Chemicals, Kids and what we as parents butt-up against as we try to raise healthy children in a toxic world.
When we asked Miessence Director Narelle Chenery to create a special product for the holiday season, we knew that she would deliver an exceptional treat – and she has! The environmental-saving Darling Salt Glow is an eco-conscious body scrub made from salt sourced from the troubled Murray-Darling Basin located in southeastern Australia. The salt in the body scrub is produced naturally from underground saline aquifers that have been lying dormant for thousands of years. By utilizing these waters the salinity problems are reduced, the environment is improved, and a unique, pure, inland salt is produced. I haven’t found a product on the market that is this environmentally conscious.
The Darling Salt Glow helps to reduce the serious salinity problem in the Murray-Darling Basin. The impact of salinity is immense, resulting in losses in fertile productive land and decreased biodiversity in the native wetlands. An area the size of a football oval is being lost to salinity every hour. So scrub up!
Exfoliation of the skin has significant benefits.
● Blended with nourishing, organic coconut oil ● Delicious organic citrus and spice essential oils ● Revitalizes skin, leaving it feeling silky soft and smooth ● Exfoliates dead, dry skin cells, revealing plump, fresh skin ● Boosts circulation and stimulates the senses ● Smooths rough, dry areas ● Leaves skin supple, glowing and nourished
And here are the certified ingredients for the Darling Salt Glow:
*Cocosnucifera (coconut) oil – Virgin coconut oil from the Pacific Islands, collected, grated, and cold-pressed within hours of opening the nut. Antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, soothes, softens, smooths. Relieves dry, rough and wrinkled skin.
*Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil – Cold-pressed from the bean of the desert plant in Argentina. Emollient, moisturizing, high in vitamins, skin protective, helps regulate PH, soothes inflamed skin.
*Certified Organic Ingredients
The Darling Salt Scrub is only around during the festive season so if you want to try some CLICK HERE
Happy scrubbing for your health and the environment!
While researching overseas earlier in the year, I worked with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on a camapign targeting Johnson and Johnson baby products. The campaign purchased (I did the Australia and Indonesian section of this) and reviewed labels of the Johnson’s ‘No More Tears’ Baby Shampoo sold in 13 countries to see if the products contained quaternium-15, a chemical preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde. These are the findings:
Products purchased in the following countries contained the formaldehyde-releasing preservative quaternium-15:
Products purchased in the following countries did NOT contain quaternium-15:
*Products sold in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland use the same formulation as products purchased in the Netherlands.
Yes, that’s right. Everyday, Australian babies are subject to formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in Johnson’s Baby Shampoo while the company is making formaldehyde-free versions of the shampoo in several other countries!
And let me tell you a bit about this chemical…Quaternium-15 is a formaldehyde releasing chemical. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen (causes cancer). It also causes allergies and contact dermatitis, headaches and linked to chronic fatigue. The vapor is irritating to the eyes, nose and throat (mucous membranes) – which is a little hilarious given that it’s ‘no tears’ shampoo we are talking about…its all around this region. Formaldehyde was recently added to the U.S. government list of known human carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program, under the Department of Health and Human Services. According to a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association, quaternium-15 is ‘the most sensitizing formaldehyde-releasing preservative and has been repeatedly shown to be a strong allergen that can cause contact dermatitis.’
What a crazy toxic world we live in. Stay tuned for more information about the campaign…
Alf is a entrepreneur activist, ethical investor, and developer of regenerative businesses. He is a founding director of several enterprises which have achieved annual revenues ranging from three hundred thousand to twenty million dollars. Alf is the co-founder and co-director of Miessence the worlds first certified organic range of skin care, cosmetics, and nutritionals and co-founder of the Organic Farm Share. I have certainly learnt much from him about growing ethical businesses and the organic industry.
Come and learn about health and the body, toxicity, how you can start and grow a successful organic business, build a passive income and have a positive impact on our planet. CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR DETAILS, OR TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT AT THE EVENT, OR FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.
The Home Beautiful Magazine interviewed me for an article about detoxing the home. And here it is! It’s exciting that mainstream magazines are starting to take up the issue of chemicals in the home. The article has some practical solutions and gives people some consumer options for cleaning without chemicals.
