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Household Cancer Hazards

A new study warns of unlabeled and potentially cancer-causing chemicals in many everyday products. We’ll investigate.

Shampoo and conditioner bottles. (Iko/Flickr)

Shampoo and conditioner bottles. (Iko/Flickr)

Spring is coming.  They’ll be out walking for a cure for cancer soon, and we can all hope for that.  But what about the possible causes of cancer and a lot of other modern afflictions?

A new study out last week looks at chemicals that are all around us in the everyday household and personal care products we buy again and again and bring into our homes, our kitchens, our bathrooms, our beds, our bodies.  Air fresheners and dryer sheets.  Shampoo and bar soap and tile cleaner and sunscreen and toothpaste.  They found plenty, even in products labeled “green”.

This hour, On Point:  the chemicals we live with every day.

-Tom Ashbrook


Julia Brody, executive director of the Silent Spring Institute, which studies the link between environmental chemicals and our health. You can find more about that study here.

Ruthann Rudel, director of research at the Silent Spring Institute.

Lynn Goldman, dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University.

Useful Links

  • You can find a detailed fact sheet about the study here.
  • A complete list of products tested in the Silent Spring study can be found here.
  • Here are 12 tips for “greening” your personal care and cleaning products.

From Tom’s Reading List

USA Today “Consumer products such as shampoos and sunscreens, even ones touted as safer, may contain potentially harmful chemicals not listed on their labels, according to a study out today that tested dozens of them.”

Boston Blog “But, Rendel – a scientist who studies chemicals in everyday products– said she checked the ingredients before buying it and was surprised to find triclosan.”

Forbes “The study included both conventional products, such as Windex original glass cleaner and Irish Spring deodorant soap, as well as “alternative” products marketed as containing safer ingredients than their conventional counterparts, such as Seventh Generation Free and Clear natural glass and surface cleaner and Tom’s of Maine natural moisturizing body bar. Lab tests detected 55 chemicals of concern–including parabens, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), antimicrobials, cyclosiloxanes, glycol ethers, and fragrances–in the conventional product samples tested and also found 41 concerning chemical compounds in all but 11 alternative products. Very few of these chemicals were included on product labels.”

Video: Silent Spring Institute

This video reveals  the highlights from the Silent Spring Institute study.

Complete Study

Here is the text of the Silent Spring Institute Study.
[Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.]

11 Clean Products

Here are 11 products that passed the Silent Spring study test for target chemicals.

1. Healthy Pet Foods Here’s the Scoop! Natural Unscented Clay Clumping Litter

2. Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Diapers

3. Bon Ami Polishing Cleanser, No Chlorine, Perfume or Dye

4. Seventh Generation Free and Clear Dishwashing Detergent

5. Seventh Generation Free and Clear Natural Dish Liquid

6. Tom’s of Maine Natural Long-Lasting Deodorant Stick, Aluminum-Free, Unscented

7. Bean Products Pure Cotton Shower Curtain

8. Excell Home Fashions Ultimate Nylon Shower Curtain or Liner

9. Carapelli Extra Light Olive Oil

10. Magick Botanicals Fragrance Free Hairspray

11. Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps Unscented Baby-Mild Pure Castille Soap

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  • BHA in Vermont

    Another book to put on the reading list “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry” by Stacey Malkan

    The things we ingest and absorb from personal hygiene and beauty products is just plain scary.

    Another case where LACK of regulation is killing us.

    • Robert Riversong

      Government regulations are almost always designed to serve industry and not consumers. Many manufacturing sectors, contrary to what we might believe, desire modest regulation to avoid lawsuits. Regulations will never be stringent enough to protect us against the broad spectrum of unnecessary risk. We have to make our own choices and “just say no” to toxic products (which means virtually all mainstream consumer products).

    • CHK61

       Unfortunately many women, including young women/teenagers, are swayed by the incessant advertising of the smooth, poreless, unblemished, airbrushed face that  is presented to us in media/advertising.  Few can live up to this ideal.  Men are also influenced and conditioned through advertising to desire this type of skin or face.  So many women put chemicals (via make up) on their face daily in order to adhere to this cultural ideal, in order to compete and be accepted.  I include myself in this group and I believe that the desire to be beautiful and accepted, and “attractive” to men outweighs the desire to be healthy.  Many women are willing to take the risk – sad but true.

  • BHA in Vermont

    On the topic of environmental chemicals and our health –

    Many man made fragrances are health hazards. The Center for Disease Control has banned them from their work place. That means no fragrances in cleaning products used in the building, no air ‘fresheners’, no scented candles, no laundry detergent/softeners/lotions with fragrance, no perfume/cologne. Fragrances are no different than second hand smoke. You can never touch the product but you can’t avoid the toxic results when others use them. 

    Marketers have convinced people that our air must be filled with these man made fragrances and cleaning products are ‘better’ the stronger they smell. Both claims are false, CLEAN doesn’t smell AT ALL, but their success in selling the ‘message’ makes plenty of money for the companies who make the fragrances.

    Do your self, your friends, your co-workers a favor. Throw out the air “fresheners” and candles, leave the perfume at home (or better, in the store). And for the sake of all people, men THROW OUT THE AXE, it is vile.

    Here is a link with a good description of the many reactions people have to fragrances. Don’t be surprised to find out that you are also sensitive but were not aware that your symptoms are caused by things that smell ‘good’: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/fragrance-allergies-a-sensory-assault

    My personal story on this topic – I can no longer walk down the cleaning aisle in the grocery store without holding my breath. I get migraines at work from people’s air “freshers” and perfumes. My 19 Y/O daughter should be in college but she barely leaves the house. Potential interaction with unknown people is tantamount to Russian Roulette with 5 chambers loaded and FORGET the malls – they are migraine mills. All because of these “good smelling” man made fragrances. We can’t even safely inhale outside our house, the neighbors’ dryers might be running pumping fragrances into the air. Another very common item: Purell – death in a bottle for some of us. My daughter spent more days at home in bed with migraines than she spent at school during her Junior year due to people using Purell near her. And near doesn’t mean 6 inches, it can be 10 feet, the stink travels. She did he Senior year at home under a special program.

    By the way – “Unscented” doesn’t necessarily mean fragrance free. Many
    products have multiple fragrances designed to cancel out the scent. The term is unregulated so you need to read the labels. More often than not, you will find “fragrance” listed.

    • Sam Walworth

       It amazes me the use of any hand sanitizer by the people at large, it will eventually unbalance the fauna on the human skin.

      Our skin, normally have healthy bacteria and fungi on it, which are in balance, as long as we use a normal soap and water to wash our hands, and not the hand sanitizer or anti bacterial soap on a constant and regular basis.

      I learned this valuable lesson (of staying away from hand sanitizer and anti bacterial soaps) hard way, after years of using an Anti Bacterial soap for shower as they told us all that using anti bacterial soap kills all the germs and is good for us.

      Now I only use the normal soap and water to wash my hands.

      • Robert Riversong

        This is an extension of the “germ theory” of disease. Germs cause disease. Germs are bad. Use antibiotics (anti-life chemicals) to kill them.

        The reality is that disease is a generalized imbalance in our biological homeostasis, that can be caused by any combination of poor diet, chemical exposure, pollution, stress or injury – which then allows pathogenic germs to proliferate and overpower the beneficial bacteria.

        The human body is a community of 50 trillion living cells, 90% of which are not human. We could not live without our bacterial cousins. To commit genocide against them is to commit suicide.

  • gemli

    I’m not one to ignore cancer risks, but if we’re steeped in carcinogens, shouldn’t we be seeing an overall increase in many cancers, and cancer deaths?  Some cancer rates have increased, such as lung cancer and melanoma, but these have clearly identifiable causes.

