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The Unreasonable Risk of Chemicals in our Homes

The Unreasonable Risk of Chemicals in our Homes

Every day we take care of our children, love them and pray that they stay out of harm’s way.

We take the simple steps of prevention to keep them safe, things that we do automatically like ensuring they wear a seatbelt in the car and have a helmet for when they are learning to ride a bike.

Yet you, like most parents, probably don’t know and don’t give a second thought to the harmful , corrosive ingredients that are found in brake fluid, degreasers and anti-freeze that you are using  yourself and on your children on a daily basis.  The everyday products that we bring into our homes such as soaps, shampoos, bubble bath and cosmetics are also loaded with such insidious chemicals.

So what are these potentially harmful ingredients and what products are they in?

According to Dr. Samuel Epstein, a world renowned toxicologist and chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition in the USA, most bubble baths, lotions, skin care and shampoos contain harmful chemicals.  These chemicals can enter the blood stream and accumulate in human tissue.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is one such chemical, used as a skin irritant in laboratory tests, and has been linked to tumours in mice.  SLS or SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) can be found in almost every personal care product in your bathroom and even in toothpaste.  SLS is essentially a foaming agent that is extremely corrosive and is used in industry as an engine degreaser and floor cleaner.

Propylene Glycol is another chemical found in toiletries.  This corrosive chemical can be found in most hair conditioners, deodorants, bubble baths, hand and body lotions, baby wipes and even in medications.  This, in spite of the fact that Propylene Glycol is used in paints, brake and hydraulic fluid and the kind of anti-freeze they use to de-ice airplanes. Incidentally, propylene glycol has also made it into our food and pet food, as it is used as a humectant to stop foods drying out. You may see it listed as E1520, if it’s listed at all!

These are only two of the many chemicals that may undermine your health and the health of your children.  You may be aware of the many issues that are now coming to the surface about BPA and phthalates in plastics and there are serious concerns about these two ingredients.

In a 1989 report completed in the USA on 2,983 chemicals found in personal care and cosmetics they found that:

  • 884 were toxic
  • 146 cause tumours
  • 218 cause reproductive complications
  • 778 cause acute toxicity
  • 314 cause biological mutations
  • 376 cause skin and eye irritations

You may now be wondering why these ingredients are used in products that we use daily.  Basically they are cheap, they are permitted by our government and essentially they do the job.

This may surprise or even shock you however these are the facts which are thankfully becoming more prevalent and well-known.  However, there are still many parents who do not realise that they are unknowingly inflicting exposures on their infants and children, let alone on themselves.

Article submitted by Jodie Davis – 1000 mums making a difference


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Think twice before you powder your nose ladies

Think twice before you powder your nose ladies

The Cosmetic Cover-up

Powdering your nose, for us ladies, has been something that the average woman has unconsciously added to her daily routine.  Little girls watch in anticipation as mum cleans, moisturisers, exfoliates and powders her face on a daily basis, waiting for her turn to look like mum and partake in this daily transformational routine.  Mum turns and places some lippy on her daughters lips, allocates an eye shadow she can play with and every now and then powders up her little ones face to squeals of delight.

Inadvertently and blissfully mum is totally unaware of the hidden dangers within these beautifully packaged, deliciously smelling and all to enticing products.

What do you want from your cosmetics?

Well you might be thinking of course I want the elevated beauty component, a touch and feel of glamour, that healthy glow products promise us and of course the additional confidence and support to look your very best.  Not to mention the smells that lures us to lather up or spray ourselves with everyday.


What price are you prepared to pay?


The reality is that the ingredients used in many of these products have been tested on animals and contain ingredients that have already been scientifically tested to be dangerous to humans.


What aren’t they telling you?

Some side effects of these chemicals are associated with watery eyes, red skin, irritations, inflammation, dermatitis, swelling, itching, asthma, exzema & psoriasis, acne, premature aging, mood changes, wrinkles, hair loss, dandruff and scalp problems, restlessness, depression, recurring illness and the list goes on.


Production of the synthetic chemical has been doubling every 7-8 years since the 1930’s and this is having a huge impact on our health.

It was identified in a study by the American Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in 1989 that there were about 3000 various dangerous chemicals in our cosmetics and personal care products such as toothpaste, bubble bath and shampoos.  They found that 778 caused acute toxicity, 146 caused tumours, 218 can cause reproduction problems, 314 were mutagenic (damaging our genes) and 376 caused skin and eye irritation.

Chemicals increase the performance of products and are also often used as fillers to keep the price of the products down.

Our world has become overloaded with chemicals and the make-up bag is a favourite place for them to accumulate. Unfortunately there is no regulation around these products and of paramount concern is the fact that not many people are aware of this and continue to douse themselves with the same ingredients as used in industrial cleaner, anti-freeze and rat poison.

