Organic smoothies and green facial masks may be trendy these days, but if I ask any of my teenagers if my baking soda and coconut oil deodorant is cool, they gawk at me like I've got kale in my teeth. (I probably do!)
The "cool factor" of going green bypassed my kids' generation entirely, which isn't surprising considering enticing products like Axe and Pantene are so popular and easily accessible.
But products like these contain a potentially toxic brew of chemicals that don't belong anywhere near developing bodies. What's especially alarming is that the nasty chemical cocktail is likely masked by innocuous catchall words and phrases like "fragrance," "plant-derived," or "contains natural and organic botanicals."
Unfortunately, these generic terms are meaningless marketing tools that are not regulated by the FDA. In fact, only 11 ingredients are banned in personal care products in the United States—compared to a whopping 1,300 in the European Union. These ingredients are found in thousands of items, and they can add up to a heavy toxic load over time.
A recent study out of Berkeley found that teenagers had lower levels of chemical exposure within days of dropping products that contained phthalates (found in most fragrances), parabens (used to preserve most products), triclosan (found in antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers), and oxybenzone (found in most sunscreens).
So what is a health-conscious mama who's concerned her family's well-being to do? Here are five of my favorite ways to protect my five children from toxins around the house: