This cartoon by Mike Adams is from NewsTarget, another great source for information that will help you make decisions. Check it out. Learn something new today.
See these two figures? What would you say is going on? Doesn't it look like the one on the right is trying to tell the other one something? And don't you think the figure on the left is refusing to listen? Have you ever felt like either one of these guys? Ever try really hard to tell someone something they didn't want to hear? Ever been talked to and talked to and talked to and you just wanted to crawl in a hole? So, you understand what's going on here.
See, the thing is, I really feel like the one on the right. I'm waving my arms and shouting about how important this stuff is and how you should get busy and DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW TO FIX IT! I know. I'm a self-righteous know-it-all asshole. But there's another side to this story. I know what it feels like to believe something strongly and then have it crumble to pieces. I really do know. I've had some major bubbles burst in my life. And it's actually all been for the better. Really and truly. It's upsetting at first, but once you get over the initial shock, it's very freeing, incredibly liberating. It feels so good to not be a puppet. When I saw how thoroughly I'd been manipulated, I was outraged. I had bought into cigarettes, $cientology, make-up and beauty BS, drugs, alcohol, crappy food and I'm sure many more that are too buried. But you get it, right? Brainwashing is part of our culture. It has to be or you won't buy anything. And buying is what makes the wheels go round. So it's very very very important for corporations to convince you of the desirability of their merchandise or ideas. It's plain and simple brainwashing -- getting you to believe. And the tremendous, humongous, gigantic, outrageous wealth of these corporations says clearly that they're accomplishing their mission.
My mission, on the other hand, is to show you something different, to show you something maybe you don't want to see. I understand. We'll go more slowly, if that will help. Only look at one small piece at a time. Take one product from your medicine cabinet or make-up bag and look it up on SkinDeep. See what it says in the database. If the product you chose has a low warning number, pat yourself on the back for choosing something good. If it has a moderate to high warning number, look at the list of better products and see if one of those is something you could get your mind around using. That's all. Just one thing. You can do it.
When we bought our house, it came with a washing machine and dryer. The previous family had used liquid fabric softener for so long that the smell of it was in the washer. I cleaned the inside of that machine with hot water and bleach numerous times -- no help, the smell was always there. What is that? It's like the odor has become embedded in the plastic parts. The good news is that my clothes do not have that smell when they come out. Whew!
In my wanderings through sites about toxic ingredients I've found a couple more helpful places for you to find information and support. This one is from Novia Scotia -- don't let that throw you. Toxic chemicals are the same no matter where you live (and breathe). I like this site. It's clear, easy to use and has kick-ass information. Also, it aims to provide hope and help, two things we certainly can use.
Everyday, most North Americans use beauty and cleaning products which contain hazardous ingredients. How can you find the products which are least toxic, among the thousands of products on store shelves?
The objective of this site is to:
- Provide information about potential health risks of commonly used products.
- Help identify less toxic alternatives for personal care, household cleaning, baby care, and household pest control.
- Provide information to help you evaluate products not in this Guide in order to choose the safest ones for your needs.
“Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health. The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 1900's) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.”
Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University
When I was a pre-teen, I was left alone one afternoon after school and I decided to surprise my Mom and clean the house. I remember cleaning the kitchen sink and kitchen floor. I pulled some chemicals out from under the sink to clean the bathroom, and the mix of them was so powerful that I started coughing and gagging. The next thing I knew I saw stars and ended up passed out on the bathroom floor with no ventilation and I almost died. It's a good thing my older sister came home when she did, and pulled me outside and called 911. I had vomited and stopped breathing and was revived by our neighbor's son before the ambulance arrived. Chemicals are very, very dangerous.
Most of us use cleaning products fairly frequently, at work and at home. But how many of us actually bother reading the directions or product contents? How many of us use rubber gloves or splash goggles?
Many cleaning products are classified as "corrosive". Corrosives are defined as those chemicals that cause damage to organic material, especially human flesh. Acids and bases are all corrosive, and most cleaners are composed of acids and bases. Think about it: when cleaning, you're trying to "eat" away the dirt and grime. Most likely, the more effective a product is at eating away the dirt, the more effective it will be at eating away the skin on your hands. It will also do more damage if accidentally splashed in your eyes.
Cleaning products can also be extremely reactive when mixed. Bleach, when mixed with any product containing ammonia (or visa versa), will react to produce deadly chlorine gas. NEVER MIX CHEMICALS, ESPECIALLY CLEANING PRODUCTS. Some people think that if something works well by itself, it might work even better if combined with something else. Wrong!!! Even emptying a mop bucket with an ammonia-containing product into the sink, followed by a sponge full of bleach, can produce enough chlorine gas to be dangerous.
Take whatever steps are necessary to avoid mixing cleaning products. Always run clean water through a drain after dumping any sort of cleaning product down it. Wear rubber gloves, especially when using industrial strength cleaners. If there's any chance of getting a splash in the eye, wear protective goggles. If you do get a chemical splashed in your eye, flush it with clean water for at least 15 minutes.
Always use common sense and protect yourself, and treat all chemicals with the respect they deserve.
Chlorine Gas Exposure
The health danger of a chlorine gas exposure depends on the quantity of gas inhaled and the length of time of the exposure. Low concentrations of chlorine may cause burning of the eyes, sore throat, and cough. Higher concentrations can lead to severe coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and pulmonary edema. Chlorine vapors trapped in clothes can cause skin injury.
Anyone exposed to chlorine gas should be moved quickly to fresh air. Rescuers must be careful to avoid exposure to the fumes. Individuals with significant skin exposure should have their clothes removed and their skin washed thoroughly. In most instances, symptoms will lessen and disappear once exposure to the gas ends. Persistent symptoms need to be further evaluated.
