The Dirty Facts
In a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, people on average use nine personal care products daily (EWG 2016). Amongst the millions of daily personal care products on the market, there are THOUSANDS of ingredients, all of which, vary in safety. U.S. researchers have identified 10,500 industrial chemicals found in our cosmetics, some of which are carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers and surfactants (Suzuki 2016).
Most personal care products ranging from creams to shampoos to deodorants are applied directly to your skin; your body’s largest organ. Did you know that your skin is capable of absorbing 70% of what you put on it? AND that goes directly into your bloodstream within 30 seconds? Therefore, if you are putting toxic chemicals on your skin repeatedly, there are toxic implications for your body (Hobson 2013). The majority of everyday personal care and cleaning products that we use, including many of those that claim to be green, natural and organic, contain toxins that can be highly detrimental to our health and the health of our planet. We need to be aware of these products and their impact on our bodies (Kristof 2015).
For the Health of It
Studies, demonstrating the effects of toxic chemicals used in the personal care and cleaning industry, are revealing alarming results. In a recent study that analyzed breast cancer tissue, 99% of the cancerous tissue contained parabens, a chemical found in most personal care products, suggesting a potential linkage between parabens, hormone disruption and breast cancer (Darbre et al. 2004). Prenatal exposure to phthalates, chemicals found in many consumer goods including personal care products, may cause abnormal development of male reproductive organs (EWG 2016).
Many companies that are using these chemicals rebut the dangers of doing so by saying that the amount of these chemicals used in their products is small. Regardless of whether the amount of these toxic chemicals in our body products is large or minute, if we are using them every day, these toxins quickly add up. We must consider the cumulative effects of exposing ourselves to toxins every day - the effects of using dirty personal care products regularly, means chronic exposure to these toxins. This is a daily attack on our immune system.
Chemicals commonly found in personal care products have been linked to the following health outcomes: (e.g. parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, PEG compounds, fragrance, sulfates, dioxins and many more - stay tuned for a blog post on Label Reading 101 that discusses chemicals to avoid at all costs, in detail)
- Thyroid disorders
- Endocrine disruption
- Fertility problems
- Type 2 diabetes
- Behavioural issues
- Early puberty
- Developmental problems
- Contact dermatitis
- Eye irritation
- Respiratory distress and damage
- Developmental damage in the fetus
- Depressed immune system
- Allergic skin reactions - skin irritation
- Stripped, depleted skin
- Kidney damage
The Good News
Let’s Love Our Planet, Not Pollute It!
Many of the chemicals synthesized for personal care, beauty, and cleaning products do not break down and are showing up in our water sources. Countless studies have demonstrated that the hormones of wildlife are negatively altered by chemicals from our personal care products that are rinsed down our drains and into our water sources. Other ingredients such as phosphates found in both personal care and cleaning products are water pollutants that cause eutrophication. Eutrophication is the excessive growth of aquatic plants that leads to oxygen depletion, resulting in the death of fish and other organisms (Organic Consumers Association 2016). The bottom-line here is these unnecessary toxins are wreaking havoc on waterways, plants, animals and humankind.
The time to make the switch to truly clean personal care products is now. You do not have direct control over the toxins that you are exposed to from the environment, but you do have control on what you put on your body. Making the switch to clean products is the simplest way to reduce your body’s exposure to toxins; a change that has profoundly positive results.
There are an increasing number of resources that make the process of becoming an informed consumer easier. ‘Think Dirty’ is an amazing resource that makes it easy to shop clean. It is an unbiased product comparison app for cosmetics and personal care products. Simply download the app and scan your bathroom to find out just how dirty (or clean) your current products are. Products are rated on a 0-10 scale - 0 being the cleanest and 10 being the dirtiest (with long-term negative health impacts). The app also gives you “shop clean” options. Check out Jusu Body on Think Dirty; we received the cleanest rating of 0 on every single Jusu Body product!
It is time to ensure you are using clean products, and not ones containing chemicals that are linked to a series of grave health and environmental outcomes. Use products that strengthen your body inside and out, while respecting the environment. Discover your true potential...your choices DO make a difference!
Questions, concerns, queries or conundrums? We’d love to hear from you. Let’s start a dialogue.
Darbre, P., Alijarrah, A., Coldham, N., Miller, W., Pope, G., Sauer, M. 2004. Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumours. Journal of Applied Toxicology. 24, 5-13. Retrieved from: http://www.dr-baumann.ca/science/Concentrations%20of%20Parabens%20in%20Human%20Breast.pdf
EWG. 2016. Why this matters – Cosmetics and your health. Environmental Working Group. Retrieved from: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/2011/04/12/why-this-matters/
EWG. 2016. Cleaning Supplies: Secret Ingredients, Hidden Hazards. EWG. Retrieved from: http://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/content/weak_regulation
Hobson, Hayley. June, 2013. Why you need to switch to organic skincare. MindBodyGreen. Retrieved from: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9796/why-you-need-to-switch-to-organic-skincare.html
Kristof, Nicholas. November, 2015. Contaminating Our Bodies With Everyday Products. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/29/opinion/sunday/contaminating-our-bodies-with-everyday-products.html?_r=3
Suzuki, David. 2016. What you need to know about toxins in yours cosmetic products. David Suzuki Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/what-you-need-to-know-about-toxics-in-your-cosmetic-products/
Organic Consumers Association. 2016. How Toxic are your Household Cleaning Supplies? Organic Consumers Association. Retrieved from: https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/how-toxic-are-your-household-cleaning-supplies