Toxic Trinket or Toy?

My 4 year old was at a classmates party recently and received the cutest little bauble as a giveaway. A brightly coloured ball on a keychain. Cute, cute, cute. But reading the ingredients inside the fancy pink ball made this mom squirm.

The product called Twist and Pout is a lip balm with SPF.  The package itself listed the active ingredients which did include 7.5% octinoxate and 4.5% oxybenzone. Both are commonly used synthetic sunscreen ingredients with oxybenzone being THE most controversial sunscreen chemical of the bunch. With health concerns that include endocrine disruption, oxybenzone certainly deserves a controversial billing.

I continued to check on-line for the remainder of the ingredients.  The company’s website sadly, did not list the ingredients.  After searching other websites that sell the product, I found the rest of the ingredients.

The fancy pink ball also contained retinyl palmitate. I had read recently that Health Canada is looking to put a warning on sunscreen products containing retinyl palmitate. It is suspected that retinol or its derivative retinyl palmitate breaks down in sunlight potentially causing cellular level damage. Yikes! The ingredients were beginning to sound more and more dastardly and far from being a suitable child’s toy.

I read lots of reviews of the Twist and Pout product on line.  Many blogs touted its natural ingredients and one even made mention of the products all ‘organic’ ingredients.  Huh?? Nary a mention of the unsavoury very synthetic ingredients. People seemed to love the feel of the product on their lips and of course the packaging was a huge hit.  The do-gooder manufacturer even offers 5% of sales of ‘Pink Ribbon’ balls to Breast Cancer-based work. Are people choosing this product without focusing on what toxins are lurking inside?

It made me realize how ever-important it is to research your own products and ensure you are comfortable with the ingredients.  In this case, I definitely say ‘toxic trinket’ not suitable as a giveaway for wee kids.

The manufacturer of Twist and Pout has loads of opportunity to improve on their cute product. Take out the synthetics (including the fragrance of unknown origin) and more people ( including me) may be touting it’s complete and utter fabulousness.

Recently at my eldest daughter’s birthday party, I chose to giveaway Keeki Pure & Simple products and Clinical Luxury’s LipStuff. The kids loved them AND both lines contain only the most natural ingredients with not one suspected toxin. To me these nicely fit the bill for young girls who wanted to look and feel fancy without their parents having to worry about any associated risks.

***  I have never received compensation of ANY sort from any company whose product I gush about.  I like to think of myself as a cheerleader for companies making a difference by offering ALL NATURAL, safe products and simply love to write about them.

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Fragrance. The New ‘Second Hand Smoke’?

Growing up, I experienced my mother shunning all things fragranced.  There were no air fresheners, scented laundry products and most certainly no perfumed body products in our house.

Mom had asthma. She didn’t need anyone to tell her the correlation between fragrance and her difficulty breathing. Now, years later, I have read reports on the serious health concerns of fragrance and I know mom was onto something.

Synthetic fragrances are formulated by mixing cheap, unhealthy chemicals.  However, as fragrance is considered proprietary or a ‘trade secret’, manufacturers do not have to disclose what is in their formulation.  But it is well-documented now that these ‘secret’ chemicals are the cause of allergic effects such as asthma, headaches, wheezing, dermatitis AND some fragrance ingredients ie. phthalates are known hormone disruptors. Just take a look for yourself on-line to see reports such as Not So Sexy by Environmental Defence Canada for the whole scoop.

The issue is that people use these products everyday without hesitation. These nasty ingredients are in shampoos, creams and lotions, bath products, hand soaps, household cleaners, air fresheners, laundry products and even baby products! People trust the companies that make them to ensure they are safe.  However very few of the approximate 100,000  chemicals used in the Canadian marketplace have ever been tested to ensure safety.

What to do if you are not willing to take the risk of the ‘secret’ chemicals in your products. Number one: Become a label reader.  I am now one on behalf of my family and am happy for it. And I have found almost all conventional products are synthetically fragranced. Number two: Find products through trusted sources such as Environmental Defence Canada who make recommendations of safe cosmetics through their Just Beautiful campaign. Number three: Consider others in your choices.  You may not care what you put on your body or in the air but some may find exception to your affecting the air they breathe and the water they drink.

I recently heard someone say that the greatest chemical disaster of our time may not come from a major spill or catastrophe but from the chemicals we are putting on our bodies everyday.

Think about it.