Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day 50 of our Green Year: Personal Care Green Style

Something we all use, or hopefully all use, is deodorant. We put it on every day, and it keeps us smelling good while we are out in public. While we know that aerosol deodorants are bad for the environment, and should not be used, many people use roll-on deodorant that is harmful to themselves and the environment.
Most deodorant these days has a high content of aluminum in it. The aluminum that is used has been theorized to be a link, not only to conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, but also breast cancer. As well, there are several other harmful chemicals in the deodorant sticks that can cause problems for the environment when they are extracted, created and put into the deodorant stick.

As well, there are plenty of other skin and hair care products that contain harmful chemicals that do damage to ourselves and the environment. Therefore, for personal care from toothpaste to deodorant, we are going green and organic. First of course, we needed to know what to watch out for, so here is a quick list of harmful items found in many personal care products. Avoid these!

  1. Coal Tar - Found in dandruff shampoos and anti-itch creams, this is a known cancer causer in humans. It is also found in mouthwash.
  2. Diethanolamine - This product is found in many personal care products and it is a possible hormone disruptor.
  3. Formaldehyde - Causes many health problems including immune-system toxicity, respiratory irritation and cancer. Found in baby bath soap, nail polish and hair dyes.
  4. Lead and Mercury - Found in many products including toothpaste and men's hair dye, this can cause brain-damage and other severe health problems.
  5. Petroleum - Known human carcinogens found in many cosmetics in the United States (banned in Europe). They are common in mascara and foot-odor powder.
  6. P-Phenylenediamine - Found in hair dyes, this can cause allergic reactions and problems with the nervous system and lungs.
  7. Hydroquinone - Used in skin lighteners, moisturizes and more, there is evidence of it causing cancer in lab animals.
How do you avoid these? Well, look for products that do not contain those ingredients, or ones that carry certifications, including USDA Certified Organic, the Natural Products Association, BDIH or the Australian Certified Organic.

When we see how much cancer is spreading across North America, and how other diseases seem to be on the rise, it may be because we are spending money on harmful products for the sake of beauty. While these do cause problems for ourselves, they can be worse for the environment. Some have to be extracted from the environment using harmful methods, and when they are being processed and manufactured they release harmful chemicals into the air.

Visit http://www.safecosmetics.org/companies for more information on companies that use safe products.