the culprit: lead & mercury. appears under the guise "hydrated silica" in toothpaste, "lead acetate" in men's hair dye, and "thimerosal" in many mascaras.
the crime: lead is a proven neurotoxin. exposure to mercury has damaging effects on the brain.
the culprit: nanoparticles. teensy bits of minerals used in makeups and sunscreens to increase blending properties. zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are of highest concern.
the crime: particles "may" penetrate the skin and damage brain cells.
the culprit: parabens. hang around in all types of cosmetics and toiletries. appear on labels in many forms, but always have the word "paraben" at the tail end of the word. example: methylparaben.
the crime: it is becoming ever-widely recognized that parabens have estrogenic properties, and methylparaben has been proven to lower testosterone production in laboratory mice. parabens have also been linked to breast cancer.
the culprit: petroleum distillates. a.k.a. "petroleum" and "liquid paraffin."
the crime: possibly carcinogenic, but banned for use in cosmetics in other countries.
the culprit: p-phenylenediamine (ppd). re-invents itself as "1,4-benzenediamine, p-aminoaniline, and 1,4-diaminobenzene. often found in hair dyes.
the crime: lung irritation, severe allergic reactions and blindness. yikes.
the culprit: hydroquinone. found in undereye bleaching creams, skin-spot lighteners, etc.
the crime: a known neurotoxin and allergen, and also a suspected carcinogen.
whew. that's a lot to take in.
i take some good relief in knowing that most of our daily-use products don't contain any of this junk. and certainly nothing that we are putting on lucy has even a single of the aforementioned additives. but even when armed with this information, it still seems so difficult to pick out safe products. since many of these toxic chemicals have numerous aliases, there's a real sense of trickery involved. it's almost as though you've got to make an educated guess--which is better than a shot in the dark but still a guess, when it all comes down to it. i personally have avoided long lists of unpronounceable ingredients after opening my eyes to all of the crap we're exposed to on a daily basis. avoiding "fragrance" is by far the most difficult, but we're managing. i disposed of stuff that was glaringly hazardous to our health. and we're using up stuff that falls into the moderate category, with no intent to rebuy.
did you ever read the laura ingalls wilder books as a kid? i LOVED them with a passion, and read each one multiple times. now, as a grown up, i've been rekindling this adoration with the series--but now i'm listening to it on cd while driving in the car. okay, that was only a little embarrassing to admit!
anyway, what gets to me now is just how independent people of that time period were. they made nearly everything--and sometimes absolutely everything--that they needed to survive though the years. clothing, linens, furniture, food, toys, medicines, tools. everything, down to the straw-tick mattresses on which they slept. i don't want to give up my super-comfy king mattress for one made of straw, but to me, theirs was a (albeit difficult) lifestyle of which to be somewhat envious of. they certainly weren't coming in contact with harsh chemicals every time they turned around, and with every breath that they took. in contrast, i wander around the grocery store, searching out as much organic food as i possibly can afford, all the while worrying about the chemicals that lucy's being exposed to as she gnaws with gusto on cereal box that i intend to buy. i've totally fallen out of love with the idea of brand-spankin' new. not that i don't want new things here and there--a nice pair of warm sweatpants is high on my christmas list. let's just say i'm a little more conscious of the true cost of fresh-from-factory newness.
and my king-sized mattress? totally non-organic. full of flame-retardant chemicals, pesticides and other neuro-toxic crap. for which jeremy and i paid and arm and a leg.
the organic straw tick made from hay grown in my big backyard? it's sounding all the better...