For a detailed list of ingredients to avoid please visit the archives of

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Spring Cleaning: 10 Tips to Cleaning Without Chemicals

Spring Cleaning: 10 Tips to Cleaning Without Chemicals

Spring is the time to clean everything out – in preparation for an active summer, the new year and new resolutions.

Cleaning your home properly to keep dust at bay is important.

Many people have allergies to “dust mites” – it is in fact the faeces of the dust mites that cause problems.

Dust is often a major trigger for asthmatics – usually for this reason.

Dust is also laden with other contaminants, depending on where you live. It often contains car exhaust, tyre dust, hair, skin cells, dirt… Dust and dander carry with them anything and everything that is light.

What to do??

  1. Invest in microfibre cloths – these are fabulous as they usually just need the assistance of water to do a great job.
  2. Wet dust – use a wet dusting cloth (ideally microfibre) to clean off dust. Dry dusting just stirs it up so it resettles somewhere else.
  3. If you have carpets, you will need to vacuum them regularly. If this is the case, ensure that your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter. HEPA filters filter out about 99.9% of particulate matter, unlike other vacuum cleaners that allow the dust and particulate matter to pass through them – which means you are basically stirring up the dust and allowing it to resettle on furniture and back in the carpet. Very important stuff!
  4. Avoid using mainstream cleaning products – they are laden with chemicals and fragrances… stick to microfibre cloths, sodium bicarbonate and vinegar.
  5. Getting rid of mould – this is a complex one, but I will touch on it briefly here…
    1. address and remedy the source (eg a leak),
    2. clean with a vinegar solution and allow it to dry in the sun, if possible.
  6. Regularly wash bedding, toys and other “soft furnishings” – ideally dry everything in the sunshine.
  7. Have plants around your home – they are fantastic at cleaning the air. Wolverton, an ex-NASA scientist has documented the effects of many house plants. You can read more about this in his book Eco Friendly House Plants.
  8. Open up your windows, exchange the air! This is the best air freshener around! At all costs, avoid using “air fresheners” and scented reeds as these add to the pollution and inhibit your ability to smell.
  9. If you have rugs take them outside and beat them and leave them to air in the sunshine.
  10. Declutter – get rid of anything that you haven’t used in the past 3 years.

This is a great time of year, and by really getting into the spirit of it, it can be like an emotional and spiritual cleanse, too!

Happy spring-cleaning!


Article submitted by Lucinda Curran – – Eco Health Solutions

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“The Dirty Dozen”

“The Dirty Dozen”

Hidden chemicals in your everyday products

Each year we have new resolutions and goals set to achieve.  Last year at the top of my list was to actively and work on systematically reducing the amount of chemicals my family was exposed to.  Right down to conning the children to change their favourite products over to chemical and flavour free.  Now I am not saying I achieved a 100% strike rate but I would say a good solid 95%.  This I can live with, as my reading on the subject has suggested that we are now exposed to in access of 200 different chemicals in the home every day, as a minimum.

The connection between exposure of these chemicals to food allergies and various associated symptoms is also extremely interesting.  My own experience has shown that by reducing my exposure to chemicals along with avoiding the various food ingredients I know cause me “grief”, some of my irritating complaints have definitely reduced and in some cases disappeared ie: rashes on my fingers under my rings”.

Many people do not realise that your body’s largest organ is your skin.  Commercial products that contain any of the “dirty dozen” can be absorbed directly into the blood stream causing various nasty reactions.

So the top 12 ingredients I want to share with you to watch out for in your ingredients list of your personal care products are:

  1. Propylene Glycol (PG)/Butylene Glycol
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)/ Sodium Laureth Sulfate(SLES)
  3. DEA (diethanolamine)/ MEA (Monoethanolaniine) TEA (triethanolamine)
  4. Sodium Hydroxide
  5. Triclosan
  6. DMDM & Urea (Imidazolidinyl)
  7. Liutane or Propane
  8. Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40)
  9. Mineral Oil
  10. FD & C Colour Pigments
  11. Fragrances
  12. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) So in 2010, I discovered the important link between food allergies and the effects of continuous daily exposure of chemicals. It is terribly important to reduce the exposure of chemicals both in the home and the personal care products we use on our skin daily to initiate supporting our good health and assisting our bodies to heal and become less sensitive to various foods and our environment.

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“Where do we find the Dirty Dozen?”

“Where do we find the Dirty Dozen?”

