This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Non-Toxic Bodycare — the importance of having some personal safety criteria for the products we put on our skin, and some strategies for avoiding the chemical compounds most likely to negatively affect our health.
From phthalates to fragrances, we talk about the long list of commonly used ingredients known to cause trouble in the human body. We also explain why regulatory organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) don’t provide anywhere near as much protection as most people think.
We suggest some guidelines for selecting better, safer options, and we offer some experiments to help you upgrade your own use of bodycare products in ways that work for you.
“Non-Toxic Bodycare” Episode Highlights
- The potentially harmful effects of chemicals in personal care products, and the surprising lack of industry oversight and regulation
- How much of what you apply to your skin makes its way into your bloodstream, tissues, and organs
- The worst chemical offenders in commonly used products, and their known negative health effects
- Why conventional deodorants and antiperspirants are of particular concern
- The increased cosmetic and bodycare product use in children and teenagers, and how it contributes to a greater toxic body burden over a lifetime
- Practical suggestions for starting the conversion to less toxic products
- The psychological aspects of our “need” to use products that make us look younger or feel more attractive
Search the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for one product you use regularly. If it has harmful ingredients, replace it with a healthier option.
Study the ingredient list on the bodycare and cleaning products you use on a daily basis, including the supposedly “natural” and “healthy” ones. If they contain known toxins and irritants like parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, or synthetic fragrances, consider switching to a safer option.
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- The Environmental Working Group: the top resource for research and education on chemicals and other toxins in your environment, including cosmetic and bodycare products.
- The EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database: a great tool that lets you research the ingredients in almost 70,000 brand name products and assess their safety.
- The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: another respected source of information and advocacy related to common bodycare products.
- “Beauty Beware”: a terrific article via Experience Life magazine that describes the most harmful chemicals in personal care products and how to avoid them (also includes lots of helpful links and study references).
- Another great one from Experience Life: “Beauty Makeover”, offering wisdom and practical tips on choosing safer, better cosmetic products.
- “Obesogens: an emerging threat to public health” via PubMed from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
- “Busting Cosmetic Safety Myths” via the Environmental Working Group
- “Urinary phthalate metabolites are associated with insulin resistance in obese subjects” via the journal Environmental Research
- Not Just a Pretty Face by Stacy Malkan
- Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Endanger Your Health . . . and What You Can Do About It by Samuel Epstein, MD, with Randall Fitzgerald
- Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power by Mark Schapiro
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