In case you missed it, as we begin a new year here at MADE SAFE, we’re going beyond resolutions by kicking off a year-long revolt against the toxic consumer products that are in our homes. We’re calling it a New Year’s Revolution.
The goal? To transform our homes into healthier living spaces one step at a time throughout the year by systematically exchanging harmful products for healthier ones.
Each month, we’ll tackle a new area of your home by bringing you a step-by-step guide to making the swaps, healthier alternatives including MADE SAFE certified options, and tips and tricks to make it all happen.
We started January off with cleaning products. Our clean swap challenge for February? Switch your conventional hand soaps for nontoxic alternatives.
FEBRUARY: Hand Soap
Our challenge for February is to swap conventional hand soap for more human and earth-friendly options.
Even though it may seem too small to make a significant difference in the health of the home, we typically come into contact with hand soaps many times each day. We’re exposed to substances in hand soaps in the obvious way – through our skin when hand washing, but we can also be exposed in a not-so-obvious way – by consuming soap residue when we eat foods with our hands.
The bottom line is it’s important to know hand soaps can expose us to toxic chemicals and replacing them is a simple way to reduce our exposure.
What’s inside conventional hand soaps?
Hand soaps can host a number of chemicals of concern that are linked to significant hormone disruption, reproductive harm, developmental toxicity, and even cancer. The most common chemicals of concern found in hand soaps are:
Parabens are often added to hand soaps as preservatives. They are hormone disruptors that mimic estrogen in the body, and have been associated with breast cancer and reproductive harm.
Phthalates are commonly used in hand soaps, typically as fragrance ingredients. They have been linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity as well as cancer.
Triclosan & antibacterials
Triclosan was once widely used in hand soaps, but has since been banned by the FDA for use in hand soaps, due to the inability to demonstrate that antibacterial soaps are any more effective at preventing illness than plain soap and water, as well as a growing concern that the widespread use of antibacterial agents encourages the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It’s a good thing, too, as triclosan has been implicated in hormone disruption and increased risk of breast cancer.
Polyethylene glycol compounds (PEGs)
PEGs are used as thickeners, softeners, moisture-carrying agents, penetration enhancers, and surfactants. Through PEGs we are exposed to ethoxylated ingredients which can be contaminated with ethylene oxide or 1,4 dioxane, both of which are linked to cancer.
Commonly used isothiazolinone preservative formulations, such as methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone, are known irritants, sensitizers, and cause contact skin allergies.
Tips for Choosing Nontoxic Hand Soap
So many good reasons to join us this month in swapping out conventional hand soaps for nontoxic alternatives. Here at MADE SAFE, we are proud to have many wonderful certified options to choose from!
- Avoid the ingredients listed in this article – parabens, phthalates, PEGs (typically listed on the labels as PEG followed by a number), and isothiazolinone preservatives (typically listed on labels as methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone).
- Wash hands with plain soap and water. It is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid spreading germs and getting sick. Also, the CDC recommends scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds (the amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday in your head).
- Doublecheck products labeled or marketed as “antimicrobial,” “germ-killing,” or “antibacterial”. Does the antibacterial power come from plants or synthetic antibacterials? We recommend avoiding synthetic antibacterials.
- Shop for MADE SAFE certified hand soaps.
MADE SAFE Certified Hand Soap
- Foaming Hand Soap – in Botanical Bliss, Goody-Goody Grapefruit, Herbal Fresh, Lemon Lovers, and Orange Sweetness
- All-Purpose Soap Bar
- Bath and Body Soap – in Lavender, Lemongrass, Earl Grey Tea, Peppermint, and Unscented