My body doesn’t do malls anymore. I know, this might be a confusing and somewhat comical statement, but it’s undoubtedly true. I walk in and am immediately taken aback by the wall of fragrance in front of me. When it’s not the perfume coming from almost every other stand in the middle of the mall, it’s fragrance from the major retail shops, preservatives, fresh car smell, and industrial cleaner. There’s one thing all of these smells have in common- they’re TOXIC. I’m not a big fan of malls anyways, honestly, but today I went in to stop at a kiosk to get my husbands phone screen, recently shattered, fixed. Time to step out of my little Naturopathic bubble for a second and do what I love most- share what I have learned over the years.
Fragrance contains phthalates, and it’s coming through your skin just from being in the environment. Think you’re good because you don’t apply it directly? Unfortunately this isn’t the case. It’s better of course, not to put the chemicals directly on your skin, but being air-bathed in them is not safe either. Our skin not only eliminates chemicals as we sweat, but it absorbs them as we go about our everyday lives. In many cases, though we often only think to cover our mouth and nose when we are exposed to airborne chemicals, many chemicals actually accumulate just as much or more through the skin than the lungs.
What are Phthalates?
Phthalates are chemicals that are found in fragrances, nail polish, deodorants, shampoos, adhesives, inks, pill coatings, and flexible plastics like PVC. They disrupt your normal hormone activity, including estrogen and testosterone.
Unfortunately, phthalates accumulate quickly in the body, mostly in fat, and are excreted slowly. They are toxic to the liver, kidney, lungs, brain, immune system, and nervous system.
It drives me crazy that these chemicals are used like they are, not just for the consumer, but for the hard-working men and women who are exposed to them every day at work.
What Can You Do?
· Avoid them as much as possible. Use a natural scent or none at all, natural deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, nail polish, and lotion. Avoid plastics, especially that are touching your food or drink. This means avoiding plastic containers to put your leftovers in, plastic water bottles, and packaged food that comes in plastic. Do your research- the Environmental Working Group has an application called SkinDeep, where you can put in your body care products and see what chemicals are in them, as well as a rating for how toxic they are.
· Detox Yearly, at least. Let’s get real. We live in a toxic world. When I test patients that are even the most conscious, they have chemicals in them. I recommend a detox at least 1 time per year, and more like 3 if possible. If you’re wondering how to detox these chemicals safely, that’s a good question for a Naturopathic Doctor. We specialize in detoxification.
· Urge members of your community to avoid using and selling toxic products. What sells depends on demand. If there is a demand, there will be a supply. The best way to decrease the chemicals in our environment is to stop using them and monetarily supporting them. Demand that your favorite brand carry clean products! If enough of us do this, then we will have something to work with!