What would you say if I told you we're all polluted?
It's called our human or chemical "body burden." And day-to-day exposure to harmful pollution might look like this: flipping pancakes with a non-stick frying pan and then washing up with an antibacterial soap. How else do pollutants get into you? Check out this diagram about toxic chemical exposure
The unfortunate truth is we're born this way. Born pre-polluted.
We know pregnant women shouldn't drink or smoke because those chemical residues travel from mother to baby. But what if expectant mothers were told to avoid the local park because it was sprayed with pesticides the day before, or to stop shopping for shampoo and deodorant with fragrance? Sound extreme?
A U.S. Environmental Working Group study looked at the umbilical cords of 10 babies back in 2004. They detected on average 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants which included pesticides, stain repellents, flame retardants, plasticizers like phthalates, PCBs (banned in the 70's), Teflon (PFOA), lead, mercury and dioxins.
It's a long list, I know.
Here's what I suggest. Watch the recently released video called The Story of Cosmetics launched by The Story of Stuff Project. It's an eye-opening seven minutes, and although it refers to U.S.-specific information, we have similar issues here in Canada.
The Personal Care Products Council is dubbing it a "shockumentary", but if you're one of the 6,246 that participated in our spring survey, you're already familiar with the cancer causing chemicals in your cosmetics. Missed it? Visit What's Inside? That Counts to get a dirty dozen chemical ingredients out of your personal care products.
Avoiding the Dirty Dozen is a start but it would sure be nice if we didn't have to shop defensively. Here's what you can do — take action. Ask Canada's Health Minister to protect Canadians and our environment from harmful chemicals in personal care products.
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Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green