Go Blue: Protect Our Waterways With Smart Ingredient Choices , 0 Comments

One way to “go green” this month is to “go blue” and help protect one of our Earth’s most precious resources: water. This month we will be reminded to avoid one-use plastic, check pipes for leaks, and turn off the water when we brush our teeth. But just as important as conserving water is being cognizant of what we wash down the drain. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that hazardous waste (think: paint, solvents, and pesticides) be disposed of properly, but as we mention often, there are many environmental and health concerns overlooked by the government. Here are two commonly used personal care ingredients that you can easily eliminate from our water cycle today:

Triclosan

A common ingredient in hand sanitizer and liquid hand soap, Triclosan has been linked to hormone disruption and brain damage. Studies have shown it to be present in breast milk, as well as 75% of human tissue samples, yet despite its widespread use, the chemical has not undergone the necessary safety testing to actually deem it safe.

Not only a threat to our personal health, it also poses a serious risk to our waterways since it is so frequently washed down the drain. When exposed to sunlight in an aqueous environment Triclosan is converted to dioxin and when combined with chlorine (found in tap water) it forms chloroform, a known human carcinogen.

The good news for us is that Triclosan is not a necessary ingredient. According to an advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration, Triclosan is no more effective in killing bacteria than plain soap and water. Until the United States follows the lead of Canada and European Union who are making moves to ban Triclosan, you can do your part to remove it from our water cycle by choosing Triclosan-free soaps like our Foaming Hand Soap.

Exfoliation Beads

Those tiny exfoliation beads found in hand soap and body wash are made of plastic, which poses a major threat to our waterways. It has been said that one bottle of facial cleanser could contain as many as 300,000 microbeads. After they are used to exfoliate the skin these are rinsed down the drain. While not a threat to our personal health, they are potentially dangerous to the wildlife making homes in our lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans. The chemical toxins in our waterways leach onto the microbeads, which, since they are plastic, float around forever. Since they resemble fish eggs, they are eaten by other fish, which allows dangerous toxins to enter into the food chain.

Currently legislation in New York aims to ban microbeads and several large manufacturers are making voluntary moves of their own to remove them from product formulations. The goods news is that you don’t need microbeads to exfoliate your skin. Ingredients like Alpha Hydroxy Acids and French Green Clay (which we use in our Fruit Acid Toner and Mud Mask, respectively) are natural exfoliators that are beneficial to skin without harming our environment.

Protecting our water is not limited to these two ingredients. The other chemical ingredients in your face wash, soap, and shampoo have the same potential of reaching our waterways and doing harm to the environment. The only difference is that the research hasn’t been done to determine just how devastating their impact can be. This is why we urge you to use products (this includes cleaning products, too!) formulated with organic ingredients. Using organic ingredients insures that only good ingredients, grown without pesticides, are being introduced into our environment. It is up to us to self-police our products and improve the health of our aquatic eco-systems.