    Coca Cola and Pepsi are now removing a potential carcinogen from their caramel coloring, but with so many billions of gallons consumed over so many decades, shouldn’t we all be dropping like flies?  I don’t want us to overlook real dangers, but the latency between exposure and illness, along with the presence of so many uncontrolled factors, seems to make these claims unreliable.  Maybe we should err on the side of caution, but crying wolf has a downside in that it desensitizes people to real dangers.

    • theresa

       we ARE seeing skyrocketing cancer rates,  early  menarche is no longer consdiered “early,”  not to mention other problems  that we have found no cause for yet—ie  the skyrocketing rates of autism,  allergies, asthma.  Not to mention the environment that is being destroyed as we throw these products out or flush them down the drain.   endocrine disrupters and these other toxins  are likely to have many negative effects but there is no $$ to study this as who cares about it?  easier to just keep listening to your iphone/ipod (that is filled with mercury and other toxins and that kills those who are making it for us) God forbid we get anxious about anythign!  corporations and those who profit off of this are hoping we just forget about this asap.  It’s easy to say “dont buy them anymore” but without regulation those with less money and less time will always be prone to contributing to this problem.   it is too easy to use these things and too hard not to.   

    • Robert Riversong

      “shouldn’t we be seeing an overall increase in many cancers”

      We are. The trend for a generations has been upward, mostly in the “developed” world.

  • Marion Geiger

    I was recently diagnosed with melanoma, the most aggressive type of skin cancer. I am only 24. Every day, For the rest of my life I am going to have to protect my skin from the sun…with what? Sun screen, which many of them I have found are full of cancer causing chemicles. I have been using the Environmental Working Groups website to help me find the products with the least harmful chemicles. They have a rating for every product. It’s still so hard to know because every day there are new products out there that have not been tested enough.

    • http://twitter.com/mem_somerville mem_somerville

      Yeah, the sun is a real cancer-causing problem. We should put a stop to that.

    • Hugh

       Use a hat and cover up.

    • theresa

       they also make  sunscreen clothing now though you have to look that up too: I suspect, like the “no iron” clothes, there are chemicals involved in that.   I agree EWG is a great website

    • Laurie

      One source of sun-protection clothing: http://www.coolibar.com/. I suggest doing a web search for “sunscreen clothing” or “sun protection clothing.” You’ll find a number of stores selling SPF50+ gear.

      • CHK61

         Zinc or titanium based sunblocks, known as physical rather than chemical sunblocks, are reportedly safer than chemical sunblocks.  Still, just avoiding the sun and covering up or seeking shade is the safest bet (other than the recommended 10 minutes of direct sun 3-4 times a week during peak hours for Vitamin D production).  The dermatology community has convinced people that any sun is bad but this is not true, the sun is necessary for LIFE. 

  • paolo

    Cancer is not the only major problem resulting from the chemical soup we live in. Many of these chemicals also interfere with testosterone and other hormone formations in young males and the male fetus.
    This effectively feminizes the culture leading to higher than what would be typical incidence of poofter behavior. This is very serious, since it leads to a narcissistic culture of depravity with low birth rates and a lack of positive adult male role models.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Where is the DISQUS “Ignore” button??

      • Robert Riversong

        Why would you ignore this? While his conclusions may be distorted by bias, the underlying issue is very real and very troubling. 

        We have been led to believe, by feminist ideology, that testosterone is correlated with bad behavior and, by extension, all the evils of our society.

        We have evolved to have a proper species-wide balance of testosterone and estrogen. If we change that balance, we undermine the natural homeostasis of our species and our ecology.

    • Anonymous

      Apparently the chemicals also lower IQ. 

  • Bob

    Don’t believe any householda cleaner labeled “green” or “all-natural” or whatever. I spent some time researching some of these a few months ago when we were trying to choose a better dish soap. The LABELS say “all natural ingredients,” but then you see things like “natural plant derived surfactants” or “natural plant fragrance” or whatever.

    These are mostly elaborate ways of misleading customers. Often when you even go to the products’ own websites, you’ll discover that they contain almost EXACTLY THE SAME CHEMICALS AS STANDARD CLEANING AGENTS. Don’t take my word for it– look thrm up yourself.

    The main difference between “environmentally friendly” cleaners and standard ones: you pay twice as much to be lied to.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Depends who puts them out. You are right. Some, especially by the major manufacturers, just have less of the nasty stuff. But they call it “green” so as to get the buyers who are concerned about the “not green” products. Otherwise, they might buy a “green” product from a different company.

       It is all about market share. Soda is not good for you so you should drink water. People cut back on the soda so Coke and Pepsi started selling expensive tap water in a bottle (ex. Dasani and Aquafina) and over priced water with added sugar and vitamins you don’t need (ex. Vitamin Water, Energy Brands/Glaceau, SoBe).

      But it is WATER so it must be good for you, right?

      • Bob

        Nope, your attempt to blame this on the “major manufacturers” is off base here. I found that the worst offenders were often the “green” brands (not all of them, but most).

        The basic situation is that when a chemical name has become prominent enough that people may avoid it (whether that belief is legitimate or just chemophobia), manufacturers–both traditional and green–generally try to hide those ingredients. Sometimes they rename them or reformulate them slightly to justify a new name… but some of the “green” cleaners are among the few where I’ve actually seen those names eliminated from labels entirely, so you have to go to a webpage to find out you’re buying the same stuff that you’d get with standard household chemicals.

        • Robert Riversong

          I don’t know what “green” manufacturers you’re referring to, but I’ve been buying what few such products I need for decades from the small companies that specialize in healthy products and market them almost exclusively through health-food stores and food coops. 

          These contain none of the chemicals of concern, are authentically natural – made from plants and herbs (and often without either animal products or animal testing) – and are offered fragrance-free.

    • Anonymous

      Not to be disagreeable but seriously…

      How do YOU know?

      Are you a chemist who deconstructed the chemical makeup of the products you were evaluating?

      • Bob

        I know because I read the LABELS and often saw asterisks or something, and then I went to the MANUFACTURERS website, which often gave more complete lists of ingredients.

        I don’t know about you, but when manufacturers deliberately avoid listing ingredients on a label because they want to look “greener,” I think that’s incredibly misleading.

        For the record, I am a trained chemist, but I don’t see how that’s relevant to being able to read manufacturers’ websites and compare lists of ingredients to standard products.

        • Anonymous

          Well your assertion and the assertion of the guests is that the list of chemicals on products is innacurate.

          My question is how do you know that the information even on their website is accurate if you don’t chemically test it?

          Going to a website is not science, it’s trust.  Trust that the same people you are claiming are dishonest are suddenly honest on their website.  That’s a twisted logic. 

          Either they are honest and they disclose (on product or website) or they are not.

          • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

            Not only is the list of ingredients for household products inaccurate — it’s seen by many companies as voluntary.  I used to be a SHAKLEE distributor until they refused my requests to know exactly what ingredients were in their household cleaners. I was given a list of “marketing” terms that they called these ingredients.  The rest were protected as “trade secrets”.  There is a law in New York State which requires manufactures of household cleaners to disclose their ingredients every few years and so organizations are trying to force these companies to tell what is in them that way…no luck so far with many brands.

          • Bob

            “Going to a website is not science, it’s trust.  Trust that the same people you are claiming are dishonest are suddenly honest on their website.  That’s a twisted logic. 

            Either they are honest and they disclose (on product or website) or they are not.”

            Okay — we can take this attitude that no one is ever honest, in which case we cannot buy any products ever again, because mo one (not even that little organic company up the road) can be trusted.

