In 52 Healthy Changes, Essential Oils
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ime for action! We made our lists, we checked them twice, now it’s time to make some changes.

Do you remember? Healthy Change #4 was to “make a list“. That’s right, we walked through our homes and wrote out all the products we use on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It’s time to grab those lists, yet again, and pick something to swap out for a healthier alternative.

We did a warm up a couple weeks ago with Healthy Change #9, swapping out our shampoo and conditioner. From here on out, we’re going to swap out our products, one at a time, with healthier alternatives.

Healthy Change #11 is to clean it up, one product at a time. We usually run out of something each month. Whatever it is this month, swap it out for a product with a good rating on EWG (The Environmental Working Group).

Make it fun! Try to find products that will make your life easier! We found an awesome concentrate that completely streamlined our cleaning. It works in the kitchen, on windows and floors, in the bathroom, and for bathtubs and sinks!

I bought some wool dryer balls almost two years ago (a have saved over $80 and counting!) and I never have to worry about running out of dryer sheets. They’re completely non-toxic, reduce wrinkling and actually save money by shortening the drying cycle! (Plus I can add a drop of essential oil to each ball and, voila!, scented dryer balls that will lightly scent my laundry, sans toxins.)

We’ve experimented with different dishwasher and laundry detergents, until we found one that’s efficient, non-toxic and affordable.

Like I said, make it fun! If you buy a liquid dish soap you’re not thrilled with, you’ll only be stuck with it for a month or so. Then, when it runs out, try something new!

Why does it matter? Why is this important? Well, our food is not the only thing that can either help or harm us. Chemicals used in our cleaning products and cosmetics can be just as helpful, or harmful (if not more so) , especially when it comes to our endocrine system.

Our endocrine system is made up of the glands that produce hormones. These hormones regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood…in short? They’re pretty important and best left undisturbed!

You’ve no doubt heard of the dirty dozen. This is a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide and chemical residue (the ones you want to be sure to buy organic). But did you know chemicals found in cosmetics and cleaning products have a dirty dozen list too?

Below are the “dirty dozen” to the chemical world, and why it’s important to your health to avoid them:

  • BHA and BHT: Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  • Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number. Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1″ or “Blue 1″). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
  • DEA-related ingredients: Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA.
  • Dibutyl phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  • Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
  • Parabens: Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
  • Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance): Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  • PEG compounds: Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
  • Petrolatum: Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
  • Siloxanes: Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  • Sodium laureth sulfate: Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
  • Triclosan: Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

We’re doing our best to keep our “Products We Love” page up to date. Again, these are products we use (or have used) AND LOVE! We won’t recommend products we didn’t have good success with…pinky promise! We have listed items we may no longer use, simply because we’ve tried many different products over the past 6 years, sometimes trying new ones, just for fun! We’ll never list products we wouldn’t use again ourselves.

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    Really happy to see the “dirty dozen” list for cleaners!! I’m putting these in my phone for quick reference.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen

      Yes! This was a great discovery for me too!

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