The reason I switched to organic products was not because of how wonderful organic ingredients are but because I learned about the research behind the toxins we use in our everyday products. Each day the average woman uses 12 cosmetic products filled with 168 ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration are not required to review, test or approve any of these products nor do they have the ability to recall harmful products from the market. Considering personal care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients and they’re not required to undergo any safety testing before being sold to the public, you can be sure that in your lifetime you have been exposed to your fair share of harmful toxins known to cause cancer, harm the reproductive system and disrupt the endocrine system.
.One entity I trusted from the beginning was the Environemntal Working Group (EWG). This is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that created a searchable online database of cosmetics called Skin Deep. This database evaluates the toxicity of ingredients of 70,000 personal care products. What did they discover in their epic evaluation?
1/3 of these products contained carcinogenic chemicals
45% were made with substances associated with reproductive or developmental toxicity
60% contained chemicals linked to hormone disruption.
There are studies by academic institutions and government agencies proving that these substances are not just confined to our skin, but they are showing up in our bodies starting from the womb. Scientists now question whether these toxins are what’s causing young people to get their periods earlier and earlier. I have a friend who works as an elementary school counselor and she recently told me that it’s now common for kids as young as 10 to start their periods. This truly frightens me. I don’t have kids (yet) but I want to make healthy choices not just for myself but for the health of my future children as well.
A study done on the umbilical cords of 20 American newborns found substances of:
Mercury: Damages the brain and nervous system
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers: Disrupts brain development and thyroid function
Bisphenol A (BPA): A synthetic estrogen connected to many serious disorders
Synthetic musks: A common ingredient in personal-care products and linked to hormone disruption
The fact is most personal care products on the market contain harmful chemicals. Take Phthalates for example. This is found everywhere from household cleaners to cosmetics and food packaging to skincare. Phthalates act as binding agents and in the past few years researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, neurodevelopmental issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.
Your lipstick most likely contains lead, a heavy metal linked to Cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and organ system toxicity
Your mineral foundation likely contains Mica, a naturally occurring mineral dust that’s used as filler in cement and asphalt
Your shampoo likely contains Formaldehyde, a chemical used to prevent microbes from growing in water-based products, and is linked to cancer.
Your lotion, cleansers, scrubs and more contain parabens, preservatives used to prevent the growth of microbes and associated with cancer and hormone disruption. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin, digestive system and blood.
Your hand soap, toothpaste and deodorant contain triclosan, an antimicrobial agent that can disrupt thyroid function and can react with chlorine to form Chloroform, a potential carcinogen..
All this being said, companies are not even required to disclose all the ingredients in their products on the ingredients list. There have been studies done on products made by companies claiming to be “healthy and natural” and finding them to contain toxic chemicals. These companies are “greenwashing” the public, marketing themselves in a certain light while concealing the truth. There are dozens out there but I will just point out LUSH. They market themselves as “Fresh and Handmade” everywhere but here’s the fine print: many of their products contain harmful preservatives, including parabens and parfum. They also strongly market themselves as against animal testing but 33% of their products contain animal products and aren’t even suitable for vegans to use.
This is the real reason you should switch to organic, everything else is icing on the cake.
To learn more I recommend browsing around the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Website