Natural products such as soap, shampoo, and toothpaste have a huge impact on your health. They also have a huge impact the environment. By choosing to use natural products instead of store bought brands, you’ll protect yourself and the environment. Making the switch may be hard at first, but it’s well worth knowing you’re choosing the healthiest and safest products for you, your family, and Mother Nature.
Here are the ingredients you’ll want to know about when choosing natural, eco-friendly products.
Minimize Triclosan Use
One of the best things you’ll do for yourself and for the environment when making the switch to natural products is to minimize the use of triclosan. Triclosan is widely used in hand wash and toothpaste. When washed down the drain, the product eventually makes it way outdoors and is exposed to sunlight. This causes the formation of dioxins, pollutants that break down very slowly and therefore remain in the environment for a long time.
One of the most effective ways to minimize triclosan exposure to yourself and the environment is to avoid using store bought toothpaste. Traditional toothpaste commonly uses triclosan. Instead, switch to all-natural toothpaste or even a tooth powder to keep your teeth clean. You’ll also want to use natural cleansers and sanitizers around the home.
Minimize Exposure to Petrochemicals
Anything that contains petroleum-based ingredients is problematic. These ingredients extend the shelf life of most personal care products. Petroleum-based ingredients also make it much easier to apply makeup and other skincare items. When applied to the skin, petrochemicals create a barrier, keeping the body from breathing and getting rid of toxins. This can cause irritation, breakouts, and other skin problems.
Petrochemicals also have huge impacts on the environment. Because petrochemicals are burned, the fossil fuels introduce nitrogen, ash, sulfur, and carbon into the atmosphere, which leads to increased smog. Natural products don’t contain petrochemicals, making them much safer to apply to your body. This also means they’re better the environment.
Greater Use of Organic Products
Some of today’s most commonly used ingredients in personal care products are grown using pesticides. However, most pesticides are extremely harmful to the environment, even if they are applied in a highly targeted fashion. In humans, pesticide exposure has been linked to all sorts of health issues including:
- Increased risk of cancer
- Reproductive harm
- Endocrine disruption
- Increased risk of autism
Aside from health effects, pesticides also negatively impact the environment. Bat, bee, and frog populations have greatly decreased in the last few years. Aquatic organisms such as fish and waterfowl are at risk of dying off as well. Sadly there’s very little government regulation in place to help minimize the amount of pesticides that end up in our soil and water.
Use Fewer Products Containing Phthalates & BPA
Plastic is one of those materials that most of us can’t get away from. With eat using plastic bowls and forks. We drink using plastic cups and straws. Trash bags, bottles, and other containers are often made using plastic. And when it comes to personal care products, they’re almost always packaged in plastic.
While recyclable plastic isn’t so bad, many brands use plastic that cannot be recycled. To make matters worse, these plastics often contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates and BPA. Both of these chemicals have proven to have serious side-effects including the increased risk of prostate cancer, infertility, heart problems, and impaired brain function.
The problem with plastic packaging is that it seeps into personal care products. Most products like cosmetics and skincare contain solvents and oils that can compromise the integrity of a plastic container. This causes the material to break down quicker, increasing the risk of the plastic’s chemicals to mix with the personal care product. This is bad news if you’re applying that to your skin on a daily basis.
Most natural products are packaged using phthalate and BPA-free plastic. Others use more eco-friendly materials like bamboo. By switching to natural products that use safer packaging, you’re doing your part to take charge of your own health and the environment’s health.
Making the switch to natural products is a great way to take your health into your own hands. By minimizing the amount of harmful chemicals that you’re exposed to, you minimize health risks while also protecting the environment. Keep these ideas in mind the next time you’re shopping for natural products.
What are some other day to day changes that we can make to positively impact the environment? Leave a comment with your thoughts in the section below.