead and other heavy metal toxicity in your body, explain the sources and offer solutions to each.

These passionate, helpful professionals can easily change your life (and health).

Tell them Verde Mom sent you!

Why is there a market for toxins to toddlers?

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Hard to believe, don’t you agree, that toxic chemicals have been discovered in MANY kid’s personal care products?  That trusted, brand name products that we’ve slathered on our families for years would be potentially life-threatening to us all?  Where is the responsibility to do the right thing and advertise the TRUTH?  You put these cheap fillers and preservatives in to make more money for your shareholders, while my children’s health and our planet suffers at your hands.

It’s one thing to market toxins to me, but to my baby?

J&J Baby Products

I was infuriated when I discovered the truth, and want you to know the facts, in case you’re in the dark like I was.

I meet lots of other Moms who are mad, too.  Here’s another Mom who gets it:

http://dailymomtra.com/2010/04/26/toxic-baby-products/?replytocom=1269#respond

Picture of J&J products comes from Daily Momtra website, thank you!

Here are the main products I used on my precious baby from 2003 to 2009, before learning the truth:

J&J Baby Shampoo (Moderate Hazard Rating of 5)

Ingredients in this product are linked to:
yes Cancer
yes Developmental/reproductive toxicity
yes Allergies/immunotoxicity
yes Use restrictions
yes Other concerns for ingredients used in this product:
NeurotoxicityOrgan system toxicity (non-reproductive),MiscellaneousIrritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)Enhanced skin absorptionContamination concernsOccupational hazards

Colgate 2 in 1 toothpaste and mouthwash (Moderate Hazard Rating of 6)

Huggies Wipes – Had I used the “cucumber & green tea” version, it ranks 7 out of 10 and includes some free Formaldehyde, in case you needed it.

Desitin diaper rash creme (Moderate Hazard Rating of 6)Poison Help 800-222-1222

Baby Magic Lotion (Moderate Hazard Rating of 6; Hawaiian Tropic Baby Lotion ranked 7!)

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock, spf 55 (High Hazard Rating of 7)

Dreft Laundry Detergent – Here are the warnings on the label:

“CAUTION: EYE IRRITANT. MAY BE HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED. SEE CAUTION ON BACK PANEL.”BACK PANEL: “CAUTION: In case of eye contact, flush with water. If swallowed, give a glassful of water or milk. Call a physician. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.”If it’s so toxic that I have to keep out of reach of my children, why would I want it soaking into the very fibers of their underwear and clothing?

Are you willing to agree that the quality of your life on this planet would be better if your body were toxic-free?  As it was always intended to be? Seems like a reasonable argument to me.

There are affordable, alternative products finally on the market to help you avoid these toxins.  You don’t have to sacrifice quality any longer.  What are you waiting for?

Have you ever heard of laundry soap that grows on a tree? How much more natural does it get?  Search the internet for ‘laundry soap nuts’ to find out all about this more-natural-than-air product!

Related Articles:

The Chemicals in Your Cosmetics (Huffington Post)

Environmental Toxins (Education.com)