Creating healthy habits in the home and teaching children the importance of taking good care of their bodies is one of the primary roles of raising tweens. Not only are kids developing hygiene habits during their tween years, but they are also beginning to develop brand preferences.
I’ve written a lot on this site about how to eat healthy. For example, you already know my propensity for organic food, a healthy breakfast, family health and fitness, and grass fed dairy. Though I’ve found that the tween years are not just about teaching healthy eating habits; they’re also the key time to teach them healthy hygiene habits.
Sadly, toxic chemicals in many conventional personal care products such as deodorants and toothpaste may cause serious harm when used over the long term. That’s why it’s a good time to talk to your kids about foregoing conventional personal care products for more eco-friendly and human-friendly options.
Unfortunately, companies often put their own profits before the health and wellbeing of consumers. Most conventional deodorants contain potentially toxic chemicals, such as aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, or Talc, for example. Triclosan was recently banned in the United States in wash products, but it still allowed to appear in toothpaste. Manufacturers will have a year to remove products from the market which contain triclosan, meaning that it may still be on your store shelves. In fact, there are more than 1300 ingredients that are banned across Europe that are “generally recognized as safe” here in the United States. So while other countries are more likely to make the health of their people a priority, around here we are left to do our own homework.
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Fertility issues for gals.
Issues such as miscarriage and still birth, impaired fetal growth, congenital malformations, impaired neurodevelopment are linked to chemicals such as pesticides, toxins solvents and more.
Reproductive issues for guys.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as those found in conventional personal care products, may have a negative impact on fertilization and adverse effects on human sperm function.
Deodorant is (rather obviously) put on the underarm in an area that is close to the breast. Aluminum compounds found in many conventional deodorants could potentially be absorbed by the skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells. Estrogen can promote the growth of breast cells (both cancerous and non-cancerous), so aluminum-based products may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer. Parabens, which are found in many conventional products, mimic the activity of estrogen in the body. The body absorbs parabens, and they have even been found in some breast cancer tissue.
Liver and kidney damage.
Well I don’t know about you, but that sure doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time. Yet both propylene glycol and DEA are said to be potential causes of liver and kidney damage, among other reactions. Additionally, triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in one popular brand of toothpaste, was found to causes liver fibrosis (excess fibrous tissue in the organ).
Now, you may think this is a bit of contradiction, and perhaps not a serious health matter. While it’s nice to use deodorant since body odor can be offensive, it’s important to let your body sweat. In fact, sweating is the body’s way of regulating its own body temperature so that you don’t overheat. Sweating is also a way for the body to eliminate toxins.
Triclosan, as we mentioned, is an artificial antimicrobial chemical used to kill bacteria. Studies suggest that it may disrupt normal thyroid function.
The American Medical Association recommends that triclosan not be used in the home, as it’s use may encourage resistance to antibiotics.
FD&C artificial colors, triclosan and DEA have all been known to cause potential allergic skin reactions.
Talc (also known as hydrous magnesium silicate) is a mineral used in some conventional personal care products. Talc is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer when it contains asbestiform fibers. Talc is another one of those unregulated items, meaning that there is no way of knowing whether or not it a product with talc contains those fibers. One study also found that Triclosan promoted cancer in mice.
The World Health Organization has linked aluminum exposure to Alzheimer’s disease, with higher deodorant use corresponding to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Put it this way. There is enough reason for concern to avoid using conventional products when there are amazing alternatives in the marketplace. A study from the University of California at Berkeley found that when teen girls stop using makeup, shampoos, and lotions made with hormone disrupting chemicals, the levels of these chemicals in the body drops substantially. Even a short break from using conventional personal care products led to a significant drop in levels of hormone disruptors in the body. So keep your kids safe by teaching them to avoid chemical-laden personal care products such as deodorant, toothpaste, and more.
So remember, the tween years are when kids develop important personal habits. Teaching them that healthy eating and healthy hygiene means no harmful chemicals in their food and personal care products will help to give them a healthier lifetime.
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