Click the link for the Home Beautiful Article…
Whilst we did not have to evacuate our inner city sanctuary (flood waters reached the end of our street) we were cut off from other suburbs and services, and were without electricity for days. Sitting in our leafy green courtyard contemplating our low supplies of fresh food, Jase and I marveled at our fortune at having spirulina and vital greens (barley/wheat/chlorella) in our cupboard. We could all live for week…months on our supply (and avoid the frenetic panic buying in the supermarkets). As long as we had enough fresh food for our chicks (and spirulina) we were set! So let me tell you about this greeny-blue, slightly sweet, intense algae…
Japanese scientists look towards spirulina as the solution to the world’s hunger and health problem. NASA considers it a vital and compact space food for astronauts. The World Health Organisation has called it one of the greatest super foods on earth. And New Agers all over the world are rediscovering the wonders of spirulina, adding it to their diets, and for many living, just on the nutrients of this super-food alone.
From origin to content: 1 kg of good spirulina is the equivalent of 1,000 kg of assorted vegetables; 10 gm of spirulina contain 6.6 gm of protein (milk has 0.32 gm). It has no bad cholesterol, contains 18 of the 22 amino acids the body needs, and is the richest source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant which combats free radicals.
Other exciting things about spirilina…
It is a wonderful tonic for our body and helps to strengthen our immune system in general.
The dark blue green colour shows Spirulina is rich in Phycocyanin, helping to build blood and healthy red and white blood cells.
It’s high in chlorophyll.
It’s high with GLA essential fatty acid.
It’s low in fat.
It’s low in calories.
It increases your energy levels and puts your body in a great position to be the best it can be, for as long as it can.
And Spirulina can also be added to your home made face and body masks, albeit it does look a little ‘hulkish’ on the body.
So while other people have been scrambling to gather groceries from an ever-dwindling shortage of fresh food supplies, I feel grateful for our spirulina and supergreens. Jase and I breath a sigh of relief that even if we were cut off from services for weeks and months we would probably come out of the floods in better health than before the waters were rising.
NOTE: Kids and Spirilina. Yes, our chicks eat spirulina. Adiva eats it straight from the jar sometimes when her body feels like she needs it (and then she’ll go for days without it as well). Sometimes we add it to her smoothie, and sometimes we put it in what she calls her ‘honey herbs medicine’ (a concoction of naturopathy herbs to boost her immune system if she is developing a cold or cough, added to a generous scoop of spirilina, InLiven (certified organic, fermented, probiotic), cinnamon, ginger and mashed together with manuka honey).
It’s summer, and here in Brisbane we are in a flux of rainy, stormy weather and hot humidity, which has caused havoc on my skin. So I went to the whole foods shop today with a friend of mine to explore options for my dry skin. And while I was in vege isle looking for kale, my friend was reading the back of a body scrub jar. She said: ‘Guess what the ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ body scrub contains? Glycol Stearate, ethylparaben, ethylene brassilate, phenoxyethanol and tetrasodium EDTA’.
‘What’s the brand called’ I asked.
Funny! I am yet to see a glycol stearate, ethylparaben, ethylene brassilate, phenoxyethanol and tetrasodium EDTA tree/scrub/flower/herb growing in my garden.
The bottom line is….our skin is living and porous! It’s the largest, living organ of the body. So why would anyone possibly put chemical ingredients on it? People often smirk in my workshops when I say, ‘If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth and eat it, than don’t put it on your skin’. And I’m serious. Nothing goes on my body, or my children, that is not packed full of living enzymes, raw, and has 100% beneficial ingredients. Many of these products we purchase, but there are also just as many that we make at home.
In the case of my dry skin, I made myself an invigorating organic salt body scrub, and I am now replenished and nourished once again (I also increased my level of oils – hemp, flaxseed and coconut in particular, seeds and nuts, and increased my water intake).
Besides replenishing the skin by removing dead skin cells, a scrub using Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt removes negative energy, improving positive ions and generally making you feel lighter and clearer. It also reconnects you to your body, renewing your physical, emotional and energetic body, and is an important act of exercising ‘extreme self care’ (I love this phrase!) in our everyday lives.
Here’s the beautiful body scrub and how to make it:
Mix all the ingredients together in a glass jar. If your salt is course, grind it in a spice grinder, or crush in a mortar and pestle till the granules are fine. Pour in both your olive oil and drops of essential oil or herbs. I use olive oil because I have access to great olive oil, but you could use most oils – apricot, jahoba, coconut, avocado oil if that better suits you. Other people may prefer not to use an oil at all, and can thus sprinkle a small teaspoon of the mixture for each major body area, rubbing briskly but gently over wet skin until dissolved.
