I hate ruining a party, especially one that I am also enjoying. However, that is what I am doing right now by writing this week’s blog. Most of us abhor all of the environmental pollution that occurs in industry and by the use of fossil fuels, however, none of us is cognizant of the waste streams that come out of our own houses via wastewater and sewage. Here are some of the chemicals that exit from your taps and toilets:
Triclosan– the anti-bacterial ingredient that is used in soaps, toothpastes and personal care products like shampoo and even lotions. It is already a probable carcinogen and quite toxic to most life.
Sodium Fluoride– found in most toothpaste and mouth rinses. Fluoridation of water occurs at about 1ppm (1mg/litre) concentration and has many measurable adverse effects, whereas toothpaste has a concentration of between 1500 and 5000ppm. This concentration is highly toxic and is one of the reasons why you are told not to swallow your toothpaste after brushing.
SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate)– a detergent/ foaming agent/ surfactant found in many personal care products and is a possible carcinogen, neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, irritant and eco-toxin.
Coloring agents– which more often than not are coal-tar derivatives and carcinogenic.
Detergents– such as Pinesol, Windex, Vim, CLR, and bleach, which you use to clean your bathroom, sink, shower, bath and toilet. These are very corrosive as well as toxic to us, and the environment, and contain ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, propylene glycol and dyes.
Laundry Detergents– in addition to the above substances, these also contain phosphates which are eco-toxic.
And…lets not forget about what comes out of us via urine and stool. Every time you do number one or number two, you are excreting these chemicals that you come into contact with as well as any prescription drugs and hormones that you happen to be taking. Most antibiotics, pain-killers, hormones and chemotherapeutic drugs get excreted out of us unchanged. The fraction that we do end up metabolizing is sometimes excreted out in a more toxic form than to begin with.
Also keep in mind that the above list is far from exhaustive and is probably much longer. So how do we fix this and make David Suzuki proud? Firstly, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t wear it. There are plenty of organic and natural personal care products out there. Just look for them (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com). Second, cook from scratch and use cleaners such as Seventh Generation or similar products that have less of an eco-toxic footprint. Third, don’t use fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash. To fight cavities, just eat less sugar, sweeten with xylitol and use homeopathic toothpaste, or plain ‘ole baking soda and mint essential oil. Finally, use Chinese medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, massage, chiropractic, vitamins, exercise and good nutrition to maintain your health and drug therapy only as a last resort. This is how we will all minimize the toxicity around us, improve our collective health, save health care dollars, piss off the pharmaceutical industry and get Suzuki-sama off our backs and more on industry’s.
Further Reading: Our Stolen Future By Theo Colborn, ISBN 0-525-93982-2
Ecoholic By Adria Vasil, ISBN 0-679-31484-9