            Perhaps that’s where we ultimately end up, but we can at least start with a list of DISCLOSED ingredients, which may not be complete, but I would assume a company is not going to list a questionable ingredient (even on a website) unless they actually use it.

            What I’m saying is: many (not all) of the “green” products actually contain similar lists of disclosed ingredients, but some are not disclosed unless you search for the information (rather than on the container).

            That, to me, seems to be a problem for a shopper wanting to be a little more green, since the info is misleading.

            The problem of UNDISCLOSED or UNINTENTIONAL ingredients is a separate problem, which my statement was not intended to address.

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      Many products the only difference between them is the marketing, that is correct. But there are products that are safer for the environment and our health.  Every consumer has to determine their own “tipping point” – no synthetic fragrances but some cleaners that do not biodegrade?  Everything must biodegrade? Nothing but USDA Certified Organic ingredients?  Recycled packaging?  One tool is the EPA “Design for the Environment” criteria: http://www.epa.gov/dfe/
      Some products which meet with their criteria are not “green” enough for me personally, but it certainly is a good place to start if all of this is new to you.

      • Bob

        I completely agree that everyone should have their own threshold. What I’m saying is that many (not all) of the products marketed as “green” often disguise ingredients to make them sound “greener.” That’s dishonest, and regardless of what rating the product has, that isn’t allowing a consumer to make an informed choice.

  • jim

    we can talk all we want. but these cancer agents will continue to sell. the lobbyists and the 1% are just too powerful.

  • Chris

    Some 48,000 chemicals have been put into use in the U.S. in the past several decades and not one of them had to prove they are safe.

    Corporations rule.

  • John in Vermont

    From their work with pediatric cancer kids at the Imus Ranch Don and Diedre Imus became aware of this problem and founded a “really green” line of cleaning products. I’m not shilling for them but take a look at: 

    • Hugh

       Although you are not schilling the credit is to Deidre only I think.

  • Jethro

    Okay.  I get it.  Just about everything I use, green or not, may kill me.  So, please don’t spend an hour telling me that I’m going to die.  Please give me solutions, practical every day solutions.  Don’t tell me to contact my congressman or senator or local whoever.  Don’t tell me to start making my own soap by growing my own ingredients in my already overloaded organic free ranging sun free (but not too free cause I need some of those sun rays) garden. Don’t tell me to go and buy designer goat milk soap for $9.00 a bar at the local Farmer’s Market. Tell me what I can do daily, practically, to clean my home, my clothes, my children in a way that won’t threaten my life.

    Solutions, please.


      Here’s the simple solution:

      Plain water cleans just about everything that needs cleaning… when more is needed use Bon Ami and natural soap household cleaners (NO DETERGENTS).

      A dry rag, shaken OUTSIDE frequently, serves just fine when dusting.

      The sole of your shoe kills a roach just fine, you don’t need poison!

      Many natural bodysoaps are just as cheap as commercial body DETERGENTS… that’s right, most commercial body soaps are harmful detergents, not soap! When it comes to shampoo, spend the extra $3.00 for a good quality, natural shampoo, you’re worth it and you’ll see far fewer basal cell carcinomas in your lifetime.



        BTW, use the Original Formula Bon Ami, NOT the newer formula Bon Ami.

        The original fromula Bon Ami is available at any Whole Foods, and it’s cheap!

        Castille soap is a GREAT product, all natural, has been sold forever, and lathers VERY well… it will also quickly leave a heavy residue on your shower walls and /or tub… if you don’t like cleaning your shower out frequently with Bon Ami, then try an inexpensive glycerin soap instead.

        Personally, I buy an exceptional organic soap at Whole Foods… it’s 5.99 per bar, but the bars are HUGE and last twice as long as any other bar of soap. What goes directly on or in my body is worth the couple of extra buck a month, IMHO.

        • MICHIGANJF

          … that Whole Foods body soap is WF own brand label.

      • Sage07

        I agree with you. Just simple stuff our grandparents would have used. Baking soda, olive oil, lemon, natural soaps and good ole water.
        It seems common sense but we have been brainwashed.

        • BHA in Vermont

           You forgot LYE!  Not sure I want to go there, I understand it can do a pretty nasty job on your skin.

          • CHK61

             Vinegar is also a well known natural cleaner.  i agree we have been brainwashed and the average person goes into a store and thinks, well, if Clorox has this Bathroom Tub and Tile Cleaner on the shelf, well, it must be safe, right?  Wrong.  This stuff is TOXIC.  It CAN and WILL hurt you if you are not well-informed.  Years ago I purchased a bottle when I was less informed and almost choked to death when I sprayed it in a small bathroom with improper ventilation.  This strength or level of chemicals is NOT necessary to clean but people have been SWAYED by advertising to think that it IS.

      • Robert Riversong

        Water is called “the universal solvent” for a good reason. Surfactants, like oil-based soap, are needed only to clean oily surfaces.

        One of the worst things we can do to our skin is to constantly remove the natural oils which our body secretes to protect our skin (could that be the cause of increasing rates of skin cancer?).

        I’ve been bathing for the last seven years, in my outdoor wood-fired hot tub in 104° water with no soap. My skin is healthy and clean and I use only Tom’s of Maine unscented, aluminum-free deodorant on my arm pits, and Nature’s Gate herbal shampoo for my hair.

    • theresa

       google  environmental working group  .   they have a link there you can find with some searching that rates ALL products we use from green to red.  you can find  green products   and companies that make   “green”  products which in this case means they have signed a pledge NOT to use these known dangerous chemicals. this includes  moisturizer,  sunscreen, toothpaste,  soaps,  cleaning solutions, et al you can look it all up there and support  companies who are willing to make changes

    • Robert Riversong

      The “solutions” have always been available. The best solution, the one that’s too much bother for you, is to grow or make them yourself, as Americans did for generations prior to WWII (and not a few still do or are learning how to do). 

      But we don’t have to make everything we need if we rely on those conscientious – usually very small and local – manufacturers and retail outlets that offer them, such as health-food stores and food coops. They are generally a little more expensive than “conventional” (i.e. toxic) products, but you don’t need to go for the “designer” products.

      The extra incremental cost is very little compared to what we spend on health insurance and health care in the US. I’ve lived on a subsistence income for most of my 60 years but have purchased nothing but healthy products and organic food for much of that time and have spent almost zero on conventional health care.

      But the bottom line is this: most consumer products are completely unnecessary and harmful – so there is nothing “cheap” about them. Reduce your purchases to what you really need and life gets much simpler.

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      That’s a little like saying “tell me how I can reduce my risk of heart disease and strokes without having to give up my cigarettes, fast food and soda.”

      You have to take some personal responsibility.  I haven’t used anything on my body but handmade, cold-processed soap made without synthetic fragrances in probably 12-15 years and I pay about $1 an ounce for the soap. No “designer”…but yes, some of the soapmakers use their own goats milk. I buy some at the farmers market – some at Whole Foods – and some online.

      I used to make my own household cleaners with Dr. bronners, water and vinegar.  Now there are plenty of brands that are just as safe and work just as well as the corporate brands that are full of synthetic fragrances and ingredients that I would not want to enter my air or put down my drain.  I never, ever, under any circumstances use scented dryer sheets or fabric softener. 

      You can spend $10 for a pretty bottle of glass cleaner with a nice label and even some USDA Certified Organic ingredients – but you can also reuse a spray bottle you have around the house and make your own with vinegar and water.

  • Don in Quincy

    How about paints, wood glues, and caulking?