I think this scrub works best used dry and before getting in the shower (preferably in the shower cubicle itself). Rub briskly but gently over skin – one body part at a time. When you have finished doing your whole body (not face), rinse the scrub off with a warm shower. Then pat your skin dry with a dry towel. You will feel amazing – I promise!
Sorbolene usually contains liquid paraffin and white soft paraffin, both petroleum by-products that coat the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. They interfere with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. They also slow down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH’s (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Manufacturers use paraffin because it is very inexpensive.
From the National Toxicology Program Chemical Health and Safety Data on mineral oil:
‘A human carcinogen by inhalation that produces gastrointestinal tumors.’
‘A human teratogen by inhalation that causes testicular tumors in the fetus. Inhalation of vapor or particulates can cause aspiration pneumonia.’
Sorbolene creams also do not contain any vitamins or essential fatty acids and disturb or even prohibit the skin from absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. They appear to hydrate and moisturise but in reality they can suppress the skins ability to function normally, and do very little to nourish and hydrate the dermis.
The skin then develops a dependency on constant applications of mineral oils which, in turn, results in a deterioration of the skin’s character and overall health. Long-term usage of these products may block the pores resulting in acne and blackheads; they strip the skin of its natural oils and can create fluid retention, resulting in irritation, sensitivities and allergies.
We spent the weekend at the Sydney Organic Expo amongst a pulsating sea of stall holders, selling organic produce: cheeses, skin care products, pulses, legumes, wines, chocolates, raw foods, probiotics, cloth nappies. I participated in a compost making workshop, hung out with baby animals, and presented two presentations to a packed audience about kids and chemicals.
I talked to many. Learnt a lot.
I met a man previously twice his size, 150 kilos, with cancer. He’s now quite different. ‘Cancer’ he said, ‘was a gift. Without it I would never have understood the importance of living enzymes, potent, fermented probiotics, or found the raw food movement. The cure’ he said, ‘is getting back to nature. It’s as simple as that. Given the right environment and the right nourishment, the body always heals itself’.
Talking to this man reminded me of a presentation by Czrelle, the maker of our fermented, predigested probiotic, InLiven (and the gluten free version Fast Tract). ‘The body is innately able to heal itself’, he said. ‘Cut your finger and it might take a few days to heal, but heal it will. Your finger (body) instinctively knows how to heal itself. Take away the element of time and people would be in awe of their wondrous bodies. The miracle of them’.
This too can be said of pregnancy. Pregnant women don’t have to get up everyday and think “grow baby…grow baby’” No. Our bodies innately know how to do this. It’s the same for producing breastmilk and for birthing. The best advice I had from a friend leading up to my birth was, ‘Get your head out of the way Sarah, your body knows how to do this’. And do it, it did!
At the expo I also met Jen who had recently overcome Crones Disease by using the ancient techniques of fermentation and of eating the whole foods people ate 100 years ago. ‘Think about dogs’ she said. ‘They instinctively know what they are doing. They bury their bones. They know their bodies need fermented foods and burying their bones starts the fermentation process. They dig them up when they need them’. ‘Fermentation is natures gift’ , she explains, ‘before we started adding preventatives’. This got more thinking more about fermentation and I vowed to follow-up with my Weston Price Foundation friends who are avid supporters of fermentation.
Another woman at the expo told me about a recent study with monkey’s at the Copenhagens Zoo. ‘The researchers put a pile of organic banana’s in their enclosure and another pile of ‘conventional’ banana’s,’ she told me. ‘And what did the Monkey’s do? They firstly ate the organic banana’s, skin and all. Then they went to the conventional banana’s. Peeled of the skin and ate banana inside’. Amazing!
I ate quinoa salad and raw dark organic chocolate, drank lots of fermented probiotics with spirilina and chlorella, convinced Jason to buy a super-duper Vitamix, ordered a copy of The Makers Diet which was recommended by plenty of people, made friends with the acai stand guys who gave me lots of freebie juice to keep me energised through the expo, presented two presentations at Speakers Corner and met wondrous people afterwards, signed lots of copies of my book, talked to many about their skin, their guts, their bodies, sold plenty of certified organic Miessence products and gave out an equal amount of samples. I met an earthy woman who came to my talk wearing an awesome t-shirt. It read – Stay safe. Stay home. Homebirth. I wanted one. And at the end of the weekend I bought my parents organic bree and rice crackers for them to snack on in their hotel. This was a thankyou gift for caring for our two chicks while we worked at the expo.
We will be there again next year!
What are all those chemicals in your shampoo? your lipstick? your aftershave? And what do they have to do with asthma, cancer and learning disabilities? Get to the ugly truth with The Story of Cosmetics, a new short film from the Story of Stuff Project.
