This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
With so many different types of products available, it’s hard to know what to avoid. Start with this list of five very common products that may be putting your health at risk.
Natural, organic options are available for almost every type of product, and although they might be a bit harder to find or slightly more costly, protecting yourself is well worth the effort.
Deodorants or antiperspirants have generated a lot of buzz lately, with attention being paid to a potential association between the aluminum they contain and cancer, particularly breast cancer. Research is ongoing, but some studies have suggested that the aluminum (or perhaps another inactive ingredient) may increase the risk of a host of diseases, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, kidney disease and even Alzheimer’s disease. So while more research is needed to clarify these potential dangers, it may be wise to protect yourself by choosing aluminum-free deodorant, especially if you are already at risk for any of these conditions.
Millions of people use makeup every day worldwide, but long-term exposure to cadmium, a heavy metal present in many different types of makeup, may increase a person’s risk of cancer. Recent research has suggested that cadmium may cause cancer cells, and breast cancer cells in particular, to become more aggressive and spread faster. When cells are repeatedly exposed to cadmium they tend to display higher levels of SDF-1, which is a protein that has been linked to tumors and cancer progression. As with deodorants, avoiding makeup that contains cadmium represents a way to protect yourself against unnecessary exposure.
Many types of moisturizers (and similarly-designed products such as soap, hair spray and nail polish) contain dangerous chemicals called phthalates, which may increase the risk of a number of diseases with prolonged exposure. When phthalates are absorbed through the skin over a long period of time, they may increase the risk of developing diabetes, among other conditions. The body of evidence supporting this elevated risk has become far too great to ignore, but choosing organically manufactured products offers a way to avoid these chemicals.
Air fresheners are often highly toxic and have been shown to aggravate respiratory problems such as asthma. Although some air fresheners may be labeled “natural” or “pure,” they typically contain the aforementioned phthalates. Aside from the already cited link to diabetes, these chemicals have been associated with hormonal abnormalities, as well as reproductive problems and birth defects. Rather than risk exposure to the dangerous chemicals in air fresheners, choose a natural solution such as cinnamon, cloves and other spices or essential oils.
With so many different types of cleaning products on the market, and so many different chemicals existing at varying levels in these products, it’s very hard to predict what long-term effect they could have on the body. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are particularly troubling in these products and can lead to a number of health issues, including a variety of cancers, and may negatively affect the development of children’s nervous systems and cognitive functioning. Luckily, organic multi-purpose cleaners are available.