Toxic Ingredients in Products
Guest Post by Morgan Statt, Safety Investigator at ConsumerSafety.org
I’m the first one to admit that when I was younger, I only considered two factors before purchasing any product. I made sure I was familiar with the brand name and that I was paying a reasonable price. Looking at the ingredient lists of a product label never crossed my mind. I assumed that items on the market were relatively safe for me to use.
A few years later and armed with extensive personal research in the subject matter, I realized that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reality of consumer products today is that toxic ingredients sneak in despite current regulations in place. The best way to protect ourselves is to read. It’s time we educate ourselves on the ingredients we need to lead healthy lives and the toxic ingredients we should try our best to avoid.
Watch for these three toxic ingredients
Start your education by watching out for these 3 toxic ingredients in your products and go with toxin-free options instead.
Talc in Baby Powder
For decades, women have been using baby powder as a hygiene product for themselves and their children since it serves as an antiperspirant and rash prevention. The product may sound harmless, but the problem arises with its main ingredient: talcum powder. Since the 1970s, studies have connected ovarian cancer to the ingredient; scientists discovered talc particles in many of the ovarian tumors they investigated. A theory surrounding the discovery of the particles is talc from baby powder can make its way into the ovaries through the vagina and cause inflammation and eventual tumors.
More recently, the link between talc and ovarian cancer made headlines after multiple juries sided with women who claimed their cancer was caused by Johnson & Johnson’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower-to-Shower products. Seven high-profile cases have raised the level of concern among consumers to double-check the hygiene products that they buy.
If you’ve been regularly using talc-based baby powder, don’t panic. Simply make the switch to a talc-free option like this one or consider using natural ingredients like baking soda or arrowroot powder as a replacement.
Teflon on Non-Stick Pans
If you’ve ever cooked a meal on the stove, you’ve likely heard of the brand name Teflon. This non-stick coating on pans was invented by accident in 1938 by Roy J. Plunkett while working at a DuPont company laboratory. The coating since proved to be extremely convenient for those in the kitchen; it made both cooking and clean-up a breeze.
But, there was one catch to the spray that revolutionized the culinary industry. Teflon is created using the chemicals poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). When these chemicals heat up along with the pan on the stove, toxins can be released that scientists from over 40 countries have confirmed to be carcinogenic. In as little as 2-5 minutes of heat on the stove, you could be at risk of inhaling the toxins. These toxins cause kidney and testicular cancers as well as thyroid disease.
Thankfully the Teflon brand name is no longer used today. But the non-stick cooking pans in your nearest cookware aisle may still contain the carcinogenic chemicals. The next time you’re looking to upgrade your pots and pans, consider switching to cast iron. Also just double-check the product labels when you’re shopping to make sure the coating of the product is PFAS-free. If you believe you own pans coating in the toxic spray, be vigilant in your efforts to not scratch the pan and keep the heat to under 500F.
Check your laundry room
A Whole Slew of Toxic Chemicals in Dryer Sheets
Have you ever put an item of clothing on immediately after the dryer timer goes off? In addition to the warmth of the dryer heat, that softness you feel is likely because of a dryer sheet. These sheets have a layer of lubricant that helps to reduce static cling and give your clothes that pleasant feeling.
But, this dryer sheet that you’ve probably never given a second thought to can actually contain harmful toxic ingredients. These toxic ingredients include benzyl acetate, ethanol, and even chloroform. These toxins have been linked to cancer and central nervous system disorders that when released into the air by the dryer heat, can pose a respiratory health risk for you and your family.
Thankfully, companies have realized the potentially harmful impact of these dryer sheets. Companies have started to make safer and more eco-friendly options. Again, read the package. Don’t buy it if it contains the toxins mentioned.
If you’re still a little wary of store-bought sheets, a simple DIY option is the combination of wool dryer balls and essential oils. Just add a few drops of your favorite scent to the wool and toss in with your clothes.