“I’ve been working to protect consumers from harmful products for almost 20 years now, but what I’ve discovered about these cleaners still shocks me. I hope you’ll take some time to learn the truth about the products you use so you can continue to keep your family safe.” ~Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group
For a few years now the phrase “going green” has been used to entice the growing market for only “natural” eco-safe products. The term is now used so broadly that we have to do our due diligence in order to not be taken in by the faux greening of America.
Suddenly seen in the market place now are “green” products from all the big corporations. They obviously decided they needed to get their oversized piece of the action as usual. Because more people are becoming conscientious of a more natural approach in what they use in the way of home, personal and yard care products, it has been rather easy for the big name brands to sneak in and of course deceive the general public. After all convenience is still the name of the game for the majority of people, and known brand names still appeal to people who grew up trusting certain brands just by name alone.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides examples of pseudo “green” products on their website.
Most of these products are labeled non-toxic and biodegradable. The EWG calls this “greenwashing” – a way to get a piece of the action in the movement towards more natural, wholesome lifestyles; in other words, just another marketing tactic that has no foundation in truth.
Some of the companies don’t state their products are “green” but they do put them in green bottles, with green labels and designs that are associated with nature. It’s all just marketing designed to adjust your mind to accept the product as “natural”.
Additionally, they will even use the word “natural” in describing their product. The word “natural” is as overused and misinterpreted as “holistic”and “organic”. Just because something is natural or organic does not mean that it is non-toxic. The word “holistic” is a philosophy pertaining to mind, body and spirit wholism so applying this word to products doesn’t make much sense. Many “natural and organic” substances are toxic, case in point is arsenic – which is a naturally occurring organic substance.
All of this is to give the consumer the illusion of their products being safe to use around your children, pets, and in your home. Companies do this because they can, as the guidelines they are allowed to use are once again in their favor not the consumer’s. The only stringent laws we see being enforced are against those who offer TRUE green, natural, wholesome goods and products.
You will discover that it is pretty much a given that these big corporately owned products are going to be very toxic, synthetic, unsafe over the long-term, and in many cases disrupt hormones in you, your family and pets. The only thing “green” about them is the artificial coloring of the product itself and/or its packaging!
In fact many of the products can produce allergy and asthma-like symptoms if you are exposed to them for any duration due to the very toxic ingredients and nature of the products masquerading as “green”.
Warning labels on containers of household, yard, and even personal care products refer ONLY to toxins that are hazardous from ingestion, however only 10% of health problems from chemicals are caused by ingestion. Ninety percent of the health problems are caused by the inhalation of vapors and absorption of particles. This would include perfume and off-gassing from personal care, household, and yard products which negatively effect us and our pets.
This YouTube video names the top ten toxins to avoid and replace – your health depends upon it!
Some of the most toxic products used in the home today but not limited to include:
Nail polish remover
Hair styling gel and mousse
(Source: Healthy Homes in a Toxic World)
Out of 1,435 pesticide poisonings in a one year period, over 40 % were due to exposure to disinfectants and similar cleaning products in the home. Women who work in the home have a 54% higher death rate from cancer than women who work outside of the home. The incidence of increased asthma and allergies, particularly in women who work from home or are stay-at-home moms has increased alarmingly. Additionally food allergies and asthma are also due to so many of these toxic ingredients being added to food (artificial flavorings, MSG also called “natural” flavoring, corn syrup, etc.). These same ingredients are also in all commercial pet foods and most pet treats. (Sources: State of California Study, 17 year EPA study)
When you consider that our pets are sleeping on the floors we clean with these toxic products, breathing the indoor air that is laden with the off-gassing of these toxic cleaning, personal care products, and “air fresheners” it’s no wonder that they are presenting with similar illnesses such as allergies, asthma, thyroid imbalance, and cancer.
