(Here is a guest post from reader Amy Lizee, who writes for Environment911.)
There are many products on the market in today’s society from natural and green to synthetic to chemical versions. The goal as a consumer is to separate out the differences in order to continue with your green living goals.
When considering a product, you not only want to consider your health and those of your family members exposed to it, but you also want to take the environment into consideration, which is why a lot of consumers are switching over to green or eco-friendly products.
But be careful! Many products are ‘green-washed’ to appear eco-friendly when they are in fact, not. In order to avoid toxic products, you need to know which ingredients and chemicals to steer clear of.
The following is a list of chemicals that you should avoid in any products that you can. Always try and get a natural or organic version of the product if possible.
1. Phthalates are synthetic chemicals that are used as softening agents for plastic. Various studies have found that these chemicals may alter development. If possible, avoid products that have phthalates listed as an ingredient or look for phthalate-free products, especially when it comes to children’s products, which are often made of phthalate-softened vinyl.
2. Sulfates are often found in cleansers, soaps and shampoos. These sulfates are often disguised as ‘sodium lauryl’ and ‘sodium laureth’. They are what give soaps their latherability. While they can come from coconut and other vegetable oils, these can be contaminated with pesticides and thereby cause skin rashes and irritation.
3. Petrochemicals and other petroleum-based chemicals such as mineral oil, and paraffin are derived from crude oil and other non-renewable resources. Sodium polyacrylate and carbomer are other petroleum-based chemicals that also create toxic by-products.
4. Oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate are used in many chemical sunscreens and have a toxic effect on endocrine activity. To avoid these chemicals, try looking for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide products, which are much safer options.
5. Parabens, ubiquitous in skincare, preserve other ingredients and extend a product’s shelf life–but these antimicrobial chemicals also have hormone-disrupting effects.
6. Triclosan and chlorphenesin are chemicals to avoid for the sake of the environment as they do not break down easily.
7. Ureas are the final chemicals on our list. They are extremely dangerous because they can release formaldehyde. Exposure to formaldehyde is known to have many side effects including difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea and other irritations. It is best to avoid this altogether if possible.
Now that you are aware of some of the dangerous chemicals that appear in many skin and body care products as well as toys and household objects, you are more able to make informed decisions as a consumer to avoid them.
This is especially important for those of you who are parents of children, at any age. We all want our future generations to grow up healthy and avoiding harmful chemicals is one of the best ways to do that! Plus, it helps save the environment!
Environment911.org is an interactive website for individuals to come and discuss the environment from green business to natural disasters. We feel it is important for people to come together and share their thoughts, ideas and visions for the future. The more we can communicate what is happening in our world, the more people can be educated and the more we can progress. Beyond Environment911.org you can find us on Facebook and Twitter where we are continuing to spread the message about our global environment and the impact that we have on it every day. www.environment911.org