You’ve probably had that moment. The one where you run out of a trusty household staple at the moment you need it most -- we’re looking at you, dishwasher detergent! When this happens, it can be easy to fall into the trap of replacing it with the same brand you’ve been using for years. But conventional products are filled with toxic chemicals that negatively impact our health. You’ve likely heard of the common offenders such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and synthetic dyes and fragrances. But how exactly do these ingredients -- and a slew of others -- affect our health?
LET’S LOOK AT WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
First, it’s important to realize that these ingredients do in fact make their way into our bodies. In 2000, the CDC performed a study measuring human exposure to phthalates. They found phthalates in each of the 289 people tested, many with notably high levels. High phthalate levels have been linked to thyroid issues, endocrine disruption, insulin resistance, and weight gain. They’re also linked to poor semen quality and low sperm count in men and pregnancy loss in women. In children, high phthalate levels increase the risk of behavioral issues such as ADHD and aggression.
If that isn’t incentive enough to get you to ditch products with this ingredient, here’s one more--phthalates are classified as hazardous waste and are regulated as pollutants when released into the environment. We think it’s safe to say that they have no place on, in, or around our bodies!
WHAT ABOUT ALL THE OTHER INGREDIENTS?
So far, we’ve just scratched the surface on the impact that just one of these common ingredients can have on our health. The truth is that the toxic ingredients listed in the first paragraph have all been shown to affect many different systems in our bodies and have been linked to ailments such as allergies, dry & brittle hair, hormone imbalance, respiratory issues, infertility, skin conditions, migraines, and cancer.
HOW MUCH EXPOSURE TO THESE TOXINS CAN MY BODY HANDLE?
How much exposure to these toxins our bodies can safely handle is difficult to measure and varies by ingredient. Some people suffer from immediate reactions such as headaches, congestion, sneezing, or irritated eyes or skin. Others may use conventional products for years without having outwardly expressed symptoms. Instead, the damage may be internalized, which could lead to more serious and long-term ailments in the future. For example, many of these harmful substances bioaccumulate in our bodies, meaning our bodies build up a toxic load of these substances over time. The more they accumulate, the more symptoms may occur. This is one reason it’s not a good idea to continue using the conventional products you already own.
SO IS THERE ANY GOOD NEWS?
Yes! The good news in all of this is that our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves. And when we switch to clean products, we give our bodies a break from the toxicity overload so that they are able to recover.
SO HOW CAN I FIND THE BEST PRODUCTS?
First, it’s important to avoid common label tricks like “greenwashing.” This is when companies label their products using colors and keywords to imply that they are a clean alternative when in actuality they’re not. For example, the label may say that the product is free of some toxic offenders like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, but if you read the ingredients, you’ll see it may still contain other junk like petrolatums or fragrance. Examining ingredients and buying certified organic products is a wise choice, but the best bet is to shop at a trusted retailer.
At Back to Basics we evaluate each and every ingredient in the products we sell, including how and where the ingredients are sourced. We test every product for safety and effectiveness and only offer the cleanest products on the market. Now that sounds like great news!
WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
Now that you recognize the importance of switching to clean products, it’s time to put that knowledge into action and ditch the dirty products you already own. We know this may seem like a daunting task, so coming up next, we’ll help you identify which products to swap out first. And if you want to get a head start, here’s a two word hint: synthetic fragrance.