5 Labels You Aren’t Reading But Should BeSeptember 27, 2012
5 Labels To Keep You From Common Poisons
We all want to keep our family safe and healthy, and most of us will go to extreme measures to do so. I was recently reading up on how to keep a healthy home and body. Of course cupcakes are still going to be a staple in my diet, but I can at least lessen the amount I poison myself with harsh chemicals hidden in everyday products. So you want to take on this challenge with me? Good! Let’s get started.
1. Makeup labels Anyone who knows me probably knows that I am a cosmetics junky. I LOVE makeup! Unfortunately makeup doesn’t always love me, and I’m often pretty sensitive to products. One thing I’ve learned to do to minimize possible problems is to pay attention to the labels. One thing I find many people don’t know about is the Period After Opening label on makeup. With this you can be sure to toss any unused products at the correct time, you wouldn’t eat Sour Cream that expired 6 months ago. Right? (At least I hope not!). Not all cosmetics have this label, but it’s always worth looking for. If it doesn’t have one, use common sense. Things like mascara, eyeliner and liquid foundation have a healthy life of about 3 months once they have been opened. To me this is one of the easiest labels to check and follow for your health, so join the club and keep your skin healthy by looking for the labels!
2. Recycling I must admit, I haven’ been as diligent with recycling as I should have in the past. In thinking about why I realized what the problem is. I never was sure what or how things can be recycled. Obviously, I should have just put a little effort into finding out, but better late than never. Right? First up are plastics. These actually are labeled on the bottom of the packaging as to whether or not it can be recycled. If they are labeled 3 or 7 they generally cannot be recycled. However the other numbers (1-6, excluding 3) can be! Another big one is paper. Make sure newspapers, magazine and white paper are dry and clean, that’s how they can be properly recycled. Cans just need to be simply rinsed and within just a couple months they can already be fully recycled and back in stores! Let’s get the recycling going, talk to your town to find out if they provide recycling bins and guidelines. At home we just picked up our free bins this week!
3. House Cleaner Labels I love a really clean house, but I also really love a healthy house. This means I want minimal chemicals floating around in my air. I also want shiny clean hardwood floors and pristine bathroom tiles. Is that asking too much? Why can’t I have it all? Sometimes when I read cleaning product labels, I almost want to put down the cleaners and let my house turn into something from the show Hoarders. The warning labels tend to invoke such fear in me, and I just have to think that it can’t be that great to have these products in the air. So if you want to be like me and get your cleaning cleaned up there are a few simple things you can do. Firstly, look for ingredients on the label that are made from plants, keep an eye out for ingredients listed as “fragrance” (since we really don’t know what is in that), and beware of those labels that yield caution or poison warnings. I’ve started using several common items to create a variety of cleaning products. These are baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and hydrogen peroxide. (Funny enough, these are items I also use for homemade beauty treatments). I love baking soda; it’s inexpensive and can be used for everything from counters to carpets to clearing clogged drains. This can be used in conjunction with white vinegar for a variety of purposes as well. Lemon juice can give glass a streak free clean as well as take those yellow stains out of white t-shirts. Olive oil can be combined with a little bit of lemon juice for a safe furniture polish. Meanwhile hydrogen peroxide can be combined with lemon juice to clean counters and toilets. Or, paired with vinegar it makes a great mold and mildew cleaner. Join me in cleaning out the cleaning products. (Disclaimer, this does not mean you should throw out every store bought cleaning product, there are some great ones out there! Just be careful of what you use, especially in areas where babies and children will be)
4. Creepy Crawlers I’m generally okay with bugs, as long as they are not in my house. However, I do know that some of you may not be a fan of them. Or, like me you seem to attract every mosquito that ever was during the summer. But, before you douse your children in that heavy duty bug spray, take a look at the label. Personally it makes me a little nervous how many warnings are on a bottle of insect repellent. According to research done in 1998 on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet, “as long as consumers follow label directions and take proper precautions, insect repellents containing DEET do not present a health concern. Human exposure is expected to be brief, and long-term exposure is not expected.” That’s not good enough for me. I don’t want to put even a little bit of something on myself or my (future) kids that is even remotely toxic. However, DEET does accomplish an important goal; it repels insects that may be carrying diseases. What’s a person to do? Poison themself, or possibly let insects do it for you? Luckily you can make your own natural bug repellent. Give it a try, and let me know how well it works for you! It also will probably be less “stinky” than the store-bought bug sprays, making it easier and more pleasant to protect yourself and your family from pesky bugs.
5. Toothpaste Terrors I’m so guilty of this, are you? I try to be healthy, I brush my teeth at least twice a day and floss (usually). Although 4 out of 5 dentists may recommend that toothpaste lurking in your medicine cabinet, it doesn’t mean it’s actually that safe for you. A quick web search provides numerous studies and research results regarding this topic. This harmful toothpastes article lists which ingredients to avoid. So that pretty stripey toothpaste you have actually contains all kinds of unnecessary and potentially dangerous dyes that have been banned from other cosmetic products. Why are these okay to ingest then? Love the taste that toothpaste leaves in your mouth? Saccharin or aspartame are probably to thank for that. In case you didn’t know, they are certainly not recommended and even are on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s list of things to avoid. Also check labels to avoid sodium laureth sulfate, blue dye #2, and triclosan. Triclosan has been shown to create chloroform when added to tap water containing chlorine. So, that’s probably not great for you. Not to fear, you don’t have to start making your own toothpaste. Luckily the toothpaste I already use is on experts safe toothpastes lists. I personally grew up brushing with Tom’s of Maine. Also recommended are Weleda and Desert Essence.
I hope you’ve found this list helpful. Don’t get overwhelmed like I did when I started researching all kinds of harmful products and household items. Make changes little by little, and it’s completely manageable to live a healthier life!