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Toxic chemicals: the group that's totally out to save your skin
Categories: Beauty, Health and wellbeingJuly 08, 2016 | Posted by Mukti
Toxic chemicals are everywhere. We breathe them in, we ingest them, we rub them on our skin, we wash our clothes and hair in them, we brush our teeth with them, we spray them on our wrists and necks and most worryingly – we feed them to our vulnerable unborn babies through our placentas when we're pregnant.
Until now, there has been little regulation on companies producing these chemicals. The onus has been on scientists and health researchers to prove they’re not safe, as opposed to the onus being on the chemical companies to prove they are safe.
Should be the other way around, don't ya think?
Health experts around the world believe toxic chemicals are responsible for many of today’s health problems, including endocrine and autoimmune disorders, cancer, and an alarming rise in neurodevelopment disorders in children, who may be particularly vulnerable either in the womb or as infants.
But exciting news is emerging from the US. The New York Times recently reported a coalition of scientists, doctors, health experts and environmental organisations is running a world-first campaign to reduce our chemical load.
It’s called Project Tendr, which stands for Targeting Environmental NeuroDevelopmental Risks.
The group published a statement in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives saying we, as a society, should be able to take protective action when scientific evidence indicates a chemical is potentially toxic – without having to wait for unequivocal proof.
It’s a great sign that change is afoot and an issue that is close to our hearts at Mukti Organics is finally being taken seriously.
You know when the US President starts making moves that things are hotting up. President Obama recently signed into law an overhaul of America’s 40-year-old toxic chemical rules. The update to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act subjects 64,000 existing chemicals to eventual safety testing.
But – and it's a big BUT – only 20 chemicals will be tested at a time, with a deadline of seven years per chemical. Which is a snail’s pace, especially when we’re talking about our health and the health of our children.
Also, the new law doesn’t cover pesticides ised in food production – a big disappointment, as food is one of the main ways our children are exposed to toxic chemicals.
Top toxic chemicals to avoid
The chemicals singled out by the coalition are widely used, and manufacturers and some experts say more research is needed to demonstrate they have harmful effects. They include:
- Organophosphate pesticides: In one study, women who were pregnant when they lived near areas where these pesticides were in use were up to three times more likely to have a child who developed autism or other developmental disorders. This doesn’t show a cause-and-effect relationship, but a potential connection that warrants more investigation.
- Flame Retardants: Used in fabric and upholstery padding, plastic casings for televisions and computers and baby products. A major source of exposure is household dust, which can accumulate with residue from treated products. Some studies have associated these toxic chemicals with low IQ levels and hyperactivity in children.
- Lead: Still found in old homes and pipes, where it leeches into water. No level of lead exposure is safe.
- Phthalates: As we blogged about here, phthalates are used in plastic wrapping, kids’ toys, cosmetics and skincare products and building materials. They cross the placenta during pregnancy and have been linked to attention deficits in children, disruption of the endocrine system, liver damage, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in boys and girls.
Here's the scary part: Studies show almost all American women have these toxic chemicals circulating in their bodies during pregnancy. The majority of Australian women were found to have BPA in their urine in a 2011 study by Dr Anna Callan and published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. It's thought prenatal exposure to BPA can cause behavioural issues and hyperactivity.
With the increasing body of scientific knowledge about the effects of the many thousands of toxic chemicals we're coming into daily contact with, it's heartening to see the Project Tendr getting the ball rolling on holding the chemical manufacturing companies accountable.
Let's hope the repercussions are felt very soon in Australia. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to limit your exposure to some of the worst toxic chemicals.
How to Limit Your Exposure to Toxic Chemicals – From The New York Times, "A Call To Action on Toxic Chemicals"
- Reduce pesticide exposure by choosing organic strawberries, apples, nectarines, green beans, celery and spinach.
- Choose seafood low in mercury like salmon, sardines, trout.
- Breastfeed your baby if you can; if you use formula, make sure the water is lead-free.
- When buying furniture with padding like a high chair, sofa or mattress, ask for products that are labelled free of toxic flame retardants.
- Avoid exposing the family to tobacco smoke, wood smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves, idling car exhaust, cooking fumes from stoves and grills.
- If you’re putting in a new floor, choose either phthalate-free vinyl flooring or wood, bamboo or cork.
- Avoid plastic toys, backpacks, lunch boxes and school supplies made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which can be a source of phthalates.
- Choose fragrance-free personal care products to avoid phthalates in fragrances.
- When using stool softeners, laxatives and other time-release capsules, look for phthalates on the list of inactive ingredients so you can avoid them.
- Use nontoxic alternatives to pesticides in your yard and on your pets.
- Screen your house for lead. If it was built before 1978, lead paint may place your family at risk. If paint is chipping or peeling, it can build up in house dust and stick to children’s hands.
- Reduce household dust that may contain lead, flame retardants, phthalates and pesticides.
- Take shoes off before you come into the house and use a doormat to trap dirt outside and inside the doorway.
- Damp mop, use a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner and dust with a microfibre cloth.
Tell us what you think. Should the chemical industry have to prove the chemicals they expose us and our children to are safe before they're allowed onto the market? Leave a comment below and go into our bi-monthly draw to with a selection of Mukti Organics products.
Hi, I'm Mukti, the founder and creator of Mukti Organics. My aim is to assist you in achieving beautiful, radiant skin without using products containing toxic chemicals. Certified organic skin care is better for you, your family and our planet. Click here to sign up and receive 15% off your first order. Signing up and commenting on our blog posts enters you into our bimonthly draw to receive $150 worth of products of your choice.