The Toxins Around Us

We are Exposed to Toxic Chemicals Every Day. 

Harsh chemicals are present in many of the products you use on a daily basis, such as cleaning and personal care products.  The dangers of these chemicals pose a significant risk to your health and cannot be ignored.  One of the best ways to make your home a safer, natural haven is to be aware of what ingredients to avoid in your personal care and cleaning products and understand the potential health risks involved in their use.

Health risks associated with the chemicals in our cleaning and personal care products

Toxic overload

“It is generally understood that the number of chemical compounds currently recognized in the United States exceeds 3 million and approximately 3,000 new ones are being added each year.”

Technologies and Management Strategies for Hazardous Waste Control, Published March 1983 by the United States Congress, Office of Technology Assessment.

Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disrupting chemicals, or endocrine disrupting compounds are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine systems. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Found in many household and industrial products, endocrine disruptors “interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body that are responsible for development, behavior, fertility, and maintenance of homeostasis.”

Environmental endocrine disruption: an effects assessment and analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives 1998

How toxic are our household cleaners?

According to the American Lung Association, the ingredients in most commercial solutions, sprays, and scrubs can be air pollutants, harmful chemicals, flammable or corrosive agents, can Irritate eyes or throat, cause headaches, and contribute to health problems like chronic respiratory problems and allergic reactions

Don’t be fooled

Some well-known products are labeled as “clean”, but contain many of the synthetics discussed.

Always read the label!

Toxins & synthetics have an impact on your health

The toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than air pollution.

Source: EPA report from 1985

Be wary of products with these on the label

In addition to harsh chemicals, you should look out for warnings and claims that might indicate a product is harmful to your health.

  • Directions that require a mask or ventilation while using the product
  • Instructions for hazardous waste disposal. If you can’t throw them in your garbage, do you want them all over your house? The fact that the EPA classifies oven cleaners, drain cleaners, wood and metal cleaners, polishes, toilet cleaners, tile tub and shower cleaners, and laundry bleach as hazardous waste is one reason you should eliminate them from your home.
  • A “combustible” or “flammable” warning
  • An “unscented” or “free and clear” claim on the label.  Unscented products can contain masking agents that are added to simply cover up fragrance with another toxic chemical. Always look for an ingredient list and not just the unscented claim.

Air quality

Did you know that indoor air is 5–7 times more polluted than outdoor air? Most cleaning products contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which have been associated with many health problems, including damage to the liver, kidneys, and the central nervous system. They have also been shown to harm our lungs and cause throat irritations and headaches. VOCs are released when products are used and can linger in the air long after we clean. When we breathe, we inhale the air—as well as whatever is in the air.

You’ll want to avoid these questionable chemicals

It’s not enough to simply look for a “non-toxic” or “natural” claim on the label.  These claims aren’t regulated by the FDA, so you’ll have to pay attention to the labels and learn how to identify questionable ingredients yourself.

  • Triclosan: An Endocrine disruptor that can cause antibiotic resistance and is linked to increased allergen sensitivity and disruption of thyroid function even at low levels. Found in: liquid soap, bar soap, toothpaste, and antiperspirants
  • DEA-related ingredients: Emulsifiers or foaming agents that may be carcinogens. Found in: creamy or foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos
  • Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances linger longer. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance and fragranced household products
  • Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others): Preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. They’re Endocrine disruptors and may alter hormone mechanisms and interfere with male reproduction. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, and foundation
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that create bubbles and foam in soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes. They can cause skin irritation, trigger allergies, and disrupt hormones and are linked to neurotoxicity. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. Found in: soap, shampoo, and body wash
  • MIT (methylisothiazolinone) and BIT (benzisothiazolinone): Known skin irritants that are considered neurotoxic. They’re antibacterial ingredients that are EPA-registered pesticides and used as preservatives. Found in: personal care products
  • Phenoxyethanol: A common preservative considered to be an endocrine disruptor, neurotoxin, and skin and eye irritant. Found in: many “non-toxic” cleaning products
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds, or “quats”: Chemicals associated with asthma and reduced fertility, as well as birth defects in animals. Found in: antibacterial cleaning supplies, disinfecting air fresheners, and fabric softeners
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane which may be a carcinogen. Found in: soaps, creams, sunscreen, and shampoos
  • Parfum/Fragrance: Synthetic fragrances that have been linked to asthma, allergies, skin irritation, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, cancer, nervous system, respiratory, and endocrine disruption. Fragrances may contain any combination of 3,000-plus chemical ingredients. Companies don’t have to disclose the fragrance formula because it is protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets.

Be Aware of the Cumulative Impact to Your Health!

You bring these toxins and synthetics into your home with the use of many standard cleaning & personal care products.  Cumulative exposure to harmful chemicals can have significant and long-lasting effects on our health.

    • Many chemicals, such as phthalates, can accumulate in our bodies over time, increasing the risk of chronic health problems such as cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, and neurological damage.
    • Exposure to these chemicals can affect multiple organ systems, causing damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.
    • Even low-level exposure to harmful chemicals can have negative effects over time, and some chemicals can remain in our bodies for years, meaning the effects of exposure can be felt long after the initial exposure occurred.

    It is important to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals whenever possible, by using safe products and practices in our daily lives.

    Young Living offers safe, natural products for you and your home

    Again, one of the best ways to make your home a safe haven for you and your family is to be aware of what ingredients to avoid in your personal care and cleaning products.  Discover the benefits of a healthy home and enjoy the delightful aromas of their premium product lines.

    Re-direct your spending to safer alternatives

    Start replacing your current personal and household products with non-toxic, plant-based alternatives from Young Living.   Check the ingredients – what’s not in the products is just as important as what is.  Begin to make a difference today – reduce the overall impact to your health with your own “ditch & switch” strategy.