Each of us is in a different place in our nontoxic living journey. Some of us are just starting to think about the ways in which we are exposed to toxics every day. Some are making small and gradual changes. And others have completely overhauled our lives, but are hungry for more.
This New Year’s, our team has created New Year’s resolutions that you can actually keep, wherever you find yourself in your nontoxic journey. Just choose the resolutions that are right for you.
Remember that every change you make matters. Every swap to a healthier product can decrease your likelihood of health problems linked to exposure to toxic product ingredients—like hormonal issues, cancer and fertility issues.
To help you keep your resolutions with just one click, we’ve offered links to some of our MADE SAFE® certified products. All of them have been vetted through our rigorous scientific process, which means they’re made without known behavior, reproductive and neuro toxins, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, heavy metals, high-risk pesticides, flame retardants, toxic solvents, and harmful VOCs. In addition, ingredients have been examined for bioaccumulation (builds up in our bodies), persistence (stays in the environment) and aquatic toxicity.
Are you just starting out on your nontoxic journey? Maybe you’ve made a few product swaps, have started reading a few wellness blogs, and are beginning to ask questions about the products that we use on our bodies and in our homes every day. If this sounds familiar, these resolutions are for you.
We know that heading down the path of nontoxic living can be overwhelming. There’s so much information out there, and sometimes it seems like there’s just too much. But remember that every single swap you make makes a difference—for your health and the health of the planet. Here are some ways to start that might seem small, but can lead to big things!
Ditch your old deodorant
Deodorant exists in virtually every single one of our makeup bags and medicine cabinets. The problem is thatconventional deodorants and anti-perspirants commonly contain some toxic ingredients like aluminum, parabens, and triclosan.
Aluminum, frequently used in antiperspirants, can cause genomic instability, meaning it can increase our cells’ tendency to mutate; mutations can increase the chance of tumor growth. Parabens, which are commonly used as preservatives, are hormone impersonators, mimicking estrogen in the body, and are linked to breast cancer.
Finally, triclosan, an antibacterial chemical, is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, and is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can mimic hormones or interfere with hormonal signaling.
Make the Resolution: Instead of using a conventional deodorant with these ingredients, try a MADE SAFE certified product.
Give your feminine care routine an overhaul. Period.
Because feminine care products are meant to be used for several days at a time on a monthly basis, and come in contact with the most sensitive part of women’s bodies, it is crucial to choose nontoxic products. However, most feminine care products contain toxic ingredients. Many are scented, containing common fragrance ingredients, allergens, and hormone disrupting synthetic musks and phthalates. Absorbent materials in pads are often bleached with chlorine, a process that creates dioxins and furans, which are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and reproductive toxicity.
Green your home cleaning
Common chemicals in cleaners have been linked to a range of human health harm, from reproductive problems like fertility issues and birth defects, to hormone disruption, breast cancer, allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems. Because cleaning product companies aren’t required by law to list all the ingredients in their cleaners, consumers don’t have the information they need to figure out which ingredients are safer.
First things first: get rid of those air fresheners. Secret fragrance chemicals can make up 70-80 percent of the total formulation, and the use of air fresheners has been linked to serious health harm. Next, keep it simple. Opt for a single-multi-purpose cleaner where possible; one really good cleaner can work on almost every surface. And remember, you can always DIY.
Make the Resolution: Meliora’s All-Purpose Home Cleaner is the absolute simplest way to clean—you can use it on your hands, counters, bathrooms, and even as a stain remover. Check out other MADE SAFE certified cleaning products here.
Safe Product Savvy
So, you’re well on your way to nontoxic living—but maybe your cupboards still contain a mix of nontoxic products and conventional stuff. You are making HUGE strides—ones that really count, but you’re wondering what the next step is. These resolutions are for you.
