As improbable as it might sound, your moisturizer and the laundry detergent are contributing as much to polluting our environment as do vehicular exhaust and tannery effluents!
Perhaps not on the same scale but cosmetics and household cleaning supplies do have a definite impact. We don’t usually consider them as pollutants but they are surreptitiously and steadily harming our water and air. We are better informed of their impact on our personal health but they pose a greater danger to our environment – during the course of their manufacture, in their use and in their disposal.
Beauty Products and the Beastly Truths
Personal care products like body lotions, shampoos, soap, and other cosmetics are laden with harmful chemicals. Formaldehyde, a carcinogen, is found in baby shampoos, traces of lead are present in lipsticks, and phthalates and parabens are found in several deodorants, nail polishes, skin creams and soaps. These chemicals can cause diseases and disrupt our reproductive and respiratory systems. For a complete list of toxic chemicals used in cosmetics, visit <Link to ingredients>
But how do cosmetics affect the environment? It is because cosmetics and petroleum are intrinsically linked. The basic ingredients in many cosmetics are petroleum and mineral oil that have their origins in fossil fuels. Facial foundations, cleansers and moisturizers contain mineral oil. Fragrances in lotions, creams, perfumes, and shampoos are made of aromatic hydrocarbons. The chemical additive propylene glycol that locks in moisture in cosmetics is also a petroleum compound. Isopropyl alcohol, another derivative, is an antiseptic found in toners and cleansers. Aerosol deodorants diffuse chemicals into atmosphere. So, we are using fossil fuels in several ways and contributing to degradation of our environment, albeit inadvertently!
Packaging and Disposal of Personal Care Products
Just look at the plethora of tubs, bottles, and tubes of various shapes and sizes that populate your dressing table. They are made of strong material so that they don’t degrade by the very product they are holding. When empty, these containers are discarded. They pile up in landfills and can take several hundred years to break down. Always opt to buy cosmetics that are made with natural ingredients and packaged with bio degradable material.
Coming Clean with Hazards of Cleaning Supplies
Household cleaners that are used to degrease, sanitize, wash clothes, bleach, and clean windows and surfaces are also polluting agents. They are responsible for smog, are dangerous to children, and affect the quality of drinking water. Nitrogen, ammonia, and phosphorus are called the ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’ and are very dangerous. Even after waste treatment they still pose a potential health threat when they merge with waterways.
Occupational Hazards for Workers
Not all toxins are listed on the label that lists the ingredients used. Some formulations are kept secret as they are considered ‘industry trade secrets’. This prevents the consumers from making well-informed decisions. But more crucially, the workers in the manufacturing plant are also kept in the dark about the toxicity of the ingredients! Regular exposure to such a toxic environment can pose a huge threat to the health of these workers.
Be the Change
You know petroleum is a non-renewable resource of energy with only a finite supply. It is an established fact that many cosmetics and domestic cleaning agents contain harmful chemicals and neurotoxins that have serious consequences, not only on your health but also on the environment. As responsible global citizens, it is time we consciously stop patronizing products that affect our wellness and wellbeing.
What better time than a New Year to start afresh and go the pure and natural way! This year, resolve to remove all toxic products from your life. Replace them with natural and non-toxic products. and resolve to stop supporting companies that put their workers at risk, by making them handle highly concentrated toxic ingredients during manufacture. Just Go-Nayked!