Even if we stop putting phthalates in our body, we can still have a large daily exposure to them. Hygiene products, fragrances, cosmetics, lotions, even most soaps contain phthalates and parabens which are endocrine disruptors. We can absorb these harmful molecules by breathing them in, or through the pores in our skin. In addition to their harmful effects, many of these products also contain detergents, which dry out skin and necessitate the use of moisturizers and more consumer products.
Resources for Healthy hygiene options
By eliminating our use of these products, we are improving our health as well as saving money! The first place to check if our products are harmful or not is the excellent environmental working group skindeep database, www.ewg.org/skindeep. You can search for a product that you use, and it will display a detailed ingredient list, as well as the toxicity of the ingredients contained. If you’re looking for a better alternative, you can use its rating system to determine what the most benign product available is.
Another resource I use is www.gimmethegoodstuff.org, which has a lot of information on avoiding phthalates and is especially useful for those who want to protect their children from exposure. If you can’t find information on your perfumes or fragrances, or really anything that has a nice smell, look for the ingredient “fragrance” or “parfum”. Unless the product specifically mentions that only natural fragrances are use, this signifies that phthalates are almost certainly being used.
You may be asking, if all of these products are no bueno, how am I supposed to get clean? While I wouldn’t recommend going full “Woodstock”, using non-harmful hygiene products is actually quite simple and inexpensive.
By using castille or black soap, coconut oil, baking soda, and tea tree oil, you’ll have enough alternatives to produce all the hygiene products you’ll ever need easily and inexpensively. You can pickup castille soap at Trader Joe’s or online. Coconut oil is also carried there, though I think viva labs coconut oil is better quality. You should be able to find tea tree oil at your local CVS or pharmacy. By using just these ingredients, you’ll have soap, shaving lotion, aftershave, an astringent, and moisturizers.
Another way we’re exposed to phthalates are the cleaning products used on our food preparation surfaces. Switch to using white distilled vinegar whenever possible. You can also try Orange TKO, which is an effective cleaner and cost effective when diluted. Only use natural air fresheners and fragrances.
Strategy for how to limit phthalate exposure
To recap, let’s bring together everything we’ve learned in the past few articles. In order to limit your phthalate exposure, you should follow these steps:
- Use a Berkey water purifier.
- Avoid bottled water and plastic containers whenever possible.
- If you’re a coffee drinker, switch to using a steel or glass brewing device.
- Buy certified organic products, especially if buying dairy, whenever possible.
- Store food in glass containers.
- Avoid most fragrances, and hygiene or beauty products.
- Make your own hygiene products easily and inexpensively with castille soap, coconut oil, tea tree oil, and witch hazel.
- Use natural cleaning products, such as white vinegar and Orange TKO whenever possible.
Once you’ve eliminated the harmful products in your home, you will have significantly reduced your exposure to a known endocrine disruptor and potential carcinogen. You can rest easy knowing you’ve improved the well being of you and everyone under your roof. Now spread the word!