Sit down, mama, I’ve got a chemistry lesson for you.
Did you know there are approximately 80,000 synthetic chemicals being used in the commercial market? Of course not. Why would you know that random bit of information?
Until I became a mother, I didn’t know it either. But my first-born came into the world with very sensitive skin. This sent me down a rabbit-hole of research: What is actually in this “baby lotion” I’m lathering her up in everyday? Why are the majority of eczema products on the market “fragrance-free?” I wanted to understand: what is causing my daughter’s skin to react this way? What I have discovered since then is pretty shocking.
Whether we are aware of it or not, our lives and homes are overflowing with synthetic chemicals. We paint them on our faces. Mop our floors with them. Bathe our children in them. In 2014, the American Chemistry Council estimated that synthetic chemicals are “used in 96 percent of manufactured materials and products.” 96 percent.
The materials and substances that fill and surround our lives have changed drastically in the last 100 years. Unfortunately, the laws affecting chemical regulation have not evolved as quickly as present-day chemical production. This means that of the approximately 80,000 chemicals flooding today’s consumer market, only a small percentage have been effectively tested for safety by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the Environmental Working Group, “no premarket safety testing is required for the industrial chemicals that go into personal care products or the chemical industry as a whole.”
What does this mean for you and me?
Put simply, it means a company does not have to prove that a chemical is safe for human usage before it puts that chemical into a product. Brands that we have grown-up using and trusting are filled with untested and/or unsafe synthetic chemicals.
As a consumer, we are not helpless against the ever-growing number of unsafe chemicals in our home. We have the power to research the ingredients of the products we use and make healthy choices for our families. Since starting the journey of reducing the toxicity in my home, I have found many resources online that assist consumers in making healthy choices. The two biggest are the Environmental Working Group’s website and the Think Dirty App. Both resources rate household/beauty products based on the toxicity of ingredients.
To make this information feel less overwhelming, I have adopted the “ditch and switch” method. When I run out of a beauty or household product, I research the ingredients using the databases mentioned above. If the product has questionable chemical ingredients, I “ditch” the toxic junk and “switch” to a product with safer ingredients.
My research has led me to “ditch and switch” the following products:
I made each of these changes because my research showed that the ingredients in my “switch” selections are safer, meaning they have little to no risk of cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity, as well as other environmental concerns. You can find each of my safer selections at Target or on Amazon.
Mama, you have the power to dictate what chemicals come into your home. Let your dollars speak. Do the research and find safe alternatives to the products you use on a daily basis. While I know this seems overwhelming, the “ditch and switch” method makes reducing toxins in your home more approachable. What seems daunting in the beginning becomes much simpler and easier as you find new brands with sustainable and transparent chemical practices—one swap at a time.