Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Lesson in Label Reading, Part One by Sarah Walker, Chartreuse Eco-Consultant

If you are reading this blog, you probably fall into one of two categories - you have small children or grandchildren of your own, or you are expecting small children or grandchildren of your own. You may also be the designated shopper of your household. As a wife and a mother of two, I am the self-proclaimed designated shopper. I seem to have the sole responsibility of providing my family with food, clothing and supplies that keep us fed, warm and safe.

I am an obsessive label reader. I always have been, and I can freely admit this. Until recently, though, that label reading only applied to food products. I never gave much thought to the ingredients that were in the cleaning products I used in my home or the soaps, lotions and potions I applied to my skin or my children’s skin. Through my training to become a Chartreuse Independent Eco-Consultant and my own personal research, I have realized what a mistake this was!

Our skin is our body’s largest organ. Babies and children are not just miniature adults. Their skin is especially vulnerable to toxic ingredients in cleaning products, soaps and lotions. Some cosmetic companies are beginning to advertise products that are free of parabens and phthalates. Parabens may have the ability to mimic estrogen in the human body, much as hormones added to our food supply have been proven to do. Phthalates are often added to products under the guise of “fragrance.” Exposure to phthalates may cause a wide range of health and reproductive problems in people including kidney, liver, lung and reproductive damage. A study conducted by the CDC found phthalates in virtually every person tested, but women of child-bearing age had levels up to 20 times higher than the rest of the population.

Since my daughter was a newborn, we used a major brand’s “No More Tears” baby wash. Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, I found the primary ingredient (after water) to be PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, which the FDA considers a probable human carcinogen (EPA, 2003). It is readily penetrated through the skin. The fourth ingredient is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a surfactant that strips moisture from the top layers of skin, leaving it dry and brittle. Virtually every conventional liquid soap, detergent and shampoo contains this harsh ingredient. No thanks!

My daughter has always had very sensitive skin, and she is especially prone to dry, eczema-like patches. I began using the Chartreuse Baby and Kids Wash on her, and, I kid you not, her skin improved within two days. A large dry patch on her back immediately felt softer. Within a week, she had no more dry patches, and they have not returned. I have noticed similar positive results from other Chartreuse products as well. Now that I have begun using their liquid hand soap, which, like all Chartreuse products, does not contain any sulfates, my hands are so much softer.

Take a look at your favorite lotion bottle. Does it contain mineral oil? Did you know that mineral oil coats the skin like plastic wrap and traps toxins from being excreted? This leads to clogged pores and ultimately speeds up the aging process. Who wants that?? Chartreuse lotions are based on natural essential oils that are healthy for your skin.

I was surprised to find out that personal care and cleaning products are not regulated by the FDA as food products are. The FDA granted self-regulation to the cosmetic industry in 1938. We trust our brands to provide us with products that are safe and healthy. The only way to truly ensure that we are buying safe products is to read labels. Chartreuse proudly lists ALL ingredients on their packaging.

Chartreuse products are free of sulfates, toxins and allergens. They are safe and gentle for babies, children and people with allergies or sensitive skin, including eczema. For more information on Chartreuse products, important ingredients to avoid, the company mission and why it is important to me, please visit my website at www.greensmything.com.

Sarah Walker 
Mother of Two, Special Education Teacher and 
Chartreuse Independent Eco-Consultant 

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