The Not So Wonderful World of Chemicals

So I’ve been meaning to blog about this topic for a while now. I think what’s delayed me is the fact that there’s a lot to cover and it can be overwhelming to take in at first but it’s super important and everyone needs to know about it! So, you’ve been warned…

In a nutshell: harmful chemicals are lurking everywhere.

It’s the frightening truth that we are breathing, absorbing and ingesting harmful chemicals every single day. Unless you read the ingredients (and know which ones are harmful), you’ll be none the wiser. Here are the names of some common ones:

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Paraffin
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Mineral Oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Synthetic Fragrance and Parfum
  • Synthetic Colour
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • PEG (polyethylene glycols)
  • DEA (diethanolamine)
  • BPA (Bisphenol-A)
  • BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) & BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
  • GMO food (genetically modified organisms)
  • Aluminium
  • Preservatives
  • Food additives (e.g. aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, trans fats, sulphur dioxide, sodium nitrate, flavourings)

And here’s where they’re hiding:

  • Hair products – shampoo, conditioner, serum, gel, wax, spray, dye
  • Face and body moisturiser
  • Sun cream
  • Make up
  • Toothpaste
  • Soaps, hand wash and shower gels
  • Perfumes
  • Antiperspirants
  • Tampons
  • Condoms
  • Antiseptic wipes, creams and gels
  • House cleaning products
  • Laundry detergent
  • Washing up liquid
  • Air fresheners
  • Scented candles
  • Plastics e.g. containers, bottles, BPA cans, bags, packaging, toys
  • Pharmaceutical drugs
  • Food and drinks (this needs a blog post of its own!)

Remember, these products that we see today have not been around for hundreds of years. The effects of using them therefore, have not been well researched or documented (until very recently). These products are marketed as convenient, effective and economical. And it works. All these products are widely accessible in shops today with hundreds of different varieties. And in most shops, there are no chemical free alternatives. We don’t know any better. So naturally, we trust that these products are safe to buy and use.

What we don’t realise or consider is that the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries are multibillion dollar industries. They therefore have no interest in curing or preventing illnesses; revealing the effects or risks of the ingredients; or supporting evidence that shows the benefits of natural ingredients, remedies or therapies. They will deliberately withhold or deny any information that can potentially destroy their economy. Very sad but true.

Fortunately, people are becoming more aware of the dangers of using these chemical laden products. Important research findings are now emerging on the effects of such use, including links to the growing numbers of illnesses and conditions such as cancer and hormone imbalances. (Personally, I believe this chemical overload contributes to the many cases where seemingly ‘healthy’ people who eat well, exercise, don’t smoke etc., find themselves diagnosed with a condition or disease. However, mindset and stress are also huge factors here – whole other topic!).

The good news is that organic and natural alternatives are on the rise in health stores, supermarkets and in many online stores (seriously, search for yourself!). And yes, they are often more expensive, but not always.  Knowledge is key here – personally, once I became aware of both the toxic products and the natural alternatives, there was no going back. I always check the ingredients (both in stores and online) and I choose natural every time. My health is 100% worth the investment.

There are also many ways to make your own products using natural ingredients (again just search for DIY recipes and ingredients online). Here are some natural products I currently use from online stores:

And here’s what I’ve mixed together myself:

  • Hands down, vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice are all you need to clean your whole house (including food) as they are natural disinfectants:
    • Vinegar or lemon juice and water mix for surface and glass cleaning, removing mould and preventing mildew in the shower
    • Baking soda for removing tough stains and odours
    • Vinegar or lemon juice with water for soaking fruits and vegetables to remove residue and pesticides
  • Essential oils for room smell and body cologne
  • Natural oils such as coconut, olive and avocado as face, body and hair moisturiser
  • Coconut oil, baking soda, tapioca starch and lavender oil for deodorant (if you are not used to natural deodorants, be aware that they are not antiperspirants since they do not contain chemicals that block your glands to prevent sweating. This means that with natural deodorants you will sweat more than you may be used to but they are very effective at keeping you smelling sweet all day and you are not absorbing anything toxic)

So, it’s a lot to take in. It can be daunting and frustrating. But don’t panic. Firstly, you can feel grateful that you now have this awareness and knowledge. And secondly, you can now make informed choices on what you buy. You may choose to gather all the chemical products you can find in your house and gradually replace them one by one…or as many as you can in one go! Remember this will affect whoever you live with also. Get them on board. Your health is worth it!!

 

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