Body And Home

Why lower your exposure to toxic chemicals?

While cleanliness is very important to maintaining a healthy home and body, most of the products we use leave a little something behind on our counters, clothing, dishes, bedding, bodies, etc. Manufacturers claim that all of these products have been tested and are safe "when used as directed".

The truth is, most household cleaning products have between one and eight chemicals classified as hazardous or toxic according to US federal laws.  While our bodies can shed toxins daily, it is the multiple exposure over time with multiple products used daily, that creates a build up or "toxic load" in our body.

  Can your body absorb ingredients?

Our skin is our largest organ.  Some studies claim that up to 60% of the ingredients in lotions are absorbed into our bodies.  Others say, 'don't be silly, you can't absorb a piece of food or cough syrup through your arm', and claim that figure should be less than 1%.   Confused by conflicting studies I carefully listened to each side, sometimes even flip flopping on the issue.  Here's what I've come to appreciate.

  • The skin does provides an extraordinary barrier for our bodies.   It's true.  We can't nutritionally feed our bodies through our skin.
  • Some things don't get absorbed into our bloodstream as proven in studies by blood tests.
  • Some chemicals can readily pass through the skin and enter the blood stream like benzene, carbon tetrachloride, carbon disulfide and methyl alcohol .
  • Medicinal patches and gels contain "carrier" ingredients to help the medicine break through the skin barrier more easily and into the bloodstream.
  • Our eyes, which are full of tiny blood vessels, and lips easily absorbs "toxins" into our bloodstream. 
  • Toxins can be ingested or inhaled through the mouth and nose.
  • Dry, cracked, irritated skin can weaken the protective layer of the skin.
  • Cuts and scrapes can break the protective layer of the skin.
  • Areas of the body that are particularly hairy can allow absorption through hair ducts. 
  • Don't believe everything you read.
  • Most studies are funded by someone who has something to prove.
  • Go with your gut.

In the end, it just makes sense to me that some toxins from beauty products and household cleaners end up in our bodies.  I certainly don't trust the manufacturer's "studies" to have my best interest at heart, nor do I want to be their guinea pig until they find out otherwise.

For the past eight months, I've been gradually changing my home and body products to less or non-toxic versions.  Some changes came easily.  Others took some getting used to.  Like food, you have to find a happy balance between lowering your daily exposure to toxins whilst deciding what you can't live without. Here's what I've found:

Shampoo & Conditioner
Leave in hair products
Household cleaners

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