Archive for November, 2010

Products Intended to Improve Our Lives Leave our Bodies Filled with Toxins

November 24th, 2010

Most of us have grown up believing that government agencies are there to protect consumers against dangerous products, but the reality is that many of the ingredients in consumer products undergo little scrutiny by federal or state agencies. In recent years, study after study proves that often ingredients in everyday household products, and even personal care items, are causing everything from cancer to learning deficits.

A 2006 investigative study by the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition in Washington State revealed toxic chemicals have traveled to one place we do not want them – inside our bodies. Today, the battle for removing these toxins has delivered a host of detox products including organic deodorant that helps free bodies of unwanted accumulation of debris.

From non-stick pans, to plastic bottles, to underarm deodorant — many of the consumer products designed to make our homes and ourselves look the best, are actually hurting us. These chemicals range from pesticides like DDT, banned more than thirty years ago but still polluting our soil, to the flame-retarding PCBs and PBDEs building up in salmon and whales along with children and adults.

When Washington residents agreed to the testing of their blood, urine and hair, for the presence of toxic chemicals, the Coalition sought to find out which chemicals were getting into our bodies, and at what levels, to better understand the potential harm posed by poor regulation of chemicals. Their ultimate goal was to encourage companies to develop better solutions such as organic deodorant, food products, and chemical-free cleaning products.

The residents were tested for six groups of chemicals including: the heavy metals arsenic, lead, and mercury; perfluorinated chemicals such as those used to make Teflon; pesticides; and the chemicals PCBs, DDT phthalates, and PBDEs.

The alarming findings revealed toxic chemicals from consumer products and industrial pollution contaminated the majority of those tested; meaning the chemicals found in their bodies could threaten their health. According to this study and many others since, the levels of toxic chemicals in our bodies are high enough to cause serious health concerns about fertility, and learning deficits — not to mention cancer and many other diseases of aging.

Every person tested had at least 26 and as many as 39 of the toxic chemicals in his or her body.  All were contaminated with phthalates used in everything from cosmetics to toys and tools.  The same is true for perfluorinated chemicals, used to make Teflon and stain protection treatments for paper and textiles. Every participant had PCBs in his or her blood, despite a decades-old ban on the chemicals. PCBs from everyday exposures have been shown to cause learning deficits.

This contamination and pollution comes from everyday activities and products.  From the pots we use to cook and household dust to personal care items, consumer electronics, stain-resistant furniture and all manner of flame retardant products, toxic chemicals are leaching into our homes and also into our bodies.

Many of the chemicals do not break down, or do so slowly, and bio-accumulate in breast milk and human bodies. The Washington study and others show that the toxic chemicals in our bodies are cause for concern because they can lead to health problems such as infertility and learning deficits. Exposure at critical points of a child’s development can cause permanent damage.

Most chemicals are virtually unregulated, because federal law does not require testing for harmful effects before chemicals are allowed for use in products or manufacturing. Once chemicals are in use, it is extremely difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict them.

The law does require pesticide testing, but at the same time it permits the ongoing use of pesticides that can cause cancer, nervous system harm, and other health problems. At the state level, Washington lacks the legal and regulatory structure needed to prevent harmful chemicals from turning up in consumer products, air, water, and people.

Since this 2006 study, Washington State has been a leader in phasing out some dangerous chemicals such as mercury, taking immediate steps to protect the health of its residents by developing a common-sense chemicals policy that ensures only the safest chemicals are used in consumer products, manufacturing, and food production.

As a result of studies like this, consumer demand and mounting scientific evidence, dangerous chemicals such as mercury are being phased out and these hazardous chemicals are being replaced with safer substances and practices.    The health care community has taken small, but at least some strides to reduce its use of mercury and phthalates, and food companies from Kashi to Cascadian Farms are marketing organic alternatives. Personal care companies like Herbalix Restoratives™ are producing organic non-aluminum deodorant that is actually helping people detox the chemicals stored in their bodies.

The Washington State Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition study proved that we need a new comprehensive approach in this country to protect people’s health from toxic chemicals in all areas of their lives.

Do You Know if Natural Deodorants are Really Natural?

November 22nd, 2010

You have probably heard the descriptions; organic, natural, naturally fresh, natural crystal and aluminum-free deodorant.  It is important not to take these descriptions for granted.    It turns out that you have to look rather closely to get the real story. Why? Because most  antiperspirants and many deodorants contain ingredients such as aluminum compounds, synthetic fragrances, parabens and propylene glycol.   So the best advice is not to buy an antiperspirant at all.

