Parents can't help but experience an overwhelming sense of helplessness when searching for safer options in a store full of unlabeled products. Current regulation doesn’t provide an effective way to manage the 2,000 new chemicals brought to market each year. Our biggest hope for the near future is truth in labeling so Americans can make truly informed decisions.
We've been hearing from busy parents who just don't know where to start, so here are a few simple things you can change right away to create a healthy home for your family.
Avoid Products with “Fragrance” Listed on the Label
The problem: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic. And here's the kicker: manufacturers can legally hide over 3,000 chemicals under “fragrance.” A new report from Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) found that millions of people suffer from skin and respiratory allergies caused by hidden chemicals in fragrance. These unknown chemicals are commonly found in skincare, cleaning products, and air fresheners.
Skip Dryer Sheets, Even the Fragrance-free Sheets
The problem: Conventional dryer sheets often contain quaternary ammonium compounds, which are known to cause asthma, along with 1,4 dioxane which is known to cause cancer. Unscented products can still be made with fragrances added to mask the natural odor of other ingredients, instead of giving off a detectable scent.
Choose Safer Skin Care, Certified Organic When Possible
The problem: Our bathrooms are a literal minefield of toxic chemicals. Doctors have been prescribing medication to be administered through the skin for years, so we know that our bodies can absolutely absorb what it comes in contact with. The problem is that our outdated federal law allows cancer-causing chemicals in baby shampoo and lead in lipstick. That means it's up to us to find safer products to protect our children, but this is no easy task when there are so many “natural” and “organic” claims that are less than truthful.
The solution: We recommend choosing certified organic skincare when possible and products made by trustworthy companies who use safe ingredients and actually list them on the label voluntarily. Earth Mama Organics is an all-time favorite organic skin care line of ours.
NOTE: In India, Johnson & Johnson's license was suspended due to unacceptable levels of carcinogens still found in their products. As more cases like this unfold around the world, it becomes ever more important to safeguard our children.
FDA joint commissioner Kamlesh B Shende said, “There were unacceptable levels of ethylene oxide, which is a trigger for cancer. Ethylene oxide was being used to bring down microbial load in the powder by sterilisation. But it was found that there was ethylene oxide residue in the talcum powder, which is primarily used on infants. In light of this, we have suspended the licence.”
Ditch Poisonous Cleaning Products
The problem: Cleaning products are among the most toxic products found in the home, consistently remaining in the top five causes of poisoning in children and contributing to indoor air pollution. For example, The Environmental Working Group found that Comet contains over 100 undisclosed chemicals. In fact, most powdered scrubbing cleaners contain many toxic ingredients including formaldehyde, benzene and chloroform that can cause cancer, asthma and reproductive disorders.
P.S. Once you've conquered this list of priority changes, you can take the next step on your journey to a healthy home with our Getting Started Guide.