KICK THE CHEMICALS TO THE CURB AND LIVE YOUR CLEANEST, HEALTHIEST LIFE.
The world we live in is full of chemicals. Even if we wanted to stay away from them it wouldn't be possible because those little buggers are everywhere – furniture stores, friends’ houses, shopping centres, petrol stations, schools, parks – you get the gist.
Experts believe that the concoction of chemicals we consume each day in our water, food and air can be a major contributor to current-day health issues such as cancer, obesity, autism, and diabetes, to name a few.
We may not be able to live a 100% chemical-free lifestyle, but we can control the number we allow into our own homes.
HOW TO HUNT CHEMICALS DOWN WITHOUT TURNING YOUR LIFE UPSIDE-DOWN.
It can be overwhelming trying to make the change to chemical-free living. Knowing where to start, what to look for on labels and how to integrate this way of being into your life can be challenging and time-consuming.
Chemicals have managed to sneak their way into nearly all our products, and most people use them without having any idea about the harm they are causing.
As women, we can expose ourselves to over 200 chemicals per day just through our personal care products. If you stop to think about it for a moment, just imagine how many chemicals you’re coming into contact with in your food, care and cleaning products. Pretty scary, huh?
MY TOP TEN AVOIDABLE CHEMICALS
What type of cleaning products are you using? Do you mow the lawn and use weed killer in the garden? Do you eat packaged food? Do you drink cordial? Or water from the tap?
These everyday activities are often rife with chemicals, so you want to know what you're being exposed to and what to avoid on a daily basis.
So, what are these chemicals doing to us? I'm not going to name and explain all the chemicals that are causing harm to our bodies as there are simply too many to list. Instead, I'm going to review the top 10 chemicals to avoid and why, because I believe knowledge is power and it reminds me of the phrase: "If I knew better, I would have done better.”
Parabens are used in 99% of cosmetics. They extend the shelf-life of beauty products by preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mould. This may sound good, but they also stop any other active plant base in the product from functioning. They are an endocrine disrupter which interferes with the natural balance of hormones in our bodies and may create allergic reactions and skin irritations.
Synthetic colours can be found in both foods and cosmetics, including lipsticks, eye shadow, colourful personal care products, and processed foods and drinks. They are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources and are suspected carcinogens and skin irritants.
Fragrance is a worrying term because the manufacturer doesn't have to list what the ingredients are. This means you could potentially be wearing a concoction of 100 to 350 chemicals. Fragrances can be associated with allergies, dermatitis and respiratory issues, and are typically found in perfume, cologne, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and moisturisers.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that make plastic more flexible. They are endocrine disruptors and can trigger asthma. They can be found in soap, air freshers, toilet paper, toys, and any item that has 'Fragrance' listed in its ingredients.
Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulphate (SLS) can be found in more than 90% of personal care and household products. They are skin, lung, and eye irritants and can allow the skin to absorb other chemicals readily. They are found in shampoos, foaming washes, body wash/cleansers, and makeup products.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEGS) are petroleum-based compounds often used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents and softeners. They are considered carcinogens and can be found in shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers, and deodorants.
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative (FRP’s) in cosmetic products to prevent bacteria growth. It is a known carcinogen that can cause skin irritations and be problematic for the immune system. It can be found in nail polish, body wash, shampoos, conditioners, cleansers and makeup.
Triclosan is used as an antibacterial, antifungal agent in bathroom products. It is a hormone disruptor that can cause allergic reactions and result in reduced bacterial resistance. It can be found in toothpaste, body wash, soaps, and dishwashing liquids.
Toluene is a petrochemical that is derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. It is also listed on labels as benzene, toluol, phenyl ethane or methylbenzene. This chemical is a potent solvent that is so strong; it can dissolve paint. It can affect the respiratory system, irritate the skin and be problematic for the immune system. It can be found in nail polish and remover, hair dye, home cleaning products, furniture polish, and paint.
Diethanolamine (DEA) & Triethanolamine (TEA): used to make cosmetics creamy. It is a known carcinogen and skin irritant that can be found in moisturisers, sunscreens, soaps, cleansers, shampoos.
TIME TO CLEAN UP!
Now that you know what these chemicals do, the next step toward living a chemical-free life is to do an audit on your house and replace the worst offenders.
Roll up those sleaves!
Go through each room in your house with a garbage bag, notebook and pen and start sorting out which products to remove. Start making a list of all the products you need to replace. Just because you are going chemical-free doesn't mean you need to miss out – you just need to know where to shop!
Items you may want to check the ingredients of during your audit include:
Face creams, toners, cleansers, body moisturisers, body washes, soaps, shaving creams, shampoos & conditioners, lip balms, makeup, makeup removers, deodorant, hair products, sunscreen, perfumes, hygiene products, toothpaste, nail polish and nail polish remover.
Toilet cleaners, air fresheners, and soaps.
Washing detergents, stain removers, bug sprays - all cleaning products!
Dishwashing liquids and tablets, soaps, kitchen cleaners including bench sprays, oven, stainless steel and glass cleaners.
All packaged foods and drinks. Below is a list of colours and preservatives to avoid:
Preservatives: Sorbates 200-203, Benzoates:210-213, Sulphites:220-228, Nitrates & Nitrites 249, 252.
BUYING REPLACEMENT PRODUCTS
Changing to a chemical-free lifestyle doesn't need to be hard, you just need to know where to buy alternative products. The good news is, there is an Australian-owned online marketplace that sells a massive range of chemical-free products from beauty care to household cleaning products, guaranteed to be "nasty free."
You can shop online with the assurance that each product on the platform has gone through an independent advisory panel to ensure there are no hidden chemicals. It's free to be a customer, and they deliver anywhere in Australia. To find out more visit Inner Origin .
GO FORTH AND CONQUER!
I can’t promise going chemical-free will be an easy process, but I truly believe it’s worth the effort. If you have any feedback or hot tips for cleaning out the chemical closet, get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.