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CHEMICAL- FREE BODY CARE

An estimated one out of every twenty people is extremely sensitive to chemicals contained in personal care products.

For the most part, personal care products are relatively safe when used correctly. However, not all are as safe as they could be, especially for people with chemical sensitivities.

Remember the statement that if you can smell a chemical it's probably bad for you? Think about the personal care products you use. Nearly all of them will have fragrance added to provide a pleasing scent, but fragrances do not eliminate unpleasant smells: they mask them.

Although fragrances are not specifically good for you, most people are not made immediately ill by them. However, a growing number of people have developed extreme chemical sensitivities which cause them to become ill when exposed even briefly to fragrances and other chemical smells. Think about that the next time you are tempted to wear a cologne or perfume in public. An estimated one out of every twenty people around you may be experiencing sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue because you want to smell good.

Perfume / After-Shave

These products have a high alcohol content. They contain fragrance and may contain the toxic substances formaldehyde, phenol, trichloroethylene and cresol.

They are highly allergenic, and commonly cause headache, nausea, and skin irritation. Even if you don't react, those around you may.

ALTERNATIVE: The best solution is not to use these products. As an alternative, natural essential oils (a few drops in an ounce of vegetable oil) are better tolerated by most people, although they can also be irritating to the nose and to the skin.

Antiperspirant / Deodorant

Antiperspirants contain aluminum chlorohydrate, which can cause infection and irritations in the underarm area. It is not known whether the aluminum contributes to a buildup of aluminum in the body, either by absorption through the skin or by inhalation of an aerosol. (Aluminum has been tentatively associated with brain disorders.) Other ingredients are ammonia, alcohol, formaldehyde and fragrance.

Deodorants may contain triclosan, which can cause liver damage when absorbed through the skin.

ALTERNATIVE: Plain baking soda, patted under the arms, makes an excellent deodorant. It can be mixed with cornstarch for smoother feel. Natural deodorants such as deodorant stones are also available through natural food stores.

Cosmetics

Lipstick may contain the following substances known to cause cancer in laboratory animals: polyvinylpyrrolidone plastic, saccharin, mineral oil, artificial colors and fragrance.

Mascara may cause eye irritation because it contains formaldehyde, alcohol and various plastic resins.

Eyeshadow, powdered blush, and face powder often contain talc, a material that may be contaminated with asbestos. They may also contain mineral oil and fragrance.

ALTERNATIVE: Use natural cosmetics, available from natural food stores, or at the very least use fragrance-free hypoallergenic cosmetics. Cosmetics should not be tested on animals.

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