The ingredients in shampoos, soaps, and other body washing products are something that I never gave much thought to until I had children. Okay, okay…you got me. Truth be told I didn’t even give it much thought after my first child was born. I was one of those naive consumers who thought that the government would never allow products with unsafe ingredients to be sold to the public. I thought that if a product was on a store shelf then it MUST be approved by Uncle Sam and it MUST be safe for me (and my children) to use. Why on earth would my government allow corporations to sell me toxic products right? It just wouldn’t happen!!
Yeah, that is what I used to think and that is what many millions of people in this country think right now. Sadly, it is not based in reality. The truth is that corporations get away with far too much and they are allowed to use the research and data they pay for to show that their products are safe. The fox is guarding the hen house. Also no one looks at the cumulative exposure of all ingredients we come into contact with. For instance when a company uses a known carcinogen in their product they hide behind the fact that their own scientists have deemed it safe in the small quantities that they use. Yet they do not tell you that they also use this ingredient in their body wash, lotion, and deodorant. That small dose isn’t so small when you consider just how many products the average person uses.
Remember the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton in it? I like to use that movie to illustrate the point. When the Joker was poisoning the population no one could figure out how. It was Batman who figured out that he had poisoned various chemical components of beauty products and that their combination would trigger some rather nasty side effects. Use the hair spray alone and you would be fine but combine that hair spray with lipstick and deodorant and you just poisoned yourself. That was a movie but reality isn’t so far off the mark.
I was awakened to the dangers of blind consumerism when my first child became very sick and I found myself pregnant again. I was bound and determined to parent “smarter” and make better choices. To this day (that was many years ago) I haven’t let up on my demand for safe and non toxic products and I still insist upon boycotting the companies who don’t seem to have a conscience when it comes to our health and safety. My children are older now and typically use the same products I do for washing…simple bar soap. Though I do have one child who insists upon a liquid body wash and back when they were little we used organic baby shampoo. It is worth the time and effort to source out the safer products.
Below are some common shampoo ingredients and the health problems they have been associated with:
You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it though. Check the Skin Deep Database from the Environmental Working Group and look up these ingredients or the ones on your current bottle of shampoo and body wash. When you learn that products sitting on store shelves everywhere contain ingredients that can cause organ system toxicity or cancer you start to realize that no one can protect us from these things except us. The government is not doing it and we can’t wait around for them to start. It may never happen. We need to educate ourselves about everything we buy and start making better choices NOW. This is especially important for any products we buy that are going to be used on our children. We cannot unfairly burden their small bodies with toxic products, especially when there natural, safe products out there to use instead.