We all have a bathroom routine. Whether you think about it or not, there are some things that just happen naturally – from brushing your teeth to wiping your bum. So it's easy to take the products you use for granted and forget to consider what's really touching your skin. If you want to live a more sustainable lifestyle, it's time to take a look.
The products you regularly use in the bathroom can contain harmful chemicals that have a negative impact on your health. Luckily, there are safer alternatives that will help you live a healthier, more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Here's what you need to know about those products lingering around your home – and which healthier options you can trust.
The Scary Truth About Household Products
While most people recognize the dangers around household cleaning products, personal products are often assumed to be safe. However, the scary truth is that many mass-produced personal hygiene products can cause serious harm to those who use them.
According to the American Lung Association (ALA), soaps and grooming products can include chemicals that may be harmful to your health. Even some products that are advertised as green or natural can cause serious health problems.
These products are harmful to adults who use them correctly, but in the hands of children who don't know the dangers, they can be extremely hazardous.
Research by Safe Kids Worldwide indicates that "the leading causes of non-medication exposure calls to poison control centers for children ages 5 and under" are household cleaning substances, exposure to cosmetics (yikes!), and personal care products (double yikes!).
Hazardous Everyday Products & Healthy Alternatives
There are certain products most people use every day that are rarely given a second glance. Products like toothpaste, deodorant, sunscreen, and bathroom tissue adorn nearly every bathroom in America.
However, many of these commonplace personal care products come with some serious health concerns.
If you're a diligent homeowner, you probably have a semi-regular routine of cleaning your bathroom – including the toilet seat. However, some antibacterial cleaners can be harmful to your skin, eyes, and throat when used improperly.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, most antibacterial cleaners contain pesticides such as quaternary ammonium or phenolic chemicals that are known to cause irritation.
Looking for a healthier alternative? Use citrus to clean bathrooms. The U.S. News and World Report recommends drying out orange peels, soaking them in rubbing alcohol, and straining them through a loose-woven cloth and letting the liquid sit for a week to create a safe, effective cleaning solution.
The fact that toilet paper often contains a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) is among the many little known facts about toilet paper. Research from the Mayo Clinic indicates that the chemical can cause problems with the brain, increase blood pressure, and harm children's health, in particular.
Unfortunately for those who strive to minimize their carbon footprint, recycled toilet paper typically features the most BPA when compared to other types of toilet paper.
To avoid BPA, use toilet paper without added chemicals. Reel Paper's bamboo toilet paper contains no BPA, inks, or dyes so you don't have to worry about the effect your TP has on your health (because who has time to worry about that?!).
Another harmful chemical called cocamide diethanolamine (or cocamide DEA) often crops up in shampoos and other foamy bathroom products. The Center for Environmental Health found that almost 100 shampoos, soaps, and bubble bath products on store shelves contained the cancer-causing chemical.
Always check the ingredients on your shampoo. While many shampoos contain harmful chemicals like cocamide DEA, other easy-to-find shampoos in your store proudly avoid those chemicals. When in doubt, use an organic shampoo that best fits your sustainable lifestyle.
Yet another chemical known as triclosan can be found in many bathroom products, including antibacterial soap. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the stuff alters the way hormones work in the body in unhealthy ways.
Use regular soap and water instead. Plain soaps that aren't labeled "antibacterial" don't contain harmful triclosan and still do a great job at getting you squeaky clean. Using more traditional soap with water to wash your hands is still one of the best ways to fight germs, says the FDA.
Sustainable Lifestyle = Healthy Lifestyle
Learning about the effects the chemicals our commonplace bathroom products have on us is alarming. However, by using other everyday items in your household or taking care to find products without these chemicals, we can keep ourselves and our bathrooms clean without hurting our health.
What clean alternatives do you use for common household products? Tell us about your tips and tricks in the comments below.
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