After years of using bar soap and deodorant without even ONCE looking at the ingredients, my partner came across some disturbing information.  She informed me that there were a large amount of harmful chemicals present in the bar soaps and deodorants that we were using at the time.  My response, of course, was “so what?”.  I figured as long as I wasn’t eating them, (by the way, Peaceful Living™ deodorants are so organic that they are actually safe to eat), it didn’t matter what chemicals were in them!

That assumption was what kept me from ever looking into what ingredients were in my personal care products.

In the last few years, my partner and I have been doing research to try and find the truth with regards to this subject matter.  While we have not found anything 100 percent conclusive, we have found enough evidence to make the personal decision to stop using chemical filled products.  From a logical perspective, we find no point in taking a risk with our health while the jury is still out!

Below you will find some excerpts of what we have found, that are intended to help make your research easier to conduct (we encourage you to do your own research!)

According to Jane Houlihan, the director of cosmetics safety research for the EWG, or Environmental Working Group, (which is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization), research has shown that many conventional personal-care-products contain chemicals of concern that can disrupt your hormones, cause allergies, or can damage your skin. (Source)

Many people tend to ignore the fact that much of what is applied to your skin, is often absorbed into your blood stream.  Think about it ; if it were not possible, than how would things like nicotine patches or birth control patches be effective?  Both of these products make use of the absorptive quality that the skin possesses, and successfully accomplish tasks such as weening people off of cigarettes and preventing pregnancy!

Furthermore, according to WebMD,  Premarket safety testing is not something that is usually done for personal care products. 

In a 2008 study, high levels of phthalates were found in the urine of babies that were recently soaped or slathered with baby shampoo, powder, or lotion.  Although that study was back in 2008, still to this day, manufacturers aren’t required to list the specific chemicals that make up fragrances, and fragrances often contain phthalates, which are used to make smells last longer.  For this reason, WebMD recommends looking for products that say “No Phthalates” or “Phthalate Free”.  (Source)

One study published on Pubmed, a very reputable free search engine which accesses primarily the MEDLINE database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics, states that some chlorinated compounds such as Pthalates and Parabens, are fat soluble and can be absorbed through our skin.  It goes on to mention that Pthalates have been associated with several serious health problems, including infertility, testicular dysgenesis, obesity, asthma, and allergies.  The study, however, does not specify if these health issues are from the use of personal care products, and the FDA has not found evidence that the amount of Phthalates present in products on the market is unsafe.  Still, just because there is not enough evidence yet, does not mean that we should continue to use these products until there is. (Source)

As a matter of fact, the notion that they have not found evidence proving they are unhealthy is not too comforting for me, considering that (according to a Harvard.edu publication), there is minimal, if any, safety testing on most of these products.  And even to this day, the FDA has little power to regulate the ingredients in personal care products, under a law that has not been updated since 1938!  This law provides companies with “loopholes” such as being able to label their products as organic, natural, or hospital-approved based solely on their own interpretation of the terms.  The only way that you can be absolutely sure of what is in a product, is if it is Certified Organic by the USDA.  Otherwise, companies are free to “hide problematic ingredients in proprietary formulations by listing them as “fragrance” on the label.” (Source)     

Other than Pthalates and Parabens, here is a list of  chemicals commonly found in shampoos, deodorants, moisturizers, soaps, or makeup that should be given some attention : Formaldehyde, Diethanolamine, Triclosan, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Synthetic Coloring, Synthetic Fragrance, Aluminum, and Lead.  A great article published by the Huffington Post which goes into greater detail about the potential negative effects of these chemicals can be read here : (Source)

We hope that you will look further into the information presented on our website.  Regardless what conclusion you draw, there is one thing that is an absolute fact; Your skin is your largest organ, and you should be careful with what you put on it (especially on a daily basis).

Sources : 1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/soaps-makeup-and-other-items-contain-deadly-ingredients-say-consumer-advocates/2012/01/24/gIQAeJ56cQ_story.html 2. http://www.webmd.com/children/environmental-exposure-head2toe/personal-care-products?page=1 3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21155623 4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/harmful-chemicals-in-personal-care-products/

5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-cunningham/dangerous-beauty-products_b_4168587.html

My partner and I love to burn candles.  Not only do we enjoy the smell of them, but we also appreciate the ambience that they create.  That’s why we were so upset when we learned that the majority of candles we had been burning up until that point, completely unbeknownst to us, were releasing a variety of potentially hazardous chemicals!

The most frustrating thing about all of this, was that none of these candles had any type of warning label pertaining to this.  Not only that, but most of them didn’t even list the ingredients!

According to Anne Steinemann, an environmental pollutants expert, certain candles might emit several different unsafe chemicals, which can potentially cause damage to the brain, lung and central nervous system, and could also cause developmental difficulties.  (In fact, many of the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes.)

Steinemann goes on to say that for some people, the effects of burning certain candles are “immediate, acute and severe,” while others might not experience symptoms until many years later. (Source)

In an experiment done at South Carolina State University, several different types of candles from different manufacturers were left to burn for up to six hours in a small enclosed box.  Afterwards, the substances released into the air were collected and analyzed.  The experiment concluded that Paraffin-based candles, which are the most popular and widely used candles, emitted alkans, alkenes and toluene, which is a known carcinogen.

The researchers concluded that lighting paraffin candles causes several chemicals to be released into the air.  They also went on to say that people who light these types of candles frequently could be at risk of developing common allergies, asthma, and in rare cases, potentially even cancer.  This is most likely related to the fact that paraffin candles are by-products of oil refineries. (Source)

While this might be alarming to hear, I do honestly believe that the occasional candle enthusiast has nothing to fear. If you are only lighting a candle once or twice a month, then it is unlikely that you will experience any of these extreme symptoms.  Still though, I would not recommend using paraffin-based candles at all if it can be avoided.  They might be less expensive, but if you don’t use them frequently, it won’t add up too significantly.  And if you DO use them frequently, then you might be putting the health of you and your loved ones at risk.  

Sources: 1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/16/scented-candles-toxic-safer-options_n_7536410.html

2. http://www.scsu.edu/news_article.aspx?news_id=832