Cleaner Living: It’s a New Year!

Jan 4, 2013 by

Happy 2013!



It has been almost a year since I did the Toxin a Day series (you can find the wrap up and links to all the Toxins here).  For you newbies, the series took aim to help our readers navigate the shopping aisles armed with a bit more knowledge of the toxins that lurk in everyday products.

The series was so well received and I get the feeling that you all want more of this type of stuff.  So, one of my resolutions this year is to try to be better at posting helpful tips and info about how to live a little less toxic and to help others live a healthier life!

In order to do that, I want to know what information YOU want!  What products are you concerned about?  What things have you heard in the news, on other blogs, etc., that you just don’t have the time to fully research?  Do you want more tips on creating your own products (and saving money in the process?  What will help you to make that first step to a Cleaner Life?

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Cleaner living: Toxin a Day Wrap Up

Jan 31, 2012 by

Whew… that was exhausting!  I’m sure you are thinking right about now that this is completely overwhelming, so many things to remember, look for, learn about.

I felt, and still feel the same way.

It is sad, scary, and a tad mind-boggling that we have to spend so much time, energy, and brain power trying to make informed decisions about the simplest of things… like soap.  There are so many questions that come up?

Why are companies putting these chemicals in our products?

Why are they so reluctant to take them out?

Why can I not just trust that the product on the shelf is safe and doesn’t have the potential to harm me or those I love?

Simple answer… because they can.

The regulating agencies can say that certain ingredients can or cannot be in certain products, but there is absolutely no oversight to make sure that these regulations are followed through on.

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Cleaner Living: Toxin #12- Nitrosamines

Jan 30, 2012 by

Well, we have made it to the 12th day… But no Partridge in a Pear Tree here, we are learning about Nitrosamines today!

Nitrosamines are not actually an ingredient.  They are a compound created when nitrites and amino acids (which often occur from proteins) are combined.  This combination can occur in very acidic settings, such as the human stomach, or in high temperature settings found in manufacturing and cooking processes.  It can also be found as in impurity in 54 ingredients listed on the Skin Deep database.

Nitrosamines are considered a possible carcinogen by the EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  They are banned from being used in cosmetics in Canada and the EU.

Nitrosamines are not just an impurity found in cosmetic ingredients, they can be found in the foods we eat, especially ones very popular with finicky eaters, aka, our kids.

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Cleaner Living: Toxin #11 BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole)

Jan 27, 2012 by

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)- not to be confused with beta hydroxy acid (also abbreviated BHA)- is a preservative found in food and cosmetics.  It is used to keep fats from going rancid and to preserve shelf life of cosmetics.  Most common foods it can be found in butter, meats, cereals, chewing gum, baked goods, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes, and beer, as well as in animal feeds.  It was found on EWG’s Skin Deep Database in 307 products, including popular cosmetics (especially lipstick and eye shadow) by Cover Girl, L’Oreal, NARS, and Revlon, as well in shave gels, hemorrhoid cream, and some Desitin Diaper creams.

The FDA has deemed BHA safe for human consumption in food at levels not to exceed .02% of the fat content of a particular food.  To my knowledge there is no such concentration standard for cosmetics or personal care products.

However, The National Toxicology Program has deemed BHA as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.

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Cleaner Living: Toxin #10- Formaldehyde

Jan 26, 2012 by


Yes, the stuff they use for embalming bodies to temporarily prevent decomposition can be found in your personal care products.

Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, skin irritant, and can bring on or worsen respiratory ailments, such as asthma.  Personal care products that contain formaldehyde expose its users to this chemical through inhaling off-gas, ingestion, or absorption through the skin.  Most studies of the link between formaldehyde and cancer deal with the inhalation of the toxin, while there are fewer studies done on absorption or ingestion.  Formaldehyde can be found in nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue, and some hair gels.

But Dena, formaldehyde is found as an ingredient in only 6 products on the EWG Skin Deep Database.

Yes, however there are 3 other ways formaldehyde gets into our products.

Renaming, reformulating

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