We live in a consumeristic culture that encourages us to buy numerous products we don’t need, many of which are filled with dangerous chemicals. We are constantly exposed to toxins because they’re hidden in our food, body products, “medicine,” household items, and even the air we breathe.
Many of these products have misleading labels that read “naturally inspired,” “safe for children,” and “made with organic or natural ingredients.” Many of these things are also recommended by doctors, other authoritative figures and government organizations, so people mistakenly assume that they’re safe for usage. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry maintains that children are often more susceptible to environmental hazards and recommends pregnant women and children take precautions to avoid exposure to toxins and chemicals. Numerous chemicals can be detrimental for brain development, particularly in regards to children, yet they are still approved and used to formulate many consumer products.
The following items are hazardous to the body and should be avoided as much as possible. Not only do these products pose a threat to your health, but they may pose a greater threat to children’s health as well!
Dental Amalgam Fillings
Commonly referred to as “silver fillings” in the North American dental industry, these fillings are made primarily of mercury, silver, copper, and tin. The mercury passes through cell membranes, across your blood-brain barrier and directly into your central nervous system, which can cause serious psychological, neurological, and immunological issues. Metal fillings pose a grave threat to children in particular because their brain’s are still developing. Many European countries have banned the use of these fillings and Canada has issued warnings discouraging these fillings for pregnant women and children. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA) still haven’t addressed this issue sufficiently (source). Check out this Dr. Mercola article regarding alternatives to mercury fillings and the many countries that use them.
Thanks to Big Pharma paying off doctors and releasing false advertisements, ADHD over-diagnosis has become a significant issue in the US (read our article about it here). Even though many drug advertisements state that ADHD medication is “safer than aspirin,” these drugs can have significant side effects and are actually considered to be within the same class as morphine and oxycodone due to high risk of abuse and addiction. Instead of simply handing a child a prescription, many countries such as France use alternative treatment methods such as behavioral therapy, family counseling, and all-natural remedies (read our article about that here).
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Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
A common food additive known for its ability to enhance flavors, MSG is less well-known for being an excitotoxin. In other words, MSG can overexcite your cells to the point of damage or death and has been linked to brain damage, learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more (source). The FDA recognizes the dangers of consuming MSG and has warned the public that it can cause neurological damage and Alzheimer’s disease.
Processed Foods & Meats
Fast food is often processed, fried, homogenized, hydrogenated, and filled with chemicals and additives. Conventional milk is often processed and contains tons of puss, blood, antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals. Milk is also usually homogenized in North America, which can be dangerous for our heart health. Processed meats have been directly linked to cancer, as the WHO classified them as “carcinogenic to humans.” An easy way to avoid processed foods is to purchase only organic products, read labels, and/or pursue a vegetarian or vegan diet, which has been proven to prevent and treat heart disease, cancer, and many other health-related issues.
Toxins in Personal Care Products
It can be difficult to recognize most of the ingredients listed in many of our personal hygiene products. For example, hairspray and nail polish usually contain phthalate, which is linked to shortened attention span and impaired social interactions in children. Toothpaste often contains fluoride (a neurotoxin) and shampoos and other children’s body products may contain Sodium Laureth Sulfate (harsh chemical and allergy trigger), 1,4-dioxane (known animal carcinogen), Formaldehyde (neurotoxin and developmental toxin), and perhaps the worst of them all, Fragrance/Parfum, which is a potential mixture of 3,000+ harsh chemicals that aren’t legally required to be disclosed. To avoid these chemicals, check out this list of Dr. Bronner’s children’s body products or any other all-natural, organic alternative.
The regulation process for these personal care products is next to nothing. Companies can basically put anything they want inside of their product without the appropriate safety testing.
Toxins in Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergents often contain phosphorus, enzymes, ammonia, naphthalene, phenol, and sodium nitilotriacetate, all of which can cause rashes, itchiness, dryness and sinus problems. These chemicals are easily absorbed through your skin from your clothes and bed sheets. In addition, many conventional detergents contain artificial scents and “Fragrance,” which is a code name for a sweet cocktail of hazardous chemicals. My favorite all-natural detergent is doTERRA’s On Guard Laundry Detergent, which is advertised towards families.
