Building a Non-Toxic Life – Part 1: Prioritizing

Every so often I get a call from a person who is completely overwhelmed by the discovery that their house and their lives are filled with toxins. This encompasses cleaning products, laundry detergents, furniture, and of course…personal beauty products.

They want to eliminate the toxins from their lives but don’t know where to start, or how best to prioritize. Panic has set in, and they are on the verge of throwing everything they own out the window! Of course doing that is not practical, economical or ecologically helpful.

Some planning is in order. Here are some suggestions for how to start.

Change whatever you are running out of now. It’s much easier to investigate and make changes one item at a time.  It’s easier to develop a research process that works for you and less wasteful this way as well.

Pick whatever may bring the next biggest reward. Toxicity runs on a continuum, so not everything may need to go, and some changes will reap greater benefits than others.

  • If there are young children in the household, focus on products that they use. Developing bodies and brains are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of toxins.
  • Switching to unscented laundry products can have a huge impact for everyone in the family, since clothing, sheets and towels come in contact with your skin 24/7. “Fragrance” includes thousands of toxic chemicals.
  • Change your body lotion or any product that you put all over your body. We, of course, suggest Herbaliz creams and lotions! They not only have no toxins, they also include herbs that work to improve your health.
  • Changing shampoo and hair conditioner can help, especially if you wash your hair in the shower, because the products will rinse over your whole body. Hair conditioners are among the most toxic body care products.

Other thoughts to help break the process down into manageable bites include making one change a month or picking one toxin to focus on.

The important thing is to not get so overwhelmed that you don’t do anything.

Coming months will be about resources and more specific actions that can help you reach your goals. In the meantime do one thing!

Labels Are Important

In today’s fast moving world, labels serve as an announcement to customers. They are a short-hand way to describe a brand and who they are.

The labels we use on our products have an artistic representation of plants and botanicals, the basis of our products.

We also have a grouping of logos under our social media tools.  These reference certifications by key groups in the environmentally active health and beauty industry.

Herbaliz is a certified business with Green America, which stands as a stamp of recognition for “environmental sustainability and social justice.”

There is a cruelty-free icon which signifies Herbaliz is in a searchable database compiled by Peta. It confirms that we do not test on animals. (Ugh. Do companies still do that?)

We have signed on to the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, which is under the umbrella of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

The Environmental Workers Group (EWG) features the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, which lists eighty-eight of our products. Our scores all hit the Number 1 category: the “Low Hazard” rating. When you click on those products on our website, we also have their rating listed. The goal behind this database is to clarify the safety of common synthetic ingredients and chemicals used in body care products.

The SkinDeep ratings often show that “data is limited.” The data to which they refer is in scientific studies done onchemicals. Little study has gone into real botanical ingredients because they have been used without negative side effects for hundreds of years.

Herbaliz is allowed to post the “Truth in Labeling” seal because we follow all the criteria set out by The Natural Ingredient Resource Center (NIRC).

Please check out these links to learn more. This is our way to let folks know:  who we are, where we stand, and how we strive to be an active part of the larger environmental community.

It’s a way of saying to you that it is possible to do business and do the right thing.

Thanks for your support in making the world a better place!

Halloween Hobgoblins: Toxins in Your Personal Care Products

October has always been a time to look forward to falling leaves, crisp air, and the fun of Halloween. Yet this month, I have other scary things on my mind beyond witches and ghosts.

Extreme weather has brought Hurricane Matthew, which has battered and devastated people from Haiti to the United States. Closer to home, I continue to be concerned about the multitude of toxins in our environment, homes, and products. I am encouraged though by the initiatives that grassroots activism has pushed through.

A recent example is the new Chemical Safety law signed by President Obama in June of this year. In addition to correcting shortcomings in the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), one of its key goals is to foster greater “public transparency for chemical information.”

Ingredients to Avoid CardOn the Herbaliz website, we have a page devoted to Toxins to Avoid, a topic I feel strongly about. (We also offer a wallet card listing chemicals to steer clear of.) Some of these substances are better known culprits than others. Yet, too many still show up in allegedly “natural products.” Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, is most frequently used in soaps and shampoos. Ethanolamine compounds (DEA, MEA, TEA), when absorbed through the skin, accumulate in body organs and have been linked with an increased incidence of kidney and liver cancers.

That’s more frightening than a witch’s curse! When you see ghouls, vampires and Darth Vaders walking around on Halloween, you know they are the bad guys.

Unfortunately, there are individuals in the beauty and cosmetic industries – lurking in the shadows – who still implement the use of cruel experiments on animals to test their products. To fight this, three members of Congress (not wearing costumes!), Reps. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Don Beyer (D-VA), Joe Heck (R-NV) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), are backing The Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R. 2858) which “prohibits testing cosmetics on animals.”

Puppy with pumpkinsHerbaliz is sharing the Humane Society petition to encourage action in contacting local law makers on this bill. It’s easy: a phone call, an e-mail, and a shout out on Social Media will do the trick.

Happy Halloween!