Boyd's Farm

Personal Care Products: Our Chemical Romance

Katherine CouronComment
Photo by Manu Camargo

Photo by Manu Camargo

Why We’re Talking About Toxins

We mentioned before that ‘ignorance is not bliss’ when it comes to personal care products. Today I want to show you exactly what that means.

This year Johnson & Johnson was sued and will pay $72 million. Why? Because a court deemed they knew the dangers of one of their ingredients, talc, used in baby powder and did nothing to warn consumers.

One juror even noted evidence presented during the case that showed the company’s attempt to influence how products are regulated rather than addressing the problem of harmful ingredients.

After years of using the baby powder for personal hygiene, a woman died of ovarian cancer before she could see the result of her lawsuit against the company. Her son took over the case following her passing.

It should also be noted that products sold in Europe and other countries do NOT include the same ingredients as those used in the United States. For example, did you know that formaldehyde has been used in baby products in the U.S.? Did you know that formaldehyde is NOT included in the same products in Europe? 

Are you upset yet? I am.

The family we’ve been talking about is not the only one affected by negative consequences of ingredients in personal care products. Thousands of people have brought complaints forward. Johnson & Johnson is also not the only company knowingly including harmful ingredients in their products. 

The Facts About Toxins in Products

Berkley recently conducted a study with teenage girls to demonstrate the effects of personal care products on the body. Participants’ levels of certain chemicals and hormones were taken before the study. They were then asked to use products that were free of well-know toxic chemicals found in personal care products (e.g. parabens, phthalates, triclosan, and oxybenzone***).

After only 3 days, the levels of these chemicals were greatly reduced in the participants’ bodies. One researcher noted, 

Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, can make a difference.

The study was conducted because scientists see “growing evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to neurobehavioral problems, obesity and cancer cell growth.” Researchers acknowledge that current U.S. regulation of these products is not strong enough.

A Call to Action

So what can we do about this? Stop using these products.

You may have been using that same moisturizer or powder, that lipstick or night cream for decades seemingly without issue. I use the word ‘seemingly’ very intentionally here.

Hormone-disrupting chemicals, like those studied by the Berkley researchers, can have harmful affects on your body and you might not stop to think that your beauty products could be the cause. 

It is important to note that studies of various chemicals are limited to the effects on their subjects as of that day. Chemicals are stored in our bodies (especially in women) and have compounding effects over time. This means that scientists can test for tumors or other symptoms which may not have presented themselves yet ,but might do so in the future. We believe it is best to stay away from such chemicals because studies are limited in their knowledge of the long-term effects on the body.

We put these toxin-laden products on our skin every day. We purchase them every few weeks. We put them on our kids! We allow companies to continue operating this way because we’re paying them to do it.

Thankfully, organizations exist to fight legislation and increase regulations in the U.S. And you don’t have to be a part of such an organization to make a difference. 

Show your demand with your dollar. Use products that are non-toxic. Scientists, like those mentions earlier, have shown that they are better for your body. This action also sends a message to large corporations that toxic products will no longer be tolerated.

Once you know what is actually in the products you put on your skin, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would continue using them. Thanks to the internet it is easier than ever to find affordable options in non-toxic personal products.

To help, here are a few of my favorite resources:

The Organic Bunny 

The Green Product Junkie

Think Dirty (an app that let's you know what's in your specific product)

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) (they have many helpful consumer guides)

At Boyd’s Farm we list every ingredient in our products. We believe that when it comes to our health less is more. For this reason, we keep our products simple, subtle, and natural.


***Additional Notes:

Parabens are used in cosmetics as a preservative. They are estrogen mimics, endocrine disruptors, and have been linked to breast cancer.

Phthalates are used in plastics as well as cosmetics. They have been linked to “birth defects, asthma, neurodevelopmental problems in newborns, fertility issues and obesity”. 

Triclosan is often used as an antibacterial agent and included in cosmetics. Due to the toxicity of this chemical, many companies are now removing this ingredient from their products. It has been banned in many U.S. states and other countries. 

Oxybenzone is most often used in sunscreens. It has been linked to “hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer”. That’s right. The product we use to prevent skin cancer may actually lead to skin cancer.