Archive for March 15th, 2012

March 15, 2012

Would You Put That Toothpaste On Your Lungs?

Do you know what the largest organ of the human body is?  The heart?  The lungs?  Let me give you a hint, if you’re thinking internal, you’re way off base.  The largest organ happens to be the skin.

So let me ask you another question.  If you had your lungs or your heart or any other internal organ hanging on the outside of your body, exposed to everything in our world, would you continue to use all the same products you use today?  If you answered, “no” or even had a slightest twinge in your stomach and the thought, “I don’t know”, then I would ask, “Why you are using those products on your skin?”

If you don’t know the answer, or never thought of it that way, don’t feel bad, I didn’t know what to say when someone asked me either, but it certainly got my attention.  So how do you know whether what you are using is good or bad?  Well, the Environmental Working Group has an excellent product database, called the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.  The database has over 69,000 products, in it.  Each product is given a score based on  the ingredients in the product and any health concerns such as cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity and use restrictions related to those ingredients.  You will know, at a glance whether you should be concerned about products you’re using or considering purchasing, because they use a stoplight color coding along with the score.  Green (0-2) for low hazard, yellow (3-6) for moderate hazard and red (7-10) for high hazard.  Unfortunately the majority (not all) of the products offered through mass merchandisers are not in the green category.

So if you haven’t checked out your sunscreen, make-up, shampoo and conditioner, tooth paste, etc. on the site yet, I highly recommend that you do.  It can be kind of eye-opening and even somewhat alarming, but don’t sweat it and don’t stress if your products come up in the yellow or red, use the database as a tool to seek out something better for your health.

And you think it doesn’t really matter that much, don’t forget that if you wouldn’t put that toothpaste on your lungs, or that lotion on your heart then you might want to reconsider using it in your mouth or on your skin.