    • Robert Riversong

      That’s another subject, but I’ve taught a class in Healthy Homes and there are alternatives – mostly natural ones – that can be used in place of the petrochemical soup that we’re offered. These are the materials that have been in use for hundreds or thousands of years, but that sometimes require more regular maintenance. You can’t have both healthy and “maintenance free”. We need to maintain the health of our homes just as we do with our bodies.

      Milk (cassein) paints, lime wash, plant and mineral pigments, earthen plasters, lime or gypsum plaster, lime (instead of Portland cement) mortars, linseed oil paints and caulks and glazing compound, tung oil, hide or oxblood glues, whey-based urethane.

      Avoid all manufactured wood products, such as OSB or particleboard and as much plastic and vinyl as possible. Don’t use synthetic carpeting or padding. Provide adequately ventilation. And, once you have a relatively healthy house, don’t bring in the plethora of consumer products that most American homes contain.

      • BHA in Vermont

         I really dislike OSB and particleboard. Nothing but sawdust or wood chips and a LOT of glue. Real wood doesn’t disintegrate when it gets wet.

  • Anonymous

    So which particular evil regulations do Republican
    politicians want to do away with?

    This research would indicate that we need more here in
    consumer protection as in more regulation. By what argument should the use of these chemicals not be regulated? The right to poison consumers?

    • Robert Riversong

      Inadequate regulation is a thoroughly bi-partisan affair. But regulation is hardly the answer, since it still allows corporations to produce toxic products as long as there are adequate warnings or the toxins fall below the “regulatory threshold”. 

      Cigarettes are the perfect example. They are highly toxic products when used as intended, and also kill tens of thousands of non-smokers annually. Any sane society would criminalize their production.

  • Sam

    Where is the list?!
    I want the list of 11 that didn’t have the chemicals and the other 55 that did.

  • Anonymous

    We wanted to paint the cement floors of our loft with a not-harmful paint, did a lot of research. The information on the products are VERY confusing and to my knowledge, they all have some harmful chemicals.

  • Michiganjf

    What are you going to do? … let the government tell companies they can’t load their products with cancer-causing chemicals?!!!

    That’s nanny-state regulation!!

    You’re going to cost Americans their jobs if companies can’t sell whatever it is they create… who cares if it kills those same Americans by age 40? At least they had a job!

    Government has NO business telling companies they can’t sell cancer!

    What about all the healthcare workers who will be out of work if people stop getting cancer!

    Do all you tree-huggers want to live forever?!!!

    • Ncarrozzacd

      Cancers and autoimmune disorders are costing the country billions of dollars.  Isn’t it unfair to our children and their future fertility and health?  Manufacturing can flourish without toxins!

      • Robert Riversong

        Actually, manufacturing of consumer “goods” cannot flourish without petrochemical toxins. The secret that they don’t want you to know is that most such “goods” are bads and unnecessary, but sold to us through relentless advertising.

        It’s impossible to keep inventing new “stuff” to sell without simultaneously generating new artificial “needs”. 99% of what we buy is not only harmful but completely unnecessary to a good life.

  • BHA in Vermont


  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Then why aren’t we all dead?

    • Robert Riversong

      We are. We just haven’t noticed yet.

  • Sam

    I want to know the concrete list of what is safe.
    Just give me the list!!!

  • lisa

    Tom:  please post a link to the study. would like to read it for myself. thanks.

  • Stillin

    Have spent time with the Amish up here…no chemicals, you can eat off the floors, very clean. It’s wood, water, sun,.Very few if any, plastics. We can learn a lot from these hard working old type lifestyle people.

  • Laurie

    I have a topical allergy to parabens and many adhesives. It’s a little easier to avoid parabens, as the products containing them have to say so on the label. But I can’t always avoid the kind of adhesives that cause reactions because the products using them aren’t required to disclose their ingredients, so I’ve ended up with systemic allergic reactions to adhesive bandages and surgical dressings that appear not to bother most people. Joy.

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      ” It’s a little easier to avoid parabens, as the products containing them have to say so on the label.”

      Actually they don’t.  The synthetic parabens in cosmetics are listed by their recognized preservative name, but there are ingredients such as japanese honeysuckle extract which contain naturally occuring parabens, and the manufacturer does not have to list them on the label.  In fact, some of these companies are even marketing their products as “paraben free”.

  • Adks12020

    Ok, there are chemicals present in everything. I think most of us know that.  I would ask that the guests please focus more on what the possible effects of the chemicals are.  So far all I’ve heard about effects is related to estrogenic chemicals.  What are the safety issues related to parabens? fragrances? etc.  We know they are there.  Now please explain what they will, or may, do to our bodies? Other than breast cancer.

  • Rebecca

    What is the connection between liver function and a person’s ability to metabolize and be more resistant to these chemicals? The liver is at such risk with these chemicals, and everything from mood disorders to cancer is (to my understanding) associated with poor liver function.

  • Anonymous

    Ask your guest to differentiate between sunscreens like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide and the rest of the chemicals.

    This statement that ALL sunscreens are bad is BS.

  • cambridge_mom

    Here’s the link to the list of products tested and the ones that are recommended as alternatives: http://www.silentspring.org/pdf/our_research/product-names.pdf

    However – most of the alternatives are 2-3 times more expensive than there common counterparts.  It’s a tough choice for people that are trying to keep to a budget – especially if you have children.

    • Robert Riversong

      “This study represents only a small fraction of consumer products and a small number of the chemicals used in products. In addition, since manufacturers are constantly reformulating their products and products may vary in different regions of the U.S., results from these tests may not apply to current products on the shelves. The study combined the conventional products into composite samples for testing, so results for conventional products cannot be linked to a specific product.”

      Everyone wants “the list” – to be told what to buy or not buy. But this was a very limited study and can in no way substitute for common sense and good judgement.

      As for the cost of healthy products, we should rather be asking “what is the cost of using toxic products?”.  We spend more on what passes for “health care” per capita than any nation on earth, and yet have far poorer outcomes than most “advanced” nations.

  • Anonymous

    I am currently undergoing chemotherapy, and I feel like a walking chemical plant. Suddenly, artificial flavors, scents, and ingredients make me want to throw up. I always thought that the “earthy-crunchy” products were an unaffordable luxury, but now they seem a lot more attractive. I have no problem making the effort now to find the right stuff, but it makes me upset that companies make it so difficult.

    • Robert Riversong

      Mainstream and large corporations make it difficult. There are myriad small, often local, companies making healthy and truly natural products. Those are the ones we should be supporting with our money, as well as the small, local retailers who provide them.

  • Anonymous

    ZINC OXIDE – is not this a safe sunscreen…… major ingredient in Desitin…. I put it on my face when I go out on my boat… also wear long sleeve white men’s shirts etc.  

    • Robert Riversong

      Yes, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are inorganic metal oxides which are believed to be safe, since they are not absorbed into the skin. But beware of other ingredients.

      The best protection from the sun is from opaque clothing or opaque coatings, such as zinc oxide.

  • bluestocking

    As below: where is the list of safest (if not totally safe) specific products?

  • Kaba

    What are the “safe” products you tested? As a consumer – do I have any choices that are relatively safe?

  • theresa weir

    google “environmental working group”  they  rates all of our products  from green to red and you CAN PURCHASE sunscreen et al by companies who promise NOT to include known  carcinogens et al in them.   they have signed a pledge
        it is more expensive, but you CAN PURCHASE better products!!!!

    • Sam

      This study tested the “alternative” sun screen products.
      The 5 samples that they tested, ALL came up containing these harmful chemicals.