Toxic Cleaning Products & Air Fresheners
Most families have an entire shelf filled with toxic cleaners because corporations convince consumers they need different products to clean specific surfaces. Even though most of these products have toxic warning signs on them that clearly state they’re poisonous and/or corrosive, people continue to buy into this corporate propaganda. Not only are they breathing in these fumes while cleaning, but so are any of their household visitors and/or children. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, some of the common chemicals found in household cleaning products include 2-BE (causes reproductive problems), ammonia (associated with kidney and live damage), coal tar dyes (causes cancer and harms nervous system), and the infamous “Fragrance.” Air fresheners usually contain Fragrance as well, which can easily be replaced with some essential oils and water. For an all-natural, all-purpose household cleaner, check out Dr. Bronner’s.
Pesticides can be found everywhere now: in our homes, the environment, and the food and beverages we consume. Monsanto’s RoundUp is most commonly used and the main active ingredient in it is glyphosate, which is a known carcinogen and can actually suffocate human cells (read more about this here). The best way to avoid pesticides is to buy everything organic: from the food you eat to what you wear on you and your children wear on your bodies. Glyphosate is especially threatening to children’s health as it’s known to cause autism and seizures.
Sodas have a high amount of phosphoric acid, which is linked to hypocalcemia in children. Soda consumption can cause cancer, obesity, diabetes, and early onset of puberty in young girls according to a Harvard University study (you can read more about that in our article here). Sodas often contain different types of artificial sweeteners, sugars, aspartame, and other harmful ingredients. If you’re looking for an all-natural alternative for yourself or your child, try Zevia or kombucha.
Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda can be found in many consumer food items and are linked to cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes. Artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and cause metabolism dysfunctions. Researchers at Yale University discovered that there is a positive correlation between children consuming artificial sweeteners and obesity. If you’re looking for more alternatives to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners (such as coconut sugar and dates), check out our article here.
Plastic Food Containers & Bottles
In a German study, researchers discovered that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) were present in bottled water products from 18 different popular brands. EDCs can interfere with our hormone systems, causing cancerous tumours, birth defects, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic disorders and other developmental disorders. Other frequent ingredients in plastic food containers and bottles include bisphenol-A (BPA) and bisphenol-S (BPS), both of which can hinder brain development, and phthalates. Use glass containers or mason jars instead!
Gummy vitamins are marketed as an easy way for parents to ensure their children are getting the vitamins they need. However, most parents are completely unaware of the harmful ingredients hidden in the “vitamins,” which are anything but nutritional for children. For example, the Flintstones vitamin, one of the top-selling multivitamins in the United States, contains numerous genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), sugar, aspartame, aluminum, petroleum-derived artificial colours, and other questionable ingredients. You can view the entire list of ingredients here. If you’re looking for an all-natural multivitamin for kids, check out Rainbow Light’s here. Read our article about the dangers behind children’s vitamins here.
Many baby powders are talc-based, meaning that they contain high amounts of talcum powder. According to the American Cancer Society, talc in it’s natural form, which contains asbestos, can cause cancer. One of the most popular baby powders used produced by Johnson and Johnson is talc-based. The company has been sued many times and has paid millions of dollars to those who claimed their baby powder caused their cancer. The most recent case against Johnson & Johnson involved a California woman who was awarded more than $70 million in her lawsuit against the company, as she claimed their baby powder caused her ovarian cancer. Johnson & Johnson, like many other companies, fail to disclose the dangers of using their products. Although there are many all-natural alternatives available, here’s a link to a DIY Natural recipe for baby powder.
Fluoride can commonly be found in drinking water all over the world, despite the fact that it is a known neurotoxin. Harvard University found links between fluoridated water and ADHD and mental disorders. The fluoride added to our water isn’t even the natural element, it’s hydrofluorosilicic acid, which is a toxic waste substance created from the production of aluminum, fertilizer, steel and nuclear industries (read more about that here). Arsenic, another common chemical found in drinking water, has been linked to reduced cognitive function in children (source). Stick to natural spring water or purchase a water filter!
Children’s toys often contain harmful ingredients including toxic flame retardants and formaldehyde, which has been linked to cancer. Some of the more well-known companies that use toxic flame retardants in their products include Michael’s (in bedding and doll furniture), Target (in toy vehicles), and MGA Little Tikes (in outdoor play equipment). Formaldehyde has been found in some of the toys at Build-A-Bear (source). If you’re looking for better toys for your kids, look for ones that aren’t made out of plastic or check out these tips from Toxic Free Future!
Even if you don’t have a child, this list still clearly pertains to you. Both the Earth and our bodies represent our homes, we should treat them with care by avoiding the use of chemicals and toxins. We should strive to make the world a better place for future generations, regardless of if we’re parents or not. By avoiding toxins and other harsh chemicals, you can help create positive change on this planet!