By: Morgan Statt, Health & Safety Investigator for ConsumerSafety.org
Health and wellness has begun to encompass so much more than just regular fitness and proper eating habits. Although we can’t deny that these are the pillars of a well-lived life, we now have to consider other factors that may be affecting our health on a daily basis. The environment we live in, the products we use, and even our genetic makeup can play a role in our overall well-being.
Perhaps one of the easiest health factors to lose sight of during our hectic lives is our use of everyday products. Today, we’re tasked as consumers to educate ourselves on the harmful ingredients that may be lingering in things as common as the toothpaste we use and the foods we eat. More often than not, we expose ourselves to these toxins without us even being aware of it.
In addition to the healthy foods you eat and the exercises you do on a weekly basis, start actively checking your everyday product labels for the presence of toxins. Take the time to educate yourself on these three potentially harmful ingredients and the products in your very home that they may be lurking in.
Check for talc in your hygiene products.
Talcum powder is a mineral-based ingredient found in common hygiene products like baby powder and cosmetics to help to reduce friction and wick away moisture on the skin. Although the ingredient was commonplace in the later half of the 20th century, studies dating back to the 1970s have linked talcum powder to a higher risk of ovarian cancer and lung disease. Today, talcum powder continues to make headlines after thousands of women filed claims placing the blame of their ovarian cancer diagnosis on the presence of talc in Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products.
The FDA does not currently regulate the use of talc in cosmetics, despite current regulation in place for food products. Interestingly enough, the European Union bans the use of the ingredient completely.
Tip: If you discover that your favorite hygiene products do contain talc, don’t stress. Instead, consider purchasing talc-free options for your cosmetics and baby powder which will clearly say so on the label.
Avoid alcohol in your mouthwash.
Did you know that even the slightest imbalance in our oral microbiome can cause a multitude of oral health problems? In a study conducted by the journal Microbiome, researchers found that Americans who were heavy drinkers had more “bad bacteria” in their mouth than good. This heightened amount of unhealthy germs can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and plaque buildup, as well as increase our risk of gastrointestinal cancer. Alcohol is also known to cause dry mouth and an absence of saliva, which can bring about tongue irritation and gum disease.
Even if you only drink alcohol in moderation, it can still be hiding in everyday oral care products like your mouthwash and toothpaste. For better oral care all around, look for alcohol-free products like this Organic Brushing Rinse that will help keep the good bacteria you need in your mouth for a stable and healthy oral microbiome.
Steer clear of gardening supplies that contain glyphosate.
Glyphosate is a synthetic compound used to effectively kill weeds and other annoyances that can wreak havoc on your garden or lawn. It is found in most herbicides and pesticides that are used in mass agricultural settings and for home use. Despite its ability to kill plant predators, the compound has been listed by both the World Health Organization and the state of California as a probable carcinogen. Exposure to glyphosate has been linked to liver and kidney damage, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and other forms of cancer.
The brand-name Roundup has been dealing with current litigation because of its inclusion of glyphosate, and its maker Monsanto has since been required to provide sufficient warning labels on the weed killer. Scarily enough, this pesticide use has led to findings of trace amounts of the compound on household foods such as Quaker Oats.
To protect yourself from the health risks of extended exposure to the compound, consider natural gardening alternatives such as weed-whacking or this weed killer recipe.