Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Living Clean Pt. 1 - Who really cares anyway?
In this post I'm going to talk a bit about why this stuff matters. This is the post to ignore if you just want some ideas of what to buy (which is coming next), or if you've been thinking this way for years and you can't believe someone is JUST figuring this out (guilty, sigh). Believe me, I'll understand. But I want to write this out because in a short period of time it's become really important to me, and I would love it if anyone else decided to make some of these changes too.
I want to make our home as safe as possible for this beautiful boy of mine to grow up in. Bottom line. And so I have major changes to make. I'm starting by figuring out if the products we use in our homes and on our bodies are 'safe' or not. But what does that mean, and how do we find out, and how unsafe are we talking? (And whyyyyy didn't this all register when I was pregnant? Sad face...)
Very simply put, bath and body products, hair products, etc. are all things that are absorbed into our skin. Unlike food, which is filtered in our bodies, these products go directly into our blood stream. Those chemicals are going straight in too, and they build up over time. The fewer we're exposed to, the better. We're less likely to get sick, and that sounds good to me. And it's especially important for babies and kids. Their tender skin drinks it all up and they are even more susceptible to things than we are. Safe is the only way. So, how do we find safe things?
There are many, many factors to consider when it comes to this. You can't trust things like 'all natural' or other such claims. You can't walk in to Whole Foods or Goodness Me and assume everything in there is ok. In fact, my new theory is to trust nothing and always check before I but anything, period. What we need to check are the ingredients, and I know, that sounds like the least fun thing ever. But there are websites that have made this a thousand times easier for us, so we don't really have an excuse anymore.
One of the best and most trusted sites is the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep. This website allows you to search for products and provides you with a safety 'score'. This site isn't perfect, but it's pretty great. I find myself using this along with GoodGuide, and making my decision based on both, though I tend to trust EWG more as they seem to be harder on products. And I will not buy something if I can't find it on these sites unless I'm confident about every single ingredient. It's just not worth the risk.
On EWG you want products that score between 0 and 2, and on Good Guide you want anything above 8. If you'd rather just use one website, that's totally ok. I'm using them both just to cross reference, because I'm crazy(?) but it takes two seconds and I feel better doing it.
As far as specifics, there are some major ingredient no-nos that you should never accept in any products. EWG has a great pocket guide that outlines what to steer clear of. There is also a great list on Ecoholic. And if you want more details on why we need to avoid this stuff, look towards the bottom of this page.
A good place to start is with your current products, search them and see if they're ok. Maybe you're way on top of this. Or maybe you're like me and you've used scary stuff without knowing it. Once you know what changes you need to make, you can begin, and you can go slow. Replace each when you run out with a safer option. That doesn't sound so awful, does it?
If you want to start a journey to a greener life in more ways than just these few areas, I saw this list today and thought it was pretty great. I decided to start nice and slow with the things I'll mention over the next few posts, but I'm not stopping there.
Anyway, in my next post I will list some products that I've found to use on Ben and for us too that have great scores and wonderful ingredients. It's actually been really fun researching this stuff, and I've discovered some great companies!
And just to note - none of this will be sponsored. I know people are very leery about things they read on blogs because we're all huge sell-outs but rest assured, no ones giving me a penny to write any of my ramblings. I'm not even close to being that cool.
One last thing...if you've been reading this blog for a while, I want to say that products I've mentioned in the past were never thought of in this regard, so please search them on EWG if you use them (as I've been doing) and only use what you're comfortable with.