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      First of all, the EWG rates products and ingredients based on a very, very limited pool of data. So in many cases, you are not getting a complete picture.  There are many errors in the data itself – the same ingredient by different names being given completely different scores for one.  Ingredients that do not actually exist, scored.  And ingredients with abundent data, being identified as having a “100% Data Gap”.  It’s like going to a store and not finding what you want – and concluding the item you are shopping for, must not exist.  The additional problem with “Skin Deep” is they give a “ZERO” score to ingredients they have decided are safe – based on their limited data.  But they also give a score of “ZERO” risk to ingredient with no data. SO…some companies are formulating products with all ZERO ingredients, using that as their marketing slogan, but in reality — some of their ingredients are NOT proven safe…they are simply not evaluated based on ALL the available data. The scores are also only factoring in hazards and do not factor in benefits at all.  So an ingredient that might have an enormous benefit to the skin that might also have a slight risk of allergy…will appear in Skin Deep as an ingredient that is a risk because of allergies.

      • theresa

         Yes but at least they are trying. If you donate some money to them,   they can do more.  We need at least one place that is trying and that is also encouraging companies to sign the compact not to include certain known dangerous things in their products……

  • Elizabeth

    It’s disconcerting to me that we want to, and assume that the government is protecting us from toxic chemicals and they’re not.  Our regulatory system is clearly broken if we have hundreds of products with cancer-causing chemicals in them.

    My question is, how many of these chemicals don’t serve any practical purpose, chemicals  that we can and should do without, like toxic fragrances, vs those that might offer some tangible benefit?

    • Robert Riversong

      How many of these chemicals can we do without? All of them. We lived good lives for many generations without them – perhaps better lives because we enjoyed making for ourselves what we truly needed or trading with neighbors.

      The regulatory system is not “broken” – it works exactly as it was intended: to protect industry by preventing them from going too far out of bounds. The anti-corporate movement that began in rock-ribbed conservative rural PA, discovered this after years of trying to stop corporate malfeasance through enforcement of regulations through the courts. They discovered that the only way to stop corporate malfeasance was to outlaw corporations.

  • Nancy

    BisPhenol A is in all our lazor printed receipts, and we touch them all the time.  Think of sales people.  According to earlier tests, you can not wash it off your hands! If you google BisPhenol A, you can find the tests.

  • Kim from Charlotte, Vermont

    I grew up thinking that if I needed to clean windows, I had to use window cleaner. A few years ago I heard about using vinegar and, lo and behold, it works so much better than window cleaner! When did we get convinced that our tried and true old methods were no good so that a generation grew up not knowing them, not knowing there was a choice?

    • Sam

      We used to spring clean our windows in Russia about twice per year.

      We used to use soapy water first, then plain newspaper to dry it up. Works great! There are no streaks, and it’s free.
      The only thing is that the inc will rub off on your hands.

      Don’t know how safe that is. :)

      • BHA in Vermont

         AFAIK, black newspaper ink is water based and non toxic. Presumably quite safe and effective as a weed barrier in the garden. Instead of putting it in the trash or recycle bin, let it compost naturally in between the rows of veggies!

    • Robert Riversong

      When did we get convinced that our tried and true methods were no good? It began after WWI and accelerated dramatically with the growth of the middle class after WWII. And it began with a very clever man named Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who created the “public relations” (i.e. advertising) industry.

      “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of the country. [....] We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. [....] It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind [....] in its sum total, [propaganda] is regimenting the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments the bodies of its soldiers. [....] If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will, without their knowing it?[....] Ours must be a leadership democracy administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses.”

      - Extracts from Edward Bernays’ ‘Propaganda’, 1928

      • BHA in Vermont

         Apparently Sigmund wanted to understand the human psyche and Edward wanted to exploit it.

  • Sam

    So, here is the list of ingredients from my “organic” lotion.
    None of these I saw on the list from the study, but how do I know for sure? What if one ingredient just used under a different name?!

    cetaryl alcohol,
    cetyl palmitate,
    c12-15 alkyl benzoate,
    decyl oleate,
    glyceril stearate,
    steric acid,
    butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter,
    tocopheryl acetate,
    helianthus annus (sunflowerseed) oil,
    isopropyl myristate.
    sodium hydroxide,
    tetrasodium edta,
    diazolidinyl urea,

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      I can pretty much guarantee that lotion is not USDA Certified Organic.  Those are all correct ingredient names. The only ingredient which reflects “hidden” components is “FRAGRANCE” because the actual formula is a protected trade secret.

  • Anonymous

    How safe are canned beers?  Many breweries are now switching to cans and I think they have a plastic film inside.

    • Robert Riversong

      Canned beer is far safer, because when you wreck your car driving drunk, you won’t have beer bottles smashing all around you.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Someone with chemical sensitivities pointed me yesterday to the books by Dr. Sherry Rogers, especially Detoxify or Die, published 2004, I think, sold out at amazon.  If anyone wants to check it out.  Amazon has five star reviews by the five or six hundred.  

    • Ellen Dibble

      Here is a link to a 1998 book.  People have known you can overflow the barrel with toxins and see your body go ballistic, get immunologically confused, since the 1980s and the era of air-tight new construction, locking in any problematic breathables.  

      • Robert Riversong

        The “toxic house” syndrome has nothing to do with air-tight construction, which is necessary both for an efficient home and a healthy home (reduces infiltration of outdoor pollution and ground radon).

        But any house, tight or not, built from toxic materials and then filled with toxic furniture, toxic cleaning and body products and toxic people (smokers, e.g.) IS the problem.

        House toxins include:

        • BIOLOGICALS : dust mites, mold spores, mildew, pollen, animal dander, bacteria, viruses

        • GASES : formaldehyde, combustion by-products, volatile organic compounds

        • METALS : lead paint, arsenic (used to be in) in treated lumber

        • MINERALS : asbestos, fiberglass insulation, airborne calcium particles from humidifiers

        • RADIATION : radon, electromagnetic fields, radioactive material in some smoke detectors and compact fluorescent lights

        • VAPORS : mercury vapor from biocides in paints. Excess water vapor can cause an increase in biologicals and outgassing of formaldehyde

        The EPA has determined that indoor air pollution is one of the top 5 environmental risks to public health, and Americans spend, on average, 90% of their time indoors!

        I’ve been building healthy AND tight homes for 30 years with non-toxic materials. All new homes are required to have mechanical ventilation to maintain indoor air quality and reduce moisture accumulation (which causes toxic mold, encourages dust mites and accelerates formaldehyde outgassing).

  • Dave

    Some years ago, I read about a study of chemicals that had been deemed “safe” in very low concentrations (i.e., parts per million) in the environement.  The researchers took the “safe” chemical solutions and further diluted them by about 1000 times(to parts per billion).  They very same chemicals became very highly carcinogenic at the LOWER concentrations.  So those who think that dilution or “low levels” in products equals safety had better think again.

    • Robert Riversong

      Of course this is what some researchers discovered about radiation exposure: there is not safe threshold level.

      What you’re describing is also the much-maligned basis for the healing arts of homeopathy. Extreme dilutions actually potentate compounds to be more effective.

      Modern science is rediscovering this with nano-technology.

  • Susan

    Where can I find the list of products that DID NOT have the dangerous chemicals in them?  Thank  you for your work!  Susan in Vermont

  • Sam

    When it says “fragrance” on the list, does that automatically mean that its BAD?

    I mean, I probably won’t be able to find a lotion that doesn’t have fragrance, and if it doesn’t, what if it has other BAD things?