In reality, the basis of how antiperspirants work is not natural.  Their action is to block or clog the pores under your arms that release sweat which is why they are considered a drug. Using aluminum compounds as active ingredients, they also block the body’s ability to release toxins. What’s more, scientists are not yet sure of where many of these toxins and heavy metals go, after they enter your body.  Science has now shown that the aluminum salts that enter under the arms may accumulate in and around the breast. And, shaved armpits have been seen to absorb an even higher rate of aluminum.

A 2006 study found that aluminum salts can mimic the hormone called estrogen, and chemicals that imitate that hormone are known to increase breast cancer risk. Dr. Christopher Exley, one of the foremost authorities on aluminum and its impact on the human body, led a team that measured the amount of aluminum content in breast cancer patients.

According to the report from a study published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, “We have confirmed the presence of aluminum in breast tissue and its possible regional distribution within the breast. Higher content of aluminum in the outer breast might be explained by this region’s closer proximity to the underarm where the highest density of application of antiperspirant could be assumed. There is evidence that skin is permeable to aluminum when applied as antiperspirant.”

What many people do not understand is that deodorants work differently than antiperspirants — they don’t actually prevent sweat.  Effective deodorants works by neutralizing the smell of sweat via eradicating the bacteria.  Even deodorants that tout themselves as organic, natural or aluminum-free deodorants may have ingredients that include propylene glycol, alcohol, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and synthetic fragrances, which can irritate the sensitive skin of the underarm.  Even worse, commercial deodorants may contain triclosan known to have toxic physiological effects.  What’s worse, they are also one of the top ten persistent contaminants in our waterways.

Many people are also confused about whether the natural crystal or crystal rock deodorants are truly natural.  The truth is that they may come from either natural sources or from a laboratory. For instance, Potassium alum and Ammonium alum (the common active ingredients) are natural – but so is arsenic, which is a poison.

The confusion continues when you read that Potassium alum or Ammonium alum are somehow not aluminum. They are both salts of Aluminium sulphate – basic chemistry. It is also said that the molecule is too big to penetrate the skin.  Sweat does break the compound down and it dissociates. The aluminum then frees from the potassium and acts with the same characteristics as aluminum and the potassium acts as normal potassium. Dr. Exley confirms,  “Like all Al salts, they dissolve to give Al3+, they may be less soluble than some other Al salts, such as Aluminum chloride, and this is why they are less effective deodorants.” Dr. Exley.

When these alums dissolve they form their constituent parts as was indicated above. The Al3+(aq) could reprecipitate, for example in sweat ducts, as Aluminium hydroxide. The form in which the Al is absorbed and enters the bloodstream is not known.”

There is an aluminum-free deodorant  solution to help detoxify the aluminum and other metal ions from under your armpit and keep your underarms free from odor without sacrificing a natural deodorant approach.  Herbalix Restoratives™ Detox Deodorant will do both. You apply it at night and it cleans and deodorizes while you sleep!  The company manufactures Detox Deodorant, in their eco-sustainable manufacturing plant on the beautiful Puget Sound in Port Ludlow, WA. This first of its kind underarm cleanser is complimented by Daytime Deodorants that are aluminum-free with ingredients such as beeswax, coconut oil and essential oils.

According to Herbalix Founder Mike Fessler, “Detox Deodorant™ is aluminum-free and formulated to attract, absorb and cleanse bacterium and metal ions from the underarms. It contains a special formulation of organic ingredients that includes, kelp, coriander and olive leaf along with our Herbalix Restoratives Botanical and Sea Vegetable Blend.  This proprietary blend works as a very effective organic preservative and produces an amazing synergy with the other components of the formula.”  It comes in a regular deodorant stick and you apply it at night so it cleans and deodorizes while you sleep!

The company privately funded a clinical study which indicated that aluminum was storing in the axilla commonly called the underarm.  Test results showed the ability of Cleansing Detox Deodorant’s key anti-oxidant and botanical ingredients to attract, remove and counterbalance the accumulation of aluminum in the underarm.

Aluminium salts have long been associated with cancer, as well as other human diseases. There are over 2000 references in the National Library of Medicine on adverse effects of aluminum.

We now know that aluminum bio-accumulates and the body has no positive use for alums, yet it is ubiquitous and we often don’t have a choice. Whether speaking of aluminum or other questionable ingredients in deodorants, when we can make that choice it is best to just say no and choose an aluminum-free deodorant instead.