I've made a concentrated effort over the last two years to eliminate as many processed, toxic, and harmful products from my home and diet as I possibly can. For instance, I refuse to use anything with laurel sulfates (soap, detergent, shampoo, toothpaste--yes, even your commercial toothpaste has it in there), I've transitioned to all-glass containers in my kitchen, I use cruelty-free cleaning products and cosmetics, and I no longer buy processed, ready-made foods, preferring to make my own from ingredients I can control, grow, or buy from reputable organic sources. I have always been a gardener and have NEVER used chemical fertilizers or pesticides on any of my plants (even before it was trendy) because I believe we only have one Earth.
Aside from the environmental benefits, once you switch your diet to homemade breads, broths, soups, pastas, etc. made from responsibly-grown meats, vegetables, and grains, eating processed, frozen, or canned foods tastes like...well, crap.
But what we're concerned about here today are non-consumables, and the thing to keep in mind is, along with sparing the lives of the innocent animals used to test these products, eliminating toxic chemicals from your life is better for everyone.
Did you know:
- U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors.
- Dioxin, Formaldehyde, Triclosan, cocamide DEA, phthalates, parabens… the list is endless.
- And they are present in everything from BABY shampoo, to cosmetics, to laundry products, to perfume.
Just one example is the Washington University analysis of leading laundry products (detergents, dryer sheets, fabric softeners) which found more than 25 volatile compounds, including acetaldehyde and benzene; which are classified by the EPA as carcinogens with no safe level of exposure.
If a product causes cancer, why would you want it in your home, worn on your body, or rubbed into your skin? Of course, the simple answer is, because the majority of people either don't know this or don't care. What they should know, however, is how those products gain approval to hit the store shelves in this country.
Most products in the United States are still tested on animals.
“Consumers are largely unaware that sentient creatures are still poisoned for the sake of new shampoo and lipstick.”– The Humane Society of the United States
|These companies should be boycotted if you are opposed to animal testing.|
Every country in the European Union outlaws cosmetic and household-product testing on animals as cruel and unnecessary, and yet the United States continues to allow corporations to dictate our values.
- Animals in US laboratories are exempt from animal cruelty laws.
- Legal tests include burning, poisoning, starving, forced inhalation, mutilating, blinding, electrocuting, drowning, and dissecting/amputation/surgery without painkillers.
- There are over 80,000 ingredients that companies can choose from to formulate their products– ingredients that don’t need to be tested on animals, because they’ve already been proven safe.
- Animal testing is funded with tax dollars, and it is a very lucrative business: delivering grants to universities, huge profits to pharmaceutical and chemical corporations, and funding for government agencies.
|Beagles are the most popular breed for lab use because of their friendly, docile nature. If you are an animal lover, you should be aware of this and encourage your fellow animal lovers to boycott the companies that use animal testing.|
You can make a difference:
- VOTE WITH YOUR PURCHASES. Even though your current shampoo/laundry soap/bodywash is past the animal-testing phase, it still contains toxins and you’re still supporting a company that is in the business of testing new products on animals. Instead, choose to support companies whose values align with yours.
- TELL OTHER PEOPLE. Educate your family and friends on the cruelty of animal-testing and the lunacy of buying products that are toxic.
- SIGN PETITIONS: Support the Humane Society’s efforts to pass the Federal Bill to End Cosmetics Testing on Animals. This is incredibly important, and your voice matters. The Humane Society International was responsible for creating the change that resulted in an EU-wide ban. Calling and writing to your representatives will make a difference.
|How to know who to buy from? The Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide can help. Companies that are owned by parent companies that are NOT cruelty-free are annotated with a colored square. You can also download their app here.|
Almost every brand sold in America is owned by one of a few BIG corporations.
They all test on animals. They all sell products full of toxins. Some of the biggest offenders include: Johnson & Johnson, S.C. Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Unilever, and Dial/Henkel.
Educate yourself. Big corporations are in the business of selling you products by convincing you that you need them. They have great marketing, huge budgets for lobbying, and a core interest in profit. They have also figured out that a shampoo named Herbal Essence will sell much better than a shampoo named Chemical Solvent Also In Pesticides.
This is called greenwashing and it works. Don't be fooled by it.
- Greenwashing is the appropriation of environmental virtue by a company or industry to create a pro-environmental image in order to sell a product.
- It is the phenomena of socially and environmentally destructive corporations attempting to preserve and expand their markets or power by posing as friends of the environment.
So how do you know which companies are safe? You can look for the leaping bunny certification (the one on the left is the most common). Among some of the safer ones are Seventh Generation, Dr. Bronners, any of the Whole Foods brands, and many cosmetic and cleaning products sold by Trader Joe's. For instance, I use the Trader Joe's Nourish shampoos and conditioners (which run around $3.00 for a 16.9 oz bottle) and their all natural, fluoride-free antiplaque toothpaste made with fennel, propolis, and myrrh. And it's less than $3.00 a tube.
Transitioning your home to a cruelty-free place to reduce your exposure to toxins will take a little time and research, but the benefits are huge--for you, your family, the animals, and the environment.