    • Sage07

       There are decent lotions out there(Burt’s bees)  but I just use natural products. Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil(all cold pressed), cocoa butter-food grade. I melt the cocoa butter and add olive oil and then you have a nice salve. Just one ingredient in them all. Plus they all smell great, no need for synthetic fragrances. You can always add essential oils for a nice smell.

      • Sam

        Thank you, I will definitely look into this.

        I knew about the baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, making my own laundry detergent, but it’s the lotions that i wasn’t sure about.

        Thank you for the info.

    • BHA in Vermont

       That would be the problem. “fragrance” is generic. It could be a man made petrochemical cocktail or it could be squeezed out of a plant. Thus, those of us who are highly sensitive avoid ANYTHING with the word “fragrance” in the ingredient list or read VERY carefully.

      There are fragrance free lotions, just Google the phrase.  The top 3 hits (the paid ads) are all from name brands you will recognize. As one would expect, the items with fragrance FAR outnumber fragrance free choices but hopefully the scales will tip more in the favor of fragrance free products so we have more choices.

      There is absolutely NOTHING in our house that was manufactured with fragrance.

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      No.  The word ‘fragrance’ can mean synthetic fragrance or natural fragrances like those from essential oils. HOWEVER…knowing that most consumers who want to avoid synthetic fragrance will assume the worst, products that are not using synthetic fragrance will instead either list the correct INCI name for the actual individual fragrance ingredients, or they will clarify the listing of fragrance somewhere else on the label.  But if all it says is fragrance — it’s synthetic fragrance, and it is estimated that 95% of synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals.  There are ZILLIONS of brands of lotions that do not contain synthetic fragrances!

  • Slbechh

     thanks for posting!

  • Anonymous

    Even if the chemicals are not harmful, they still end up in Waste Water. 

    Waste Water Treatment Facilities are not capable of keeping up with all the new chemicals companies are coming out with in their filtration process so these chemicals remain in the water.

    If you live near DC and get your water from the Potomac river, for example, you are being exposed to chemicals someone else is using upstream from you, in your water.

    People aren’t dying because of Shampoo because you don’t drink Shampoo.  But the chemicals in the Shampoo are ending up in your drinking/dish washing/showering water.  Whole house water filters are highly recommended and they should be installed BEFORE your hot water heater.

    • Robert Riversong

      Whole house filters are helpful also if they can remove chlorine and fluoride. But this is merely a prophylactic measure to prevent personal exposure to the toxic world outside that we’ve created through our ignorance, arrogance and greed.

      We cannot survive long in relatively non-toxic havens within a toxic environment. Nor will the millions of other species which are going extinct at 1,000 times the normal rate due to human impacts.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Geez I always knew that there are harmful chemicals in our products. What do you think they’re made of?

  • Rex

    SIMPLE GREEN. I use it on everything.

  • Andrea

    There are lots of non-chemical solutions for personal care, For example, you can use apple cider vinegar for hair conditioner. People don’t need to use so many personal care products. Yet another failure of unrestrained capitalism…the creation of a population of consumers brainwashed to happily slather themselves in carcinogens every day. 

  • Juliethist

    Use Greening The Cleaning products.  Deirdre Imus has been all over this for years!!!

  • Abbot

    Could you speak to the difference between regulations in the EU   vs the US?

    • theresa

       terry gross did a whole show on this.    in the EU they have to PAY if you get cancer so they regulate this crap. In this country if you get cancer you only bring down yourself and your family who goes broke trying to help you but no cost to the government so  why regulate?
      google her show  there was another author who wrote a book on this topic in the last  1-2 years I think

  • Robert Riversong

    Since the start of the “modern age”, we have created 80,000 petrochemicals that never before existed on earth and with which neither humans nor any other living thing evolved.

    We produce 250 million tons of these every year. 17,000 of these chemicals are available for home use, though only 30% have been tested for safety.

    The average American house has 63 synthetic chemicals in household products, as much as 10 gallons, and there are 145 of these chemicals found in the human bloodstream, while the FDA requires nothing more than warning labels.

    We have been brainwashed by advertising to believe in “better living through chemistry”, but the reality is that all petrochemicals are dangerous to both human health and the natural environment (just as all petrochemical fuels are damaging to the earth’s atmosphere and climate).

    The only way to return to health and ecological balance is to stop using artificial chemicals. The government regulators will not adequately protect either human health or the environment, so we have to make more healthy choices. Only by no longer giving our money to the corporations who are killing us for profit will any change happen. 

  • Alyssa

    The best organic lotion in unrefined coconut oil. For soap use Dr. Bronners, eat simple food, cook at home and use glass. It’s a lifestyle change, but it’s not as complicated as we sometimes make it.

    Let’s keep talking about it!

  • Matt

    What about light weight long sleeve clothes like people in tropical countries wear? Silk? Light cotton?

    • Matt

      As far as keeping the sun off of people’s skin goes.

    • Robert Riversong

      Cotton is a wonderful fiber for clothes, but most cotton is grown “conventionally” and often – because it is not a food product – with a higher concentration of chemicals than any other agricultural product. Destroying the environment in order to wear “healthy” clothing is no solution.

  • Kishka4

    Environmental Working Group has been studying this for years. Check here for what chemicals are in individual beauty products, with a ratings system: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/. And here for more info on lots of products: http://www.ewg.org/.

    • theresa

       THANK  YOU   why won’t tom mention this on the show???? Tom are you reading? this website is FANTASTIC!!!!

  • Nkorths

    i use organic products as much as possible; Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, biodegrable detergents, essential oils. I wear non synthetic clothing as much as possible, I eat organic as much as possible, I very rarely sit in the sun for long periods of time. What’s the big deal? All the products u need r available. Buy them.
    Nadia, Saranac Lake, NY

  • Cerisinc

    Chemicals are definately present here in Ga. We were told that our little kids, 5 year old and a two year old were small for their age because they were well below the weight average for their peers. Little girs here are very well developed, over developed in fact and the boys are huge.

    In my house we eat very conciously. We don’t harbor junk foods or processed foods in the house. In fact if we indulge at some resturants even, we all tend to get sick, so we avoid a lot as a result.

    I suspect that the companies producing foods, in an effort to be cost effective, are producing poison.

  • John In Vermont

    Go to your local bookstore (or Amazon) and get “The Naturally Clean Home” with 100 safe and easy herbal formulas for keeping you home and life clean.  The starter kit is: baking soda, vinegar and castille soap. You add the following essential oils to them: tea tree, citrus, citronella, wintergreen, lavender & thyme.  You can find all these at a food co-op near you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    When I was in the Philippines island women uses Aloe plant to condition their hair. they never use shampoo. if i have a cut or bruise I used Guave leaf, If i have a stomach ache I used ipil-ipil plant. I used a lot of medicinal plant. I even use guava to chew to clean my teeth. I eat a lot of fish and organic vegetables that are free from chemicals (farmers cannot afford them) and cow where skinny but very very nutritious because they only eat grass no additives or chemical feeds.

    • Robert Riversong

      Most “moderns” will be disgusted, but in traditional cultures all around the world urine was used (and still is) for hair care. 

      Because of our prejudices, we don’t know that urine is generally sterile (unless you have a kidney or urinary tract infection) and is an effective natural antibiotic.

      Some traditional healers recommend ingesting urine as a curative for a variety of ailments and for the general maintenance of health. It can also sustain life if you have no access to water.

      Urine is 95% water, 2.5% urea and the remaining 2.5% is a mixture of minerals, salts, hormones and enzymes – all vital nutrients.