The Story of Cosmetics, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced by Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the 7-minute film reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.
The film was made in close partnership with our friends from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. We will be interviewing these fabulous people next year as part of our research for our new book. Until then, enjoy the film!
Last month I did the Mothers Day Classic. A walk/run organized across Australia to raise money for breast cancer research. Thousands of people attend the Mother’s Day Classic and for me it was a time to remember my dear friend Yani who died early in her life of breast cancer. And remember her in all her gorgeous glory I certainly did!
But at the end of the walk participants received a bag of goodies. I love bags of goodies but was gutted to discover that if I didn’t have cancer before the event, use the bag of goodies, and I’d certainly be on my way to getting cancer or at least increasing the toxicity of my body.
It was packed full of things, most notably Weight Watcher bars and wafers and puddings and jelly crystals – low calories, but hey, packed full of preservatives, emulsifiers, colourings and flavourings. And at the bottom of the bag was a little pink personal care product proudly printed with the National Breast Cancer Foundation pick ribbon – ‘Sliver partner’ .
I remember this product from my teenage years. I’d tease out my fringe and wand curl out my side flicks, liberally spraying my hair until it set firm and extra strong – just like it says on the packaging.
Cedel is Australian company that began some 75 years ago and has been a partner with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) since 2009, donating $25,000 cash annually in addition to over 120,000 pink Cedel hairspray cans in support of the NBCF official events. Their website states: ‘The funds raised through the sales of Cedel Hairspray are helping to fund the research program of Associate Professor Alexander Dubrovnik from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria… Cedel looks forward to continuing their support in search for a cure of breast cancer, and working with the NBCF to enrich the lives of Australians’.
But like many products with the pink ribbon, are they actually helping? Or is this another form of pink washing?
Let me tell you about the product and what’s in it:
Ingredients: Alcohol Denat., Butane; Isobutane, Propane, VA/Crotonates/Vinyl Neodeconoate Copolymer, Aminomethyl Propane, Cetyl Acetate, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Pentadecalactone, Fragrance.
Warnings from packaging: Flammable Gas: Extremely Flammable. Keep out of reach of childrem. Do not spray on naked flame or any incandescent material. Keep away from sourses of ignition – no smoking. Storage & disposal: Pressurised Dispenser. Protect from sunlight and do not expose to temperature exceeding 50C. Do not pierce or burn, even after use. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling contents can be harmful or fatal. Propellant: hydrocarbon
|BUTANE||Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns|
|ISOBUTANE||Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns|
|SD ALCOHOL 1
|Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Enhanced skin absorption|
|PROPANE||Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Multiple, additive exposure sources, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Occupational hazards|
|ACETYLATED LANOLIN ALCOHOL||Allergies/immunotoxicity|
|AMINOMETHYL PROPANOL||Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns (NITROSAMINES - in the presence of nitrosating agents, OXAZOLIDINE)|
|CETYL ACETATE||None Identified|
|PHENYL TRIMETHICONE||None Identified|
|VA/ CROTONATES/ VINYL NEODECONOATE COPOLYMER||Unknown|
All I can say is, beware of the pink ribbon! It’s not that having an iconic symbol of the pink ribbon is problematic, it’s that the carefully contrived messages about ‘awareness’, ‘hoping for a cure’ that serves to distract from a deeper public interest about prevention – what we need to put in place (and what we need to illuminate) to have a healthy, optimal body. The pink ribbon seems to exclude all critical notions of corporate accountability. Instead I see adds for cosmetics and personal care products that read: ‘shower for a cure’ with pink ribbon gel, ‘Hint of a cure’ blush, ‘Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer’ with lipstick.
Crazy! Here’s a great website which makes you think before you pink!
I loved this book. It’s not so much that the information is new to me, but that the writing is authentic, genuine, and committed to raising the profile of the everyday noxious chemicals we’re all marinating in. I also related to this book – written from one parent to another. It’s accessible. It’s a story…
The authors, Bruce Lourie, started one of Canada’s largest environmental consultancies, while Rick Smith is the current Executive Director of Canada’s Environmental Defence. In 2008 they shut themselves away and used their bodies as testing laboratories, to see how many toxins were in the every day products we use. Scientific experts helped them test for seven chemicals, to see how levels increased after nearly a week of living with everyday household products – from toothpaste to non-stick frying pans and tuna.
Listen to their interview with ABC ClassicFM. It’s great! And I would recommend the book!
