Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Know The Ingredients

Newsletter from Environmental Working Group popped int my inbox this morning with a few tips that I thought were worth passing along:

Most people use around 10 personal care products every day, with an average of 126 different ingredients. We'd like to believe that the government is policing the safety of all of the concoctions we put on our bodies, but it's not. Instead, these unregulated products pose uncertain dangers for our health and our environment.

How to read a label
Every personal care product must list its ingredients. Here's how to navigate the label:

Start at the end, with preservatives. Avoid:
Words ending in "paraben"
DMDM hydantoin
Imidazolidinyl urea
Triethanolamine (or "TEA")

Check the beginning of the ingredients lists, where soaps, surfactants, and lubricants show up.

Try to avoid ingredients that start with "PEG" or have an "-eth" in the middle (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).

Read the ingredients in the middle. Look for these words: "FRAGRANCE," "FD&C," or "D&C."

For grown-ups
Many parents pay more attention to their kids' environmental health than their own, but adult bodies can be affected by toxic chemicals, too. EWG's Safer Shopping List has nine common-sense tips to reduce everyone's exposures. For instance, buy fragrance-free, skip the nail polish and use fewer products.

Just for kids
Extra caution is in order for kids because, pound for pound, they are exposed to more contaminants in everyday products than adults. Their immature metabolism and organ systems are typically less capable of fending off chemical assaults. Even subtle damage to young bodies can lead to disease later in life.

Follow EWG's top five tips for kids:

Use fewer products and use them less often.
Don't trust ad hype. Check ingredients.
Buy fragrance-free products.
Avoid the use of baby powder.

Always avoid EWG's top six chemicals of concern for kids:

2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3 Diol
Boric acid and sodium borate
DMDM Hydantoin

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