  • Aichare

    Hi Tom, Thank you for this topic: I’d like to know if these chemicals are biproducts or waste chemicals that find thier way into out household products? Is this just a way to use a otherwise waste product and not have to pay to dispose of it properly?  Harold in Buffalo, ny

    • Robert Riversong

      Fluoride is a waste product from the aluminum and nuclear industries. A clever way to dispose of it is to put it in municipal water supplies and claim that it prevents cavities.

  • Liane

    This problem is so vast that you can’t get your mind around it. I use to try to avoid chemicals about 15 years ago when I first heard of the work Silent Spring Institute was doing, but at some point it seems hopeless. The chemical industry has so much money and power.

    • Robert Riversong

      You have all the power you need to make your own choices and spend your money on healthy products. It does require some re-education and shutting off the TV.

  • Nicky Corrao

    There are lots of alternatives to the chemical laden products that we are brainwashed into thinking we need to be “clean and bacterial free”!  

    I am chemically sensitive and can smell laundry products on people 10 feet away from me. We are in danger of losing true FRESH AIR and pure water.  For instance every one one of the chemicals used in fragrances are pumped into our air and washed down the drain into our ground water every time we wash and dry our clothes. 

    I have read from a reliable source that there can be up to 600 chemicals in one fragrance. There is NO regulation of these fragrances! 

    Please, everyone, you can start reducing your risk by buying fragrance free laundry, bodycare and household cleaning products.  You will be doing the earth and it’s inhabitants a huge favor!   Nicky, Vermont

    • Robert Riversong

      “We are in danger of losing true FRESH AIR and pure water.”

      You cannot find unpolluted air or water anywhere on earth. The “waste” products and other environmental impacts of what we call “civilization” have already irrevocably shifted the earth’s climate and initiated the sixth great extinction of species. It will take the earth probably 10 million years to recover from the damage we’ve already caused.

      All we can do at this point is reduce future impacts by more intelligent lifestyle choices, and stop having children.

  • Ginger

    What does it take to get the government to wake up and regulate toxic chemicals? I get migraines from products which have an “odor” to them. (Note my choice of words “odor” not perfume which was artfully used for consumerism). Besides migraine suffers, many people have asthma with attacks triggered by such substances.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      You can’t

      • Robert Riversong

        Quite true. US government, for at least 150 years, has been in service to its corporate masters (even Abe Lincoln warned about this, as did Jefferson and Madison before him, and Jackson, Hayes, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson and FDR).

        Either we make our own choices and cease expecting government to protect us, or we fundamentally alter the nature of our government – first by passing a constitutional amendment to abolish the obscenity of corporate personhood.

        See my five-part essay on The Myth of Corporate Personhood at http://riversong.wordpress.com/myth-of-corporate-personhood/

  • Sam

    So, were there NO sunscreens, even super organic, children’s ones, that are somewhat safe to use?

    Thank you

  • Kelly

    I was surprised to see Tea Tree oil and lavender on your list of products to avoid. I clicked through and could not find information about the problem with these ingredients. Can you explain more about why we should avoid lavender and tea tree oil? Thank you.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Tee Tree Oil has chemicals in it. everything you buy that are bottled and manufactured have chemicals in them

      • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

        Everything has chemicals in it – water, vinegar, olive oil.  Tea Tree essential oil has to be used with caution because like any other ingredient – if it has the power to heal, for some people it has the power to harm.  We warn everyone about peanuts in food… but it is only dangerous if you have a peanut allergy.  Some essential oils while generally perfectly safe (if they are the real thing and not a synthetic fragrance labeled as if it is actually a true essential oil) but there are chemicals in these ingredients that for some people cause an allergic reaction.  Information out of context, such as ‘warning’ about tea tree or lavender, is not helpful or scientifically accurate.

    • Anonymous

      I’m also mystified by the lavender, tea tree oil not so much as I don’t use it. Lavender I use a lot.
      Dr Bronner’s makes a liquid soap with lavender.

      • Robert Riversong

        Use organic, cold-pressed essential oils from a reliable – not a mainstream greenwashing – company.

  • Elaine

    I  married a man, a biologist, from a Mediterranean country. He has always condemned the household products, skin products and perfumes we westerners use and how detrimental they are to human health. Equally strong is his opinion of processed foods and eating foods out of season and coming from areas so far away that they need some form of long-term preservation. Hence, we do perfectly fine without any of these things and have raised healthy, attractive, creative and “un-smelly” children. If people want to do without all these products, they certainly can and will definitely feel better for it.

    • Robert Riversong

      I’m so sorry you got involved with a sensible man. You must feel so deprived. How do your kids have any fun at the mall or the supermarket?  

  • Tncanoeguy

    We continue to use these products because of cultural expectations – fresh scent, clean bright clothes.  Same thing with fashion.  Why do women wear high heals even though these shoes are bad for them?  

    • BHA in Vermont

       Simple: advertizing :)

  • http://www.UrsaMajorMen.com/ Oliver

    This is EXACTLY the reason we started Ursa Major! http://www.UrsaMajorMen.com Thank you for shedding more light on this important public issue.

  • John in Vermont

    Once again Vermont leads here with Seventh Generation products and the Vermont Soap Company with great, all-natural bar and liquid soaps.  Again, I’m not shilling, just saying…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Please watch Food Inc

    this documentary film is awesome it will explain how America is all about process food.

  • Ncarrozzacd

    There are only a few sunscreens that are allowed on coral reefs…I’ve been assuming that if they can’t destroy delicate reefs then they must be less toxic!  Now I’m not so sure.  One of these products is by the Mexitan company (You can purchase this on Amazon)…It’s called ‘Tropical Sands’ sunscreen lotion.  It contains Zinc and Titanium dioxide, safflower oil, coconut oil, and green tea. The lotion isn’t greasy. Every other sunscreen I’ve looked at is packed with chemicals, even the ones at Health stores…P.S. I’m not affiliated with this company!  

  • Sam

    I cannot find a link to the list of the safe 11 products.
    Please provide.

    Also, I used to use Tom’s of Maine deodorant, but by the end of 6 hours, I am stinky! It does not work as well as the other deodorants.

    • Robert Riversong

      Don’t blame the deodorant. Blame your lifestyle. You can’t wash off the skin’s natural oils every day with soap and expect a mild natural deodorant to protect you from bacterial growth.

      I’ve been using Tom’s unscented, aluminum-free deodorant for decades and don’t smell. But I use NO soap on my skin and bath once a week in my hot tub.

  • Pauldesenne

    ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCES ARE THE WORST, I was typing as she talked about it. Very toxic. 

  • Sam
  • Dh001g

    What about products that meet stricter EU standards?

  • Tncanoeguy

    Ah, but there is chemistry our bodies are used to seeing over evolutionary time, and new chemistry that we are not accustomed to – that’s the problem.  

    • Robert Riversong

      Exactly. Since the start of the petroleum age, we’ve introduced 80,000 chemicals that never existed before on earth.

  • Corib3

    What about the scents in candles?  How are those derived and are they dangerous to breathe in?

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      Paraffin is made from petrochemicals and many (most) people in the natural products industry do feel petrochemical ingredients are hazardous to our health and the environment.  Synthetic fragrances are absolutely dangerous to breath in!

      • BHA in Vermont

         It isn’t the paraffin in the candles that smells, it is the man made VOCs that are added to make them smell ‘nice’. But there are always beeswax for truly natural candles.

        And yes, if you have chemical sensitivities, the scents are dangerous to breathe in. They may not cause cancer (I have no idea), but they can cause allergic reactions, like rashes and headaches.

  • Pinyochon

    Could you please ask your guest to comment about perfoumes and colonges in the market?  Thank you.

    • Robert Riversong

      Why would you think you have to disguise your natural odor with perfumes?

  • Sam

    She says DO NOT PANIC!!!

