Friday, November 9, 2012

The Dangers Lurking in Your Mascara

Busting The Myth On The 5-Second Rule
Did you know that most mascara contains chemicals associated with developmental and reproductive toxicity? Or that the parabens in your shampoo are linked to cancer? Did you know that the Teflon on your non-stick pan can disrupt your immune system? Did you know that the canned tomatoes you put in your chili tonight are laced with endocrine disrupting bisphenol A? Scary but true.
There are thousands of chemicals that make their way into your body everyday. Most people are familiar with pesticides on our food. Or even the chemicals we breathe in just walking down a busy street. But what about the chemicals in our personal care products, cleaners and on the very chair you sit on?
I've written about chemicals in our personal care products before. Since writing that article, I've done even more research into what those chemicals actually do us. It's not pretty.
Since there are thousands of chemicals we come into contact in a day, let's take just one as an example today. Let's look at polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. PBDE's are better known as flame retardants. While they provide us safety from being engulfed in flames while we sleep, there is growing evidence they are part of the increasing rates of autoimmune and other diseases. Proponents argue these chemicals have no effect on us because we have such small exposure. Yet the Center for Disease Control tells us that PBDEs may indeed impair the cells of the immune system in animal studies, and can affect the thyroid, liver and brain development. And honestly, when viewed in the totality, our exposure is not so small.
Consider your contact with this single chemical in a single day: your mattress pad, your sofa, your child's pajamas, the upholstery in your car, your office chair, your carpet, your TV, your computer, your cell phone, your e-reader and on and on. Again this stuff, it's everywhere.
So what? Do you really ingest this stuff? Yes. PBDEs are not molecularly bound to the products they are applied to and thus are known to flake off and end up in the dust in our home which we breathe in. A 2004 study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of 17 homes, found crazy high concentrations of PBDEs in household dust and dryer lint. This dust gets kicked up and we breathe it. Or we drop that organic blueberry on the floor and apply the 5-second rule, popping it in our mouth without a care in the world. While the EPA has gotten manufacturer's agreement to stop producing two particularly potent forms of PBDE, it still leaches out of products manufactured prior to 2004, and still circulates in our water, soil and air.
We Can't Live In A Bubble
I know this kind of information can get overwhelming. But don't throw up your hands just yet. Keep a cool head about you and let's get strategic.
1. Keep it clean. With PBDE's all over the place, it pays to do some deep scrubbing of your house every few months. Remove the dust on a consistent basis and you reduce your exposure. Of course, cleaners contain their own chemicals. Opt for natural cleaners like Bon Ami, vinegar, baking soda or even the awesome essential oil based Thieves cleaners by Young Living oils.
2. Read those labels. When buying your mascara and other self-care products, it pays to know what's in them. Things to avoid include phlates (fragrance), parabens, FD&C color pigments, Quaternium-15, Polyethylene Glycol among others. Of course, you can always shortcut the process and visit the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetics Database to find out what products to use and which to avoid.
3. Don't forget to detox yourself. As you are detoxing your home, don't forget to detox your body. Those chemicals have been storing up and causing your fatigue or even illness. A cleansing diet full of green leafy vegetables, alkaline foods, herbs and spices will promote your detox process and reduce the impact these chemicals have on your current and long term health.
Laurie Erdman, is founder of the From Fatigued to Fabulous System, the proven step-by-step method that teaches working women how to double their energy, get more done and have time for themselves.


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