By Esther Phillips
This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.
This week I gave a talk at an Essential Oil ladies group. My friend Sybil has started a monthly get-together and it has been a great way to pool our resources, share experiences and grow in our understanding of how to be good stewards of God's gifts.
My talk was on the toxic burden our modern, technologically advanced generation have put on ourselves and our children. My plea was to recognize the fallout (sometimes many years hence) that cheap, chemical ingredients have on our environment and our bodies. Below is the handout to my talk. I cannot reproduce all the questions and sharing that this precipitated, but this should give you an idea.
The Toxic Danger of Personal Care Products
Our skin absorbs whatever we put on it, so be careful what you are absorbing. Here are the worst offenders in deodorants:
- Aluminum has many chemical names but always starts with some form of ‘aluminum’. Most people know that this metal has been linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.
- Propylene glycol is petroleum-based and has been shown to compromise the central nervous system, liver and heart.
- Paraben chemicals include methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl. These are synthetic preservatives and many people are concerned that they disrupt the hormone system. They are especially problematic in adolescents – and there have been links from parabens to birth defects.
- Triclosan has been classified by the FDA as a pesticide and by the EPA as a suspected carciagen. It kills healthy as well as harmful bacteria.
Here are some of the worst offenders in personal care products, detergents etc:
|Propylene Glycol is a key |
ingredient in anti-freeze
- DEA (Diethanolamine)—Found in more than 600 home and personal care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, bubble baths, lotions, cosmetics, soaps, laundry and dish washing detergents. A hormone-disrupting chemical it is suspected of carcinogenic activity (causing or contributing to cancer) or of being potentially dangerous or hazardous to health.
- Propylene Glycol —This is the main ingredient found in anti-freeze. Why is it so common in shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, toothpastes, processed foods, baby wipes, and many more personal care items? Because it maintains smooth consistency and moisture content. Implicated in contact dermatitis, Propylene Glycol can inhibit skin cell growth in human tests and can damage cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin, and surface damage. It is petroleum-based and has been shown to compromise the central nervous system, liver, kidneys and heart.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureyh Sulfate (SLS or SLES) — This cell mutagen has many industrial uses because it suds nicely. It's included in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash detergents. Also found in shampoos, liquid soaps, conditioners, cleansers, toothpaste, and children’s personal care products. SLS or one of its derivatives is found in nearly all toothpastes, as well. The processing needed to manufacture SLS results in a carcinogenic by-product. The problem is, it is absorbed through skin contact and retained in the body. Research studies have shown links to organ toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, cellular changes, developmental and reproductive toxicity and cancer.
- Coal Tar FD&C colors – Absorption can cause depletion of oxygen in the body.
- “Natural” deception – if an ingredient is a five generation derivative of coconut meat some claim it is still ‘natural’ and label it as such. (All SLS originates from coconuts – don’t be deceived it is not ‘natural’).Some products labeled ‘organic’ contain only a tiny percentage of organic ingredeiants.
- TEA (triethanolamine) – a common chemical ingredient in shampoos and detergents. When it combines with the SLS in the product it results in NDELA, a nitrosamine and a know carcinogen.
Just because these chemicals are ‘small’ don’t think they are insignificant. It is the accumulative effect of these products which are a significant factor in our overall health.
In one of Dr. Mercola’s reports he explains it like this:
‘Daily use of ordinary, seemingly benign personal care products like shampoo, toothpaste and shower gel can easily result in exposure to thousands of chemicals, and many will make their way into your body and become "stuck" there, since you lack the means to break them down.
Dr. Mercola warns about some
of the chemicals in standard
cleaning and care products
This toxic load can become a significant contributing factor to health problems and serious diseases, especially if your diet and exercise habits are lacking.
Women seem to be predisposed to more autoimmune disorders than men. Diseases such as thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis are far more common in women. Perhaps one of the major contributing factors is that women tend to use far more personal products than men…
It is especially challenging to establish a link between these routine chemical exposures and health problems down the road, because the adverse effects might not show up for years.
As Theo Colburn discusses in Our Stolen Future, in some cases, effects are not seen in the person exposed but DO appear in her offspring. This has been seen in the animal kingdom, as well as in humans. Some adults have been known to suddenly show a disease many decades after prenatal exposure.’
The fact that synthetic chemicals are accumulating in our bodies was shown by the government funded Human Adipose Tissue Survey. Almost everyone tested showed measurable levels of petroleum-based, carcinogenic chemicals in their fatty tissues.
THE SOLUTION is not difficult. READ THE LABEL and CHOOSE TO CHANGE! Ensure you and your children are not being exposed daily to soaps, shampoos, conditioners, bubble baths, toothpastes, cleaning products, detergents, skin care products, cosmetics etc. with hazardous agents.
Young Living has made this easy for us. They have all natural (truly natural) ingredients combined with the wonderful benefits of essential oils in their cleaning, personal care and skin care items. If you simply start by shopping for non-toxic, non-hazardous items and weed out all potentially toxic chemicals from your home environment this will lessen your toxic load and give your body a better chance at health.
Challenge # 1 Start going through your family’s personal care items, cleaning products etc. Read the labels. Get rid of those items with a chemical load. Start switching to non-toxic alternatives.
Challenge #2 Share with a friend. Many people are ignorant of how insidious and dangerous the chemicals they absorb everyday are.
We shop every month for cleaners and liquid soaps and personal care items. Why not transfer your regular shopping to your YL Essential Rewards autoship order each month? That way you not only have peace of mind about the products and ease of a regular order for items you need anyway, but you’ll receive more points towards free items as you protect your family.
For those interested in making their own personal care products visit our earlier blog post 'Make Your Own Care and First-Aid Products' and my last diary entry where I talked about the surface cleaner I made. Also visit Stacy MacDonald's website for lots of ideas.