Letter to the editor: The toxic reality

As American consumers, we live in a capitalist society where we indulge in purchasing products to temporarily satisfy our happiness. What we do not pay attention to, are the labels on the personal care products. We expose ourselves to deadly chemicals every day, even though these labels often indicate that the products we use are harmful.

Typically, we wake up in the morning by brushing our teeth, showering where we run soap throughout our body massaging shampoo into our hair, rubbing deodorant under our arms, spraying our bodies. Standard personal care products consist of shampoos, conditioners, lotions, perfumes/colognes, mouthwash, toothpaste, and the list goes on. We expose our body to these products mindlessly without knowing that they are laced with chemicals. According to Save Our Skin, “26 seconds is all it takes for the chemicals in your personal care products to enter your bloodstream.” American consumers think the personal care products they are using daily are safe, when in reality the products are TOXIC.

A valuable database to use is Environmental Working Group (EWG’s Skin Deep.) EWG.org breaks down exactly what ingredients are in your personal care products. EWG is easy to use, simply type in the personal care products you use daily. The site will generate your product to show all the ingredients in your care products and how harmful they can be towards your body. According to EWG “staff scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases.” The fact that the site researches with a variety of different websites to provide the most educated information shows indeed how harmful the ingredients we consume are.

The frightening reality is that it is easy for industries to add chemicals and fillers into our personal care products. No testing for the safety of the product is required for manufacturing. According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the Federal Food and Drug Administration, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” The FDA is not looking out for American consumers if they are allowing these “raw materials” to be used without any safety background checks. Conversely, the European Union has banned hundreds of chemicals in cosmetics that are still commonly found in US products.

An alternative to using toxic chemicals is to use personal care products with essential oils and natural ingredients. According to Young Living a well-known essential oil company, “essential oils are aromatic liquids extracted from plants through steam distillation. This is genuine, therapeutic-grade oil from a first distillation.” If you want to find essential oils locally, they can be found at Co-Ops and stores like Whole Foods. Essential oils have three methods of use: inhalation, ingestion, and topical application. Essential oils are also incorporated into common personal care products such as toothpaste.

With the holidays coming up, essential oils can make a unique gift. A popular essential oil is Thieves. Thieves is a holiday blend composed of clove, rosemary, and other oils. Thieves can be diffused into the air and makes a non-toxic alternative to conventional air refreshers. Thieves can also relieve a sore throat, toothache, fever blister, and has many other benefits. If you have the patience of going through the process, you can make homemade personal care products using the purchased oils and other natural ingredients. Live a more wholesome life by incorporating essential oils into your routine.

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