Monday, October 19, 2015

Chemicals and Fear Mongering

Cosmetics just in the morning... so many ingredients.
The minute you wake up, how many chemicals are you  really using?  Between the shampoos, toothpastes, and preservatives in your breakfasts - the amount of chemicals used in just one morning is astounding.  However, they have been getting a bad reputation recently.  This past week I've taken the time to try and understand where exactly all of this fear of chemicals and preservatives was coming from.  Many sustainability websites and health websites have been painting certain chemicals as "dangerous" or "unhealthy" for humans.  Although I agree it would be nice to stop producing certain synthetic chemicals for the environmental reasons - I have come to the conclusion that in terms of your health most chemicals are just fine.

When you hear the word chemical what do you think? Poisonous? Toxic? Harmful? Unfortunately our language has given this word a very bad connotation which sometimes scares people away from the truth that chemicals are a necessary component to life.  We humans are made of many different chemicals one of the main ones being carbon.  They are natural pieces to our existence and we should be opening our eyes to the truth instead of associating it to sickness, poisoning, and death.

The first question this caused me to ask was the question of a set of chemicals called parabens.  This past summer France has made it their mission to rid the shelves and hotels of products containing certain parabens in fear of possible problems caused to their ability to mimic certain hormones.  After reading the government recall of these products I was shocked and horrified that my own country wasn't doing anything about these products that were supposedly so dangerous... that was until I did my own research into the chemicals real properties.

So many chemicals, such small text...
In my own bathroom out of the 16 products I used 10 contained parabens.  Before I used a single product again I decided to do some research in some trustworthy places.  I was taking the word of people in the green community without any evidence of true experiments to back it up.  As reputable as these websites and government policies are - it is always better in my opinion to have a check of the facts yourself or else you can be roped into believing falsehoods.

After reading many medical papers published on the topic of parabens and its ability to change into a similar form of a hormone, it has been ruled as safe for use.  I did my research using the website for the US National Library of Medicine which has databases of peer reviewed medical journals (Human biological monitoring of suspected endocrine-disrupting compounds).  If you are curious for yourself if your products are safe or you simply want to understand each chemical on the back of your cosmetics I highly suggest doing research on such a site.  The fear mongering needs to come to an end because it is only making people more afraid and distrusting of the FDA which in my opinion is more of a danger than a benefit.

I am always open to changing my mind about these ideas if factual arguments are presented, but I want the end of fear mongering within my communities because it is doing more harm than good.  Maybe not in the way of cosmetics as we don't need them necessarily to survive but this is a continual trend with food, and many other life saving products.  We cannot live in fear because sometimes there is some chance that something bad can happen - just do your research and learn more about things you feel unsure about.  Don't forget the well known saying "Knowledge is power", and continue using your shampoos and cosmetics, they are well researched.

No comments:

Post a Comment