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You wake up, put anti-bacterial soap on your hands, wash your hands, put foam cleanser on your hands, and wash your face. Your daily regimen does not stop there. You pick up your toothbrush, slather on toothpaste, and brush your teeth. From the soap to the cleanser to the toothpaste, toxins are hidden in your daily bathroom products.
Anti-bacterial soap is problematic because of a secret chemical ingredient, triclosan (C12H7Cl3O2). The FDA has approved the chemical, but this May, it began to re-review the safety of triclosan to see if its costs outweighed its risks. Previously, in 1978, the FDA decided that it did not qualify as a GRAS, or Generally Recognized as Safe, chemical. However, this decision was made because of little scientific research on triclosan which meant that companies did not have to remove the chemical from their products. With recent studies coming out, the chemical has been found to alter hormone regulation in animals which means that humans may be affected by early onset puberty or increased infertility. Additionally, the animal studies illustrated the potential triclosan had in the development of anti-biotic resistant germs, and in harming the immune system. In 2008, exposure to triclosan was measured using a sample population of American adults and children, and reported that 75% of said sample had the chemical in their urine. (Please note: There is a fact discrepancy between the linked FDA website and the linked CBS News article, as the FDA website states that last winter it would have further information regarding the chemical, but the website has not been updated since August 29, 2012. The CBS News article was written May 2, 2013 and relates public concern over triclosan’s use.) Therefore, be sure to scope out the ingredients in your soap the next time you visit the bathroom.
Of facial and body cleansers, dietician, nutritionist, and best-selling author Kimberly Snyder states that they may contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) which are damaging to mucous membranes, respiratory tract, and immunity. SLS is a chemical that originates from coconuts, but the manufacturing (ethoxylation) strips SLS of its natural origins: SLS and SLES are bothcontaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic by-product, upon their manufacturing. “Fragrance” is an ambiguous term for often synthetic compounds that are unnecessarily put in cleansers and perfumes that contribute to poor air-quality and they negatively affect peoples’ health. If your facial cleanser has “fragrance” Snyder notes that 4,000 various compounds could be in it, all of which can prematurely age the skin, disrupt hormones, and could be carcinogenic. This ingredient has the ability to trigger asthma attacks, and it is a respiratory irritant. Many products simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient not for the sake of your health but to protect trade secrets. With these potential side effects in mind, it is best to steer clear of commercial cleansers.
Now that you’ve double checked that your anti-bacterial soap is free of triclosan and that you’re your facial cleanser is devoid of SLS and SLES, go back to your bathroom and look at your toothpaste. Does it proudly boast that it contains fluoride? Does it list fluoride as an ingredient? I thought so. Fluoride is in water, processed and pesticide-laden foods, toothpaste, mouthwash, Teflon pans, bottled tea, the list goes on. It used to be that fluoride was such a scarce chemical, that it was needed to be explicitly put in products to prevent tooth decay, but now fluoride has been pumped into everything Americans consume and utilize: dental fluorosis is the result. This tooth defect occurs because of excess fluoride. I have first-hand experience with this defect. My two front teeth bear the blotchy, white marks of excess fluoride that have only recently faded. But those white spots? They are intrinsic and may turn brown. Oil pulling with pure coconut oil helps with this defect along with turning away from fluoride contaminated products. Fluoride also makes teeth porous when ingested in excessive amounts.
When you wake up tomorrow morning, be sure to second-guess what you are putting on your face, body, and in your mouth. Your body is your temple, and it should not be vandalized by avoidable toxins. Chemicals are prevalent enough in our society, so don’t put them inside your body or allow them to seep into your pores simply by picking the wrong soap, cleanser, or toothpaste.
Image Source: Takashi Ota/Flickr