In case you were worrying that it's just you and me trying to make all those big companies stop their nonsense, I thought I'd jump in here to show you we've got some big guns on our side. And they deserve your support, in whatever form you see fit.
The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles.
In 2002, we founded the EWG Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization that advocates on Capitol Hill for health-protective and subsidy-shifting policies.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of women’s, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer-rights groups. Our goal is to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems, and replace them with safer alternatives.
Personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, after shave, lotion and makeup are not regulated by the FDA or any other government agency. It is perfectly legal and very common for companies to use ingredients that are known or suspected to be carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins in the their products. Consumers buy these products at drug stores, grocery stores, online or in salons, usually without questioning the product’s safety.
We are asking cosmetics and personal care products companies to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics (also known as the Compact for the Global Production of Safer Health and Beauty Products), a pledge to remove toxic chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives in every market they serve. As of August 2007, 600 companies have signed the Compact -- and that number increases every day!
I just saw this article and knew it had to be part of this blog. Imagine, staying away from your chosen religion because you can't breathe when you attend services. I support and applaud this ministry for their decision to care for ALL their congregation.
- Inform yourself.
- Visit SkinDeep and research the products you use.
- Sign SkinDeep's petition to Congress to force the testing and labeling issues.
- Refuse to purchase personal care products or household products that have toxic ingredients.
- Write to the manufacturer of your favorite personal care products -- maybe they'll listen if they get enough letters.
- Tell others.
- If you're in a position of authority, designate "Scent-free zones" at work or school.
- Support companies that are not using toxic petrochemicals and synthetic fragrances in their products. Some possibilities (I did a quick check on a few products in the SkinDeep database before listing these companies): Fragrance Free Body Products, Aubrey Organics, Terressentials
There seems to be some confusion about the problem here. There are definitely people who have negative physical reactions to perfume and other perfumed products, reactions that range from mild breathing discomfort to migraine headaches and severe difficulty with breathing. There's a danger in believing that because a person does NOT exhibit a negative, noticeable, physical reaction, they are not being harmed by these perfumes. A person could have a reaction to some perfumed product and attribute that reaction to something else in their environment. A person may not exhibit any negative physical reaction and believe that therefore perfumes are not hurting them.
The ingredients in fragrances are not listed on packages for a good reason: they're toxic. They are harmful to everyone who inhales them or rubs them on their skin. Just because a person doesn't get a headache or break out in a rash, does NOT mean they are not being negatively affected by these toxins.
SYNTHETIC COLORS ~ These and all dyes should be avoided. They are labeled FD&C and a number after it. These are believed to be carcinogenic. Blue 1 and Green 3 are carcinogenic, Yellow 5,6 and Red 33 have caused cancer when ingested and applied to the skin. These contain coal tar and may contain arsenic and lead, which are also carcinogenic. Lipsticks are full of these! Note: lipsticks can also contain LEAD!
I suppose it's like any issue you start looking into: there's an unbelievable amount of information and most of it points to greed and brainwashing and a complete lack of concern for the well-being of others. No kidding, every time I do just a tiny bit of research, I'm overcome with a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. But getting discouraged is not going to help and I really want to try to wake people up. These are huge companies with lots to lose if people stop buying and using perfumes and personal/household products with fragrances in them. Can you imagine shopping for scent-free or fragrance-free products for everything you use? Actually, as I've sifted through loads of data, I've come across many companies that have responded to the growing concern about toxic ingredients in scented personal products. This is good. There are others out there who care and there's data on the web you can use to make informed decisions.
My idea is to supply you with data and with links to data. You can learn about what is harmful in these products. Don't take my word for it. And don't assume that just because you can purchase it, it's safe. That's definitely not true.
Here's an interesting post about the consequences of too much perfume worn on public transportation. As you can see from the comments, people are divided. That's not surprising, but it IS surprising how many people agree that something must be done to protect those of us who can't tolerate it. An upset Canadian had this to say: "I don't blame the bus driver in Calgary for not allowing Natalie Kuhn on his bus. I applaud him. If cigarette smoke can be banned because of second hand smoke related disease, even in our own homes and cars and outside, why can't perfume also be banned? Seems only right to me. Fair is fair. I am sure that the bus driver in Calgary and I are not the only 2 people in Canada that perfume affects and upsets." The story and debate continued in the Gauntlet, The University of Calgary Undergraduate Students' Newsletter.
It took a long time for laws to come about that banned smoking in public places and there certainly were plenty of outraged smokers. Now we need to address the issue of perfume and other fragrance-loaded products. The bottom line was and is: Do not inflict your ignorance on others. Period.
That's it. I've completely and totally had it. Last night was the tipping point. We went to a movie theatre and COULD NOT BREATHE for all the perfume in the air. I even told the woman sitting next to me that she would have to find another place to sit because she had on too much perfume and I couldn't tolerate it. She informed me it was not her, she didn't wear perfume, and she wasn't moving. The point is, I've never spoken to anyone like that before. I was simply over the edge -- I was ready to stand up and yell into the darkened theatre "WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE, DON'T YOU KNOW THAT SOME OF US CANNOT BREATHE BECAUSE OF YOUR STUPIDITY!? STOP DOUSING YOURSELF WITH PERFUME, AFTERSHAVE, COLOGNE, BODY SPRAY. JUST STOP IT!" But I didn't. I wish I had. I wish I had yelled at all those people, then stomped out and demanded my money back. Maybe if enough people did that, the theatre would start a no-perfume policy. It could happen. Not likely, I know. People are simply too frightened or too apathetic or too brainwashed. The bottom line is they believe they have no choice, they must endure the things they do not like. Well I'm here to tell you, NO WE DON'T!