Be Well Series - Harmful Chemicals - What do you have in your bathroom?

October 6, 2019

 

 

On one long weekend, I decided to reorganize my bathroom counter. As I was picking up bottles of lotion and cleansers and rearranging them on the shelf, I couldn’t help but notice the long names of the ingredients listed.  I recalled an article I came across a few months back about harmful chemicals used in household items. Back then I thought, it couldn’t be that bad, right? After all, if the ingredients are harmful, why would people buy them? The names of these ingredients were difficult to pronounce, let alone for me to remember. So I forgot about the article after a while.  This time, I was determined. I took pictures of the ingredients and looked them up.  And so the weekend research began.

 

 

Taking Inventory

I took inventory of 10 different bottles randomly from my bathroom counter I shared with my husband. Here is the breakdown: 2 bottles of body washes, 1 hair spray, 1 bottle of hand soap, 4 different kinds of lotion (not all of them belonged to me!), 1 men's facial cleanser, 1 shower gel.

 

Start Digging

I used Environmental Working Group’s skin deep database as the primary tool for my research (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep). They have a comprehensive product database, so I thought I could save some time by searching for the products for their hazard ratings. Unfortunately, only 2 out of 10 items showed up. So, I took down all the ingredients (except water) from the bottles and came up with a list. Then I sorted the list by the number of times it shows up in the items.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Results

From the 10 bottles, there are over 110 unique ingredients (excluding water). Out of these ingredients, 8 of them have an EWG “high concern rating” of 7 or higher (highlighted in light green below).  Oh wow, I am putting harmful chemicals willingly on my body every single day!