Follow on from “The Dirty Dozen”

So the ingredients I want to share with you to watch out for in your ingredients list of your personal care products are:

  1. Propylene Glycol (PG)/Butylene Glycol:
    Found in Anti-freeze.   Acts as a wetting agent and solvent. It penetrates the skin and weakens protein and cellular structure.  This ingredient is strong enough to remove barnacles from boats.
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)/ Sodium Laureth Sulfate(SLES):
    This ingredients poses a serious health risk.  It is found in garage floor cleaners and is used primarily as an engine degreaser and is in 90% of personal-care products to assist with foaming. Animals exposed to this ingredient experienced eye damage, depression, laboured breathing, diarrhoea, severe skin irritations and even death.
  3. DEA (diethanolamine)/ MEA (Monoethanolaniine) TEA (triethanolamine):
    These are hormone disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing nitrates.  Found in shampoos, shaving creams and bubble baths.
  4. Sodium Hydroxide:
    This ingredients has appeared only recently in our personal care products such as toothpaste.  This is a poison found commonly in drain cleaners.
  5. Triclosan:
    This synthetic chemical works as an antibacterial and is found in cleansers, toothpastes and household products.  It is registered as a pesticide.
  6. DMDM & Urea (Imidazolidinyl):
    These are two of many preservatives that often release formaldehyde which cause joint pain, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep.
  7. Liutane or Propane:
    Found in aerosol products.  May be narcotic and cause asphyxiation.
  8. Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40):
    Drying, irritating solvent that strips skin’s moisture and immune barrier, making you vulnerable to bacteria and viruses.  This chemical is made from petroleum derivative found in shellac and antifreeze as well as personal care products.
  9. FD & C Colour Pigments:
    Synthetic colours from coal tar that deposits toxins onto the skin, causing skin irritation.  Absorption of certain colour can cause depletion of oxygen in body and death.
  10. Fragrances:
    Can contain up to four thousand ingredients (including animal urine) many toxic or carcinogenic. Fragrances can cause headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discolouration , violent coughing, vomiting and skin irritations.
  11. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG):
    Carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that reduces the skin’s natural moisture.  Used in spray-on cleaners and cleansers to dissolve oil and grease.
  12. Mineral Oil:
    It is a petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. Interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Used in many products (baby oil is 100% mineral oil!) Any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH’s (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.
    It can be labeled as:
    Mineral oil
    Liquidum paraffinum (also known as posh mineral oil!)
    Paraffin oil
    Paraffin wax

    Sharing my discovery with everyone about this “Dirty Dozen” is vitally important, as there is a direct and proven link between food allergies and the effects of continuous daily exposure of chemicals. It is terribly important to reduce the exposure of chemicals both in the home and the personal care products we use on our skin daily to initiate supporting our good health and assisting our bodies to heal and become less sensitive to various foods and our environment.

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Can small amounts of chemicals in everyday products really be bad?

Can small amounts of chemicals in everyday products really be bad?

Years ago the skin was thought the perfect barrier to protect us.

However we now know that the skin is not only the largest organ of the body, but it also serves as a delivery system for whatever we put on it. This is why today we have nicotine patches, hormone patches and other patches that are placed on the skin to deliver ingredients through the skin and into the body.

These chemicals that are in our personal care products get in through our skin and as Dr. Samuel Epstein says, they get into our blood stream and accumulate in human tissue. So even if used in small amounts they accumulate in our system and we are using numerous products on a daily basis.

Dr. Epstein, in one of his books “Unreasonable Risk – How to Avoid Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products” reports on the daily use of these products. According to daily use estimates, three personal care products are used on infants and children, men use ten personal care products and women use six cosmetics and 13 personal care products ; with some products that are used several times daily. Assuming that main stream industry products each contain only two carcinogens (and we know they contain a lot more), this can result in daily exposures to six different avoidable carcinogens for infants and children, 20 for men and 38 for women.

That’s right they are avoidable!

The great news is that each and every one of us has a choice. Become an educated and informed consumer. Know what to look for and read the labels. The focus is on prevention and choosing to avoid as many of these potentially harmful ingredients as we can to protect us, our children, our homes and our environment, as these chemicals are washed down our drains and into our environment too! It’s as simple as taking steps of prevention that we do in many other areas, just like wearing a seatbelt or putting a helmet on our kids when they ride their bikes.

1000 Mums Making a Difference is committed to addressing the issues of toxin overload and nutritional deficiencies by assisting and supporting those who are committed to living healthier lives in healthier environments.  We have partnered with those who share a similar view and provide some great safe alternatives.

Ubeaut Kidz is one of our partners who is leading the way in providing BPA, phthalate and lead free lunchboxes for our children, so this is a simple way to avoid and protect our children from one daily activity that you wouldn’t think for a moment was a concern – taking their lunch to school or kindy!

To learn what your exposures may be take our “Chemical Body Burden Challenge” available as a free download on our website.

Jodie Davies guest contributor for What Can I Eat and  Founder – 1000 Mums Making a Difference


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