By megfiddler

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We Are What We Use

On the news we occasionally hear about a “boil order” in a community, usually due to a water main break. When this happens there is a run at the store for bottled water. There becomes an awareness of a possible contamination in our water and the potential for health hazards This is as it should be. There is nothing wrong with taking these emergency precautions. who wants to get E.Coli? But stop for a moment and think about how many chemicals we consume in processed foods and absorb into our body via cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, fabric softeners, shower gels, lotions, air fresheners, even talcum powder. We buy products without reading the ingredients and even if we do we don’t really know what they are or what they do. We eat foods filled with antibiotics and hormones. We eat foods that are genetically modified organisms(GMO). We just take it for granted that they must by OK, or they wouldn’t be in there.

One of the most potentially harmful ingredients in hair shampoos and bath and shower gels is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate(SLS). This ingredient creates those nice soapy lathers we so love, yet it is used in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers, and car-wash soaps. The reason? It can really attack a greasy surface. I guess if it can get an engine clean it should get your hair clean. Sodium lauryl sulfate is used by laboratories to irritate skin on animals so they can test healing agents on the irritated skin. A study at the University of Georgia Medical College found that SLS showed long term retention in the tissues of the brain, heart, liver and eyes, when penetrated. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) exhibits many of the same characteristics.

Propylene glycol is a component of antifreeze and de-icers for starters. This lovely little additive can be found in shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions , processed foods and dog foods. It is a humectant, which means it helps things retain moisture; keeps them soft.

Even that innocent talcum powder we sprinkle on after a shower, or on little babies is not without possible harmful components. Talc is a mineral mined from talc rocks. In its natural form it may contain asbestos, but it is believed that most asbestos is eliminated during processing and therefore talc used in the products in the home is not believed to contain this carcinogen. There are some though who believe that minute fibers may still remain, as some studies using asbestos free talc on rats had mixed results, with some forming tumors and others not. The studies of ovarian cancer in women and talc has also had mixed results. There have been cases of talc being found in the ovaries of women with ovarian cancer. Talc miners had higher rates of lung cancer.

These are just a few of chemicals found in most of the every day products we use. There are hundreds more. They are legal and believed to probably be safe, but think about how often we shower, shampoo and use cosmetics, lotions and powders. How much processed food we eat. How much food we eat that has been sprayed with pesticides. Think of the weed killers you spray on your lawn and yet your children run barefoot, play and roll on that grass. Your pets walk in that grass and lick their paws or even sometimes eat the grass. This is not a once in a while deal. This is day in and day out, year after year absorption to one degree or another. What is the long term accumulative outcome for any one of us? We each have to make that decision for ourselves—hopefully make thoughtful informed ones for yourself, your family and the planet.