Sunday, May 25, 2014


Anyone who knows me well know that I am a passionate person.  I actually have a lot of passions, and am always anxious to tell those I come into contact with all about them.  Some of my passions include the following:

1) My salvation through Jesus Christ and the evidence I regularly see of the Holy Spirit moving in my life.

2)  Family.

3)  Photography

4)  Food.!

And most recently, I have been a bit obsessed with investigating everything that I consume and apply on my body.  I am an avid ingredients label reader, and I feel like it is the responsible thing to do to be an informed consumer.  I have come to the point in my life where I actually feel irresponsible if I don't know about everything I am consuming, putting on my body, or feeding my family and putting on their bodies.  I have come to the realization that our government, via the FDA, honestly does not protect us one bit when it comes to the food we eat or the personal care/cosmetics products we put on our bodies.  And what is truly sad is that most people probably assume that things that are allowed by the FDA to be in our food and cosmetics, etc are safe--I mean, isn't that the FDA's job?   I know I previously assumed this.

Because I have spoken so much about food in previous blog posts, I am going to save the food information for another post.  But, if you have never watched Food, Inc., I implore you to watch it.  You will not be disappointed.  (You can watch it for free by clicking here.)  Or, you can watch it for free as an Amazon Prime member on Amazon Prime.   From the website: "In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults."

For this post though, I want to write about something my eyes have been truly opened to since the beginning of the year.  After I was stricken with cancer, I began looking into all of the areas of my life that could be improved with regards to cancer prevention.  I figured that God wants me to glorify him with everything--all of me, including my body.  I figured he probably wouldn't want me to put harmful chemicals on it and consume toxins.  I knew my diet could change in a positive direction.  But, when I began truly reading and understanding every ingredient label, I began getting a bit angry at the nasty stuff the FDA allows in our food.  Many of the ingredients are banned in other countries because they are known to be toxic carcinogens.  I soon realized that we really cannot count on the government to protect us from harm when it comes to products we purchase.  It makes me so sad, because most people probably have no idea about these toxins.  If you watch Food, inc., you will probably be even more upset about it.  Thus, I began cooking most of our food from scratch and became extremely picky about any "packaged" food that I purchased.  For some reason, after totally beginning to live super-clean with regards to food that we consume, I didn't even connect the issue with other products to which I was exposing my body.  I finally realized that we absorb about 60% of what we put on our skin.  This means that most of what we put on our skin goes directly into our blood stream! Towards the end of last year, I began investigating all other products with which I come into contact.  I have completely changed the make up I wear, soap, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent and so many more products I use based on the information I learned.  I don't mean to overwhelm you, but here is just some of the information I stumbled upon (pasted directly from

When it comes to beauty products, the effects of the ingredients they contain can be more than just skin deep. The cosmetics industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in its products, in everything from lipstick and lotion to shampoo and shaving cream.
Many of these substances are also used in industrial manufacturing processes to clean industrial equipment, stabilize pesticides and grease gears. And we can all agree that an ingredient that effectively scours a garage floor may not be the best choice for a facial cleanser.
In the U.S., major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put thousands of synthetic chemicals into personal care products, even if those chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility or birth defects. At the same time as untested chemicals have been steadily introduced into our environment, breast cancer incidence has risen dramatically.
Following are some of the chemicals commonly found in cosmetics and what they do to us.


Knowledge is power. Learn how to avoid the nasty chemicals in personal care products.
Tips for choosing safe cosmetics >
Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance—both perfumes and fragrance ingredients in other cosmetic products. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Some phthalates also act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems.


Triclosan is used in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes to limit the growth of bacteria and mold. The chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’shormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. Widespread use of triclosan may also contribute to bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents.


1,4-dioxane is not listed on ingredient labels. It is a petroleum-derived contaminant formed in the manufacture of shampoos, body wash, children’s bath products and other sudsing cosmetics. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has ranked it as a possible carcinogen, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified it as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.


Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as an antifungal agent, preservative and antimicrobial in creams, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics, including underarm deodorants. They are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors.

Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene oxide is found in fragrances and is commonly used to manufacture popular brands of shampoo. It is classified as a known human carcinogen and is one of the 48 chemicals that the National Toxicology Program (NTP) identifies as mammary carcinogens in animals.


Shaving creams, spray sunscreens and foundations, and anti-fungal treatments that contain the propellant isobutene may be contaminated with the carcinogen 1,3-butadiene. Exposure occurs mainly through inhalation. This chemical has been found to increase mammary tumors in rodents. 

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of chemicals that occur naturally in coal, crude oil and gasoline. One of the more common PAHs is naphthalene. Some cosmetics and shampoos are made with coal tar and therefore may contain PAHs. They have been shown to increase risk for breast cancer.

Placental Extract

Placental extract is derived from human or animal placentas and is used in hair conditioners, shampoos and other grooming aids, particularly those marketed to women of color. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified progesterone, the major hormonal contaminant in placental extracts, as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.


Lead may be a contaminant in over 650 cosmetic products, including sunscreens, foundation, nail colors, lipsticks and whitening toothpaste. Lead is a proven neurotoxin, linked to learning, language and behavioral problems. It has also been linked to miscarriage, reduced fertility in men and women, and delays in puberty onset in girls.


Aluminum is found in some underarm antiperspirants. Like cadmium, aluminum is a metal that mimics estrogen and can also cause direct damage to DNA. Studies have not shown a direct causal link to breast cancer risk, but breast tissue has been shown to concentrate aluminum in the same area where the highest proportion of breast cancers are originally diagnosed.


Many sunscreens contain chemicals that exert significant estrogenic activity, as measured by the increase in proliferation rates of human breast cancer cells in vitro. Studies show these chemicals are accumulating in wildlife and humans. 
And last week, a new study found 102 chemicals (many of which are in personal care products and are allowed by the FDA) that are linked to breast cancer.  You can read about that here.  I truly don't want to overwhelm you, because it really can be overwhelming.  I think the most important thing is that we educate ourselves and others about all of these harmful toxins in the products we use every day.  I also think it is extremely important that we read all ingredient labels for products we consume and expose our bodies to.  Please don't just look at the advertising on the front of the product that uses wonderful sounding phrases like, "natural", "non-toxic", "eco-safe" or even "organic".  Until you read the ingredient labels, you really do not know if what you are consuming or putting on your body is completely safe.

I plan on trying to break this information up into smaller, useful pieces that are easier to take action on.  Our little family has implemented a few changes each week and I have not felt it to be overwhelming at all.  I will share some of these on the blog in later posts in case some of you are interested.

I will leave you with a great little video that covers a little bit about the "cosmetic system" in the U.S. Watch The Story of Cosmetics HERE or below.

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