Here’s the thing: it is physically impossible to live a life completely void of all chemicals and unrealistic to desire a life that is ‘chemical-free’.
We live in a chemical world and the word ‘chemical’ doesn’t always equal toxic. Everything has a chemical name.
The nasty chemicals, like the ones research is showing to have damaging effects on hormonal systems, in my opinion, have no place in our homes, in our bodies, or in our babies’ umbilical cords. Did you know that newborns are being born pre-polluted with flame-retardants, heavy metals, and chemicals that were banned 30 years ago, coursing through their bloodstreams, and stored in their fat? True story. Ecosia (or Google) Dr. Sarah Lantz or read her book “Chemical Free Kids.”
Cases throughout history demonstrate an attitude of innocent until proven guilty when it comes to the chemicals used in the manufacture of personal care products, in agriculture and farming, and more. Unfortunately, there have been some serious errors in judgment from our governing bodies. A few examples that many people would be familiar with: tobacco, DDT, asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, and the list goes on. These chemicals were once allowed, fairly unrestricted in their use, however, we now know they are seriously detrimental to the health of humans.
What about safe limits?
Hmmm… Companies (who often fund their own formula testing) tell us the chemicals they use are within ‘safe limits’. However, what they mean is, if you use their product as directed, maybe twice a day, it is considered ‘safe’. What they don’t take into account is the other 50 or so personal care products that many people, mainly women, are exposing themselves to on a daily basis, and the chemicals contained within. My opinion is if there are sketchy chemicals in a product, and you’re not comfortable with that, ditch it. Find an alternative. Replace it.
The truth of the matter is, we as humans (and borrowers of our grandchildren’s planet), need to play it safe and make better and wiser choices.
Research is so conflicting; some say X is bad while others say it’s actually ok; Y is shown to do this but only in 3 studies… Is that enough proof? For me the answer is simple. Just reduce what you use and what you think you need. That’s the safest bet.
And don’t boycott a brand because I, or someone else, don’t like it. Make decisions for yourself. Weigh it up.
You can’t possibly learn everything about every potential toxic chemical on the market. Firstly, because new chemicals are being created every day, research is always underway and (for me at least), the human brain can’t cope with that much info!! So, again, the solution is to simplify and arm yourself with tools like the Chemical Maze app and Environmental Working Group.
My intention has never been to “scare-monger”, or have you thinking that you simply must avoid all nasty chemicals or you will die!!! Not at all. Those who have been following me for a while will know this. If you’re a newbie, I suggest scrolling through my posts, blogs and recipes to see this for yourself. My mission is to get people to start reading labels and questioning companies; to provide easy DIY recipes using simple and easily accessible ingredients; to encourage people to speak with their dollars – if you stop buying it, they’ll stop making it.
My motto is 80/20
If you can make changes to 80% of the products you use on your body and in your home, that’s incredible! You can always leave the other 20% in the ‘too-hard-basket’ for any changes that just seem overwhelming at the time. For a perfectionist like me, that’s a huge deal!!
Striving for 100% can feel impossible, especially if you are used to living with certain products in your life. The stress this can cause is far more toxic to you than you might want to believe.
Be kind to yourself and the process, and eliminate/swap what you can, when you feel comfortable doing so. And if you LOVE a particular hair serum, or nail polish, or window cleaner, just keep using it, guilt-free until you are ready to ditch them (if you’re ever ready)!
We would all benefit from adopting a ‘let’s reduce our exposure’ attitude; an attitude where we buy less, read more, get educated and think twice.
So be kind to yourself, be kind to the planet, be kind to the process. Every little thing you change for the better is a step in the right direction and should be considered a win.
Enjoy the ride!
Author and Advocate for natural living
Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious, educated decisions that honour both humans and habitat. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to passionately increase awareness on common and avoidable toxins, in everyday items like washing powder and deodorant, and to educate individuals on how they can easily reduce their daily exposure, through simple and realistic do-it-yourself ideas and recipes.
Krissy has sold over 40,000 copies of her natural DIY recipe books, including her award-winning book, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her newly-released kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids. She offers honest and gentle guidance, education and 100+ natural DIY recipes on her website.