First, take an inventory of your house. In which area are you totally excelling at nontoxic living? Maybe your skin care routine is pristine clean, but you haven’t even considered your shampoo and conditioner. Or maybe you are using nontoxic household cleaners, but your sexual health products aren’t great. Where are you at in your journey? Pick just one area to improve, and stick with it. Don’t try to overhaul all at once, you’ll get overwhelmed. Once you’ve chosen one and gone from blah to beautiful, choose another area. Here are some area-specific resolutions:
Beautify your skin care routine
Skin care products can contain a wide array of problematic ingredients like parabens, phthalates, acrylates, sunscreen chemicals, and more. Parabens, used as preservatives, are hormone disruptors that mimic estrogen in the body and are linked to breast cancer, and some parabens are linked to reproductive and developmental harm. Some acrylates, the same chemical ingredients in acrylic nails, are known reproductive toxins.
To keep them stable on the shelf, or to protect the wearer from the sun, many skin care products contain sunscreen chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, two UV filters that readily absorb into the skin, and are linked to endocrine disruption and ecosystem harm.
Make the Resolution: True Botanicals has got you covered—from facial oils to cleansers. And they’re the first brand to become a MADE SAFE certified brand—meaning all of their products will always be vetted through our process. We also love Annmarie Gianni Skin Care’s amazing Anti-Aging Eye Cream. Look for other MADE SAFE certified swaps here.
Keep your sexual health products sexy
Nothing dampens the mood like thinking about what’s in your sexual health products in the bedroom. So, keep the moment sexy by prepping with some nontoxic choices.
Lubes can contain propylene glycol and synthetic glycerin, two ingredients that can contribute to damage to sensitive tissues. Many conventional condoms are contaminated with nitrosamine, a known carcinogen.
Wash away toxic shower products
Body washes are formulated to cleanse the skin, but make our skin feel hydrated. Shampoos have been designed to lather abundantly and leave your hair feeling “squeaky” clean. And finally, we follow up with conditioners to moisturize and coat the hair without leaving an oily residue.
What gives your ‘poo that lather are surfactants—sudsing agents like sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLES can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a known carcinogen, and SLS is a known skin irritant. Some surfactants are associated with toxic effects to the environment, particularly to aquatic life. Most conditioners use quaternary compounds or “quats.” Quats can make moisturizing ingredients more likely to “stick” to hair in order to be more readily absorbed, but some quats release formaldehyde, a carcinogen.
While you won’t find formaldehyde listed on a product’s label, an overwhelming percentage of personal care products, about 20 percent in the United States, contain ingredients that when combined with water, release formaldehyde, an established carcinogen. These ingredients, like diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and quaternium-15 are common in body washes.
If you’re an Eco Expert, you’ve made many of the switches above. But you’re hungry for more. You’ve surveyed your cabinets, under the sink, and your makeup bag, and everything looks clean. So, what’s next?
Upgrade to a nontoxic mattress
Conventional mattresses are often made with polyurethane (aka memory) foam, an ingredient derived from fossil fuels with the capability to off-gas respiratory irritants. They can also contain toxic flame retardant chemicals, some of which have been associated with carcinogenicity, endocrine disruption, as well as potential concerns like thyroid and liver dysfunction. Flame retardant chemicals are also harmful to some aquatic life, and can also persist in the environment and bioaccumulate.
Make the Resolution: Naturepedic offers a range of mattresses in many different styles, sizes, and price points. The company has certified all of their bedding, from baby mattresses to pillows to sheets and changing table pads! Take a peek at more MADE SAFE certified bedding options here.
Kick your old couch to the curb
Just like mattresses, most furniture is made with polyurethane foam, which is coated with flame retardants. Not only are some flame retardants associated with carcinogenicity, endocrine disruption, and more, they are also usually not tightly bound to products, ending up as a component of household dust, which is inhaled and finds its way into mouths of young children who play and sit on the floor.
Skip the polyurethane foam and look for furniture made of natural materials: pure latex, solid wood, wool, cotton, and metal.