I can’t understand why I have a headache. Yesterday I added a teaspoon of tequila to my toothpaste, my shampoo, my soap, my body lotion, and my lipstick. I felt fine. So I added another teaspoon every time I used my hand lotion throughout the day (about six times), then to my yogurt, some ketchup, three more in the sauce I made for dinner, then repeated my whole morning routine before bed. What’s the big deal?
I recently completed a class through John Hopkins University on how chemicals affect our health. The phrase that stuck with me most throughout the course was this…
“Dose determines the poison”
Essentially, the amount of a chemical determines its toxicity.
It’s the “dose” element that we crucially overlook.
The 1976 Toxic Control Substance Act covers virtually every chemical used in consumer and commercial products. When first inventoried, there were approximately 62,000 chemicals listed. Today there are closer to 85,000. While our understanding of the effects of these chemicals has certainly improved over time, the Act itself has not changed much.
Unfortunately, these chemicals seem to follow the innocent until proven guilty rules; they’re considered safe until proven otherwise. When a chemical’s safety is in question, companies can hire their own scientists- or use their own laboratories- for testing.
Much like that teaspoon of tequila. In my daily routine scenario, I ended up with 24 teaspoons of tequila…about 1/2 cup. I love tequila, but a half cup daily would probably start to take it’s progressive toll quickly.
Instead, we look chemicals in our skin care and question “Seriously? Am I really going to end up with breast cancer tomorrow because my mascara today contains Dimethicone?”
Probably not. But that chemical isn’t in one product we’re using…it’s in hundreds. And it’s there isn’t just one culprit. Basically, we’re feeding our skin (don’t forget 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies)- not to mention ingesting- multiple proverbial long island iced teas…daily.
Interestingly, the European Union has banned over 1100 skin care chemicals. The US? Just 1% of that.
Wondering which chemicals you should focus on eliminating? These five sound natural, but aren’t.
The Environmental Working Group’s, Skin Deep database is a great resource for determining the toxicity of your skin care products, or ingredients within them. Or click here for safer skin care options.
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