What are some of these dodgy labeling laws?
In Australia, there is currently no standard for the labelling of ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. Whilst the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrances’ Association Dictionary advocates that ingredients be written in the common name of the compound, many companies choose not to use the common name of the chemicals, and instead use the source of the chemical, for example, ‘palm oil’, instead of the chemical name, ‘Diethanolamine’ or ‘Sodium Lauryl Sulphate’ (one of the most common and toxic foaming agents used in cosmetics, shampoo, hand wash, conditioner, also found in floor cleaners, engine degreasers, car wash soaps). Incidental (or inactive) ingredients—those which do not have a technical or functional effect in the final product and are present at slight levels—do not have to be listed. Flavours and fragrances are also exempt from labels.
Manufacturers may also apply for ‘confidentiality’ or ‘trade secrets’ exemption in relation to the formulation of the product. If successful, the manufacturer only has to list the patented name of the formula and not its specific ingredients. The exemption process effectively denies consumers the right to access information about the ingredients in the product.
The most common greenwashing practice taking place is when a company advertises a product, such as body wash or moisturizer, as being ‘organic’ and it may contain only 1-2% organic ingredients. The remaining ingredients may be natural and processed with synthetic chemicals, or made out of exclusively synthetic chemicals. Since labeling laws aren’t tightly regulated, consumers are easily misled.
Frustrating! And this labeling system puts families and children at risk.
The Organic Consumers Association has long fought against what it calls ‘organic cheater brands’ and we’re starting to see some results.
Last year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) caught out Natural Instincts, the manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of a hair and skin care products, and household cleaning products. Their claim, as the name suggests, is that they are ‘natural’ and labels most of their products as ‘organic’.
In the review, Natural Instinct acknowledged that it breached sections 52, 53(a), 55 and 65D of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (the Act) in the labelling of some of its products and in brochures distributed by Natural Instinct.
In particular, the review found:
The ACCC also found that statements by Natural Instinct that its products are ‘made with/from 100% pure oils and certified organic herbs’ may be misleading or deceptive because they imply that the products contain significant amounts of herbs and oils, when certain products only contain 0.2% to 0.6% of herbs and oils.
It’s crazy that this mislabeling is still happening and reflects the inadequacies of the labeling system in Australia, putting kids and families at risk.
At the West Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California, the Organic Consumers Assocaition (ACO) recently staged a very visible public protest to expose what it calls ‘shampoo product’ that are ‘organic cheaters’. The protest was part of the OCA’s Coming Clean Campaign which continues to expose dishonest or misleading products in the skin care industry. Due in large part to the OCA’s efforts, Whole Foods now says it will enforce honest labeling by taking a closer look at the word ‘organic’ on personal care products.
The Organic Consumers Association, lists a number of cheater brands to boycott:
All I can say is don’t be fooled by slick marketing ‘green’ campaigns. These days the only way to be certain that your cosmetic and personal care products are actually ‘organic’ is by identifying the certified organic label. If you are uncertain what these labels are CLICK HERE to check them out. It’s important! For you and your families health!
This is an interview on the Channel 7 Sunrise program with Dr Ginni Mansberg (GP) about how women apply 515 chemicals to their bodies each day. It’s definitely a good start given that the mainstream media has traditionally had very little to say on the issue and that Dr Mansberg is speaking up on the issue, albiet very moderately. Did you know that in University fields as teaching, psychology, chemistry, health and medicine, students receive little or no understanding of children’s environmental health issues throughout their University degrees and training
See link for the full article…although I wouldn’t be encouraging women to use fake tan as an alternative to sunbaking.
NEWS: Bad news ladies. The typical woman applies up 515 chemicals to her body every day. From your makeup to your shampoo, there are hundreds of unpronouncable names created in laboratories….
Whilst I’m not much of a cosmetics gal myself, I do like a good skin care regime, luxurious body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Most cosmetics and personal care products contain highly toxic ingredients (carcinogenic,mutagenic, endocrine disruptors etc.) that in turn make their way into our bodies, accumulate in our organs, blood and fat cells. I have written about this in detail in my Chemical Free Kids book and numerous articles, so I won’t go into it again here. But I would highly recommend checking out the Environmental Working Groups (EWG’s) Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Here you can search for a specific product, ingredient, or company and get an overall hazard score and detailed information on potential ingredient hazards. I recommended this site to my workshop participants and many write back to me in dismay about the products they are liberally applying on themselves and their children. WARNING – you will probably do a major product purge soon after you visit this site.
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