While the exposure to indoor pets has not yet been completely evaluated, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is keeping tabs on the rising incidence in pets. In a 2008 report by this group they stated the following:
“Dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people, according to our study of plastics and food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals in pooled samples of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 37 cats collected at a Virginia veterinary clinic…This study is the most comprehensive investigation of the chemical body burden of companion animals conducted to date, with 23 chemicals reported in pets for the first time. The results reinforce findings from prior studies showing that pets’ unique behaviors may place them at risk for elevated exposures and health risks from chemicals pollutants in the home and outdoors, in air, water, food, soil, and consumer products for people and pets. ” http://www.ewg.org/reports/pets
You will need to become a label detective in this day and age if you, your family and your pets are to be well. Here are samplings of ingredients we make certain are never in our own product choices:
*Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – found in most hair care, deodorants, toothpastes, pet grooming products, etc.
*Propylene glycol – (1% different than anti-freeze) is found not only in all of the above products, but also in many food products such as ice cream, used as a softener. It is certainly not something anyone or anything should be ingesting through the mouth or their skin. Remember skin is the largest organ and absorbs into the body (both human and animal) approximately 60% or greater of what is applied to it.
*Aluminum chlorhydrate – Aluminum is linked to severe motor neuron, muscle and brain damage, to Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the elderly as well as to Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the young and to vaccine-linked cancers in pets. Aluminum in any of its many forms ought to not be in any of these products but it is commonly found in deodorants.
One of the most commonly used household products happens to also be one of the most toxic: bleach. It is one of the most recommended for burns as well as disinfecting kennels, homes, etc. This product is a form of chlorine and was also used as a form of weaponry during wartime. Many dog owners believe this to be the only product that will kill parvo in their kennels, veterinary clinics, or grooming salons. However, as we tell our clients, there is always a natural alternative that is far more effective without the toxic side effects – something we’ll discuss in Part Two of this two-part series.
Another reason these toxic ingredients are created is because they can mimic the smell and use of natural ingredients such as lemon and pine essential oils. When used in their natural state, the essential oils of pine and lemon are efficacious, safe and simply smell good – smell plays a huge role in our overall well-being by the way. However, using natural ingredients such as truly therapeutic grade essential oils is cost prohibitive to the greedy bottom line of these companies. In addition, nature’s ingredients are as individual as we are so no two batches of an herb, natural occurring therapeutic essential oil, etc., will ever be identical – that’s how nature maintains a proper, healthy ecological balance. But mankind desires a specific chemical makeup that is identical (which can only happen synthetically) in every batch that is made for patenting reasons – but therein lies the problem. Nature doesn’t replicate in this fashion for good reason. The inconsistency in nature is what keeps things in balance; keeps things from evolving into super beings. Superbugs, super pests, super weeds all evolve from manufactured consistency because they are designed to survive, evolve and adapt – which is causing the destruction of the natural balance in nature. Re-creating these ingredients synthetically is great for the bottom line of the corporate entities that manufacture them, but not for the long-term health and well-being of people, animals and the planet.
A book we recommend for everyone to read is “The Hundred Year Lie: How to Protect Yourself from the Chemicals That Are Destroying Your Health” by Randall Fitzgerald. This little book packs a punch and while the author exposes the lie about products, he also offers solutions and guides you on detoxification as well.
“Learning what to choose, and how to choose, may be the most important education you will ever receive.” ~Dr. Shad Helmstetter
To be continued…
About the Authors:
This article is intended for educational purposes only. The decision to use or not use any information is the sole responsibility of the reader.
Dr. Kim Bloomer and Dr. Jeannie Thomason, animal naturopaths, are the Founders of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy and both formerly worked in traditional veterinary medicine as technicians for many years. Their articles have appeared in various publications including Animal Wellness Magazine, Dogs Naturally Magazine, Pet Connection Magazine, and Natural Horse Magazine.
Originally and first released in 2013; edited in 2016. Copyright 2013-2016 All rights reserved.
No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the Author/Publisher.
This article is intended to be educational. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified animal health professional.