    I am on my way to the organic co-op right now to get some castile soap and when I get home, throw away the rest!!! :)

    Do not panic!

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      DO NOT throw products away – if you are concerned save them for hazardous waste day or something like that.  Flushing things down the drain and into our waterways or adding these products to the landfill is not an answer.

  • Sage07

    Wow, this subject really resonates with me. I always wonder why we don’t have A March for wellness vs a War against cancer. While looking for a cancer cure is valuable what about cutting out all the chemicals in our food and environment that are causing it. The book The 100 Year lie is a good read about how chemicals are unregulated over the last 100 years.
    My son has allergies and asthma and I am chemical sensitive
    with a degree in Chemistry so I have some knowledge of chemicals and worked in testing chemicals for years.

    We use natural cleaning products, baking soda, lemon, vinegar,
    Dr Bronner’s soap, olive oil.
    As someone else mentioned I can not walk down the “cleaning” isle of the grocery store without holding my breath.
    I think all our schools should use only natural cleaning products! My advice is only use products that you know what is in them. Where a hat, light shirt and stay in the shade and get your hour in the sun. I never use bug spray or sunscreen.

    • Robert Riversong

      Why don’t we “march for wellness” instead of waging a “war on cancer”?

      Because “health care” is an extremely profitable enterprise, while the maintenance of health costs next to nothing but has the greatest return on investment that we can ever make.

  • Sam

    It has the list of products that they tested, but I still cannot find the 11 that are safe(ER)

  • Ellen@schoenfeld.com

    Have you ever smelled sheets that have dried in the sun? No substitute!

    • Tncanoeguy

       I dry clothes outside, particularly in the warmer months – then my family complains about stiff clothes.  I tell them to get over it. 

      • Sam

         Yeah, that works when you have your own house, not so well when you are renting.

        Also, what about all the yacky stuff in the air? Won’t they settle on your clothes?

        The gases from the car, dust/dirt, pollen, etc..

        • Robert Riversong

          Yes, outdoor pollution is a problem. But don’t imagine for a minute that the same pollutants are not inside your house along with the many more you bring inside.

          EPA tests have determined that indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor urban air.

      • Robert Riversong

        Dry them outdoors when there’s a breeze and they’ll be soft (like tumbling in a dryer). You can also dry clothes outdoors in the winter – they freeze dry and take a little longer.

    • Aichare

      I actually get excited when I get a breezy and sunny laundry day….

  • Ellen Dibble

    I missed some (Obama had a little speech live) — but I wonder about this, which again I was discussing yesterday.  The question was why one in a family with similar exposures falls apart under the siege of toxins, and another — in that case the one who smoked her entire life — does fine.  The recommendation is that you need to keep smoking as a kind of flu shot to prevent toxic intolerance.   We both have huge cadmium in our bodies and suffer from it, neither of us having ever smoked.  The ones submerged in the toxin do better.  I have also heard that it’s safer to bathe in I think it was DDT or something else horrible, better than small exposures.  The body listens really hard to something small in the environment.  If it sees a big threat, it defends itself.  Something like that.

    • Robert Riversong

      Second-hand cigarette smoke is often worse than smoking because the smoke is not filtered.

  • Rex

    I disagree with the caller saying it is the consumer’s fault. That’s like saying poor people are at fault for being fat when bad foods are cheaper. It’s there, it’s easy, people will buy it.

    The regular consumer doesn’t care and the manufacturer will put in whatever they need to cut costs and get the cleaning job done. This needs to start from the top.

    • Susan

       I agree that it’s not the consumer’s fault and I don’t agree that consumers don’t care. I have found in my zeal to spread the word about how to choose products based on rules that 1) consumers don’t really know that products may be unsafe, 2) consumers are loyal to fragrances- clean smells like pine, or bleach or lemon 3) consumers are unaware that advertising influences them to the extent it does. Many people are inspired by what I teach, but they don’t change their behavior. It’s a conscious decision to change behavior.

      • BHA in Vermont

         We only have so much time in our lives. Hunting up the fragrance free and gluten free things in the store is a pain – most of the time you have to read the ingredient list. Some stores at least put MOST of the GF stuff together. But Kiss My Face fragrance free shaving cream (now I wonder what bad stuff might be in it even though it has no fragrance!!) is in with the ‘regular’ stuff, not over in the ‘healthy/natural’ area where most of the ‘safer’ hygiene products live.

        I can only hope that the fragrance free thing will get big enough that the stores will have sections JUST for that. You can imagine the fun trying to find the few fragrance free things in the cleaning aisle while holding your breath. Or having to go past the stinky candles to get to the cat food.

        Actually, even the cat litter area is a problem. Have to be careful there too as most of the litters are loaded with stink (and that is BEFORE the cat uses it :) ). Stink does NOT stay in the boxes/plastic bottles, etc. We scoop our litter boxes at least once a day and you wouldn’t know we
        have cats from smelling the air in the house. Another case where
        fragrance IS NOT NEEDED.

        And Arm & Hammer Unscented is NOT fragrance free, only the Fragrance Free version is (except the time they apparently filled the box I bought with the ‘unscented’ stuff).

    • Robert Riversong

      It’s not the consumer’s fault, but it is the consumer’s responsibility to be well-informed and to make good choices. We suffer under the illusion (one of many) that cheap is inexpensive. If eating cheap food and using cheap products costs you your health, then nothing could be more expensive.

  • Diana

    please name some brands that are safe!!  thank you 

  • Sabuj Pattanayek

    need an app that tells us what chemicals are bad on labels (e.g. similar to fooducate)

    • Gs

      This is a GREAT idea!

  • Troy

    Unfortunatley this brings us to the same problem we see with food that best for you – cost. The mass majority of the people who are purchasing these types of products are buying the best deal or cheapest product because it’s what they can afford. It’s easy for those of us who can afford green products to bemoan the purchase of products with chemicals but until everyone can afford the safe green version, we cannot expect people to take a stand at the checkout line.

    • Robert Riversong

      We suffer under the illusion that cheap is inexpensive. If eating cheap food and using cheap products costs you your health, then nothing could be more expensive.

      We live in a society which has internalized profits while externalizing costs. If we paid the true social and environmental cost of “cheap” products, no one would buy them, and the healthy products would be dirt cheap in comparison.

  • Nora

    What about bulk distribution, don’t the plastic containers cause chemicals to leach into products as they sit in stores and distribution centers? Also I have an allergy to the antibacterial soaps and as a nurse I am not allowed to use my own soap at work as joint commission requires no outside products in the units I work in. I do sneak my own soap in but it’s not really allowed. When the hospital is being visited by jacho my hands are on fire and broken pitons rash.

  • Susan

    Trying to call in: I’ve been trying to educate locally in Massachusetts and via national webinars for consumers to use rules for selecting cleaning products vs. being influenced by advertising. Using the rules of my Pollution reduction initiative eliminates all of the concerns listed by the gals at Silent Spring.
    Please see:http://butafullife.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html.

  • VermontMom

    We never use soap with tricolsan in it, but I’ve recently discovered that triclosan is in MANY toothpastes.  UGH.  Should not be allowed.  Why are companies putting this stuff in products that KIDS use?

    • Susan

        Triclosan is actually in over 1500 consumer products from toothbrushes
      to clothing. It’s insidiously promoting consumer’s fear of germs.

    • Robert Riversong

      I use NutriBiotic Dental Gel with grapefruit seed extract (the most potent natural antiseptic), aloe vera, vitamin C and baking soda. I use Jason Healthy Mouth wash with tea tree oil, echinacea, golden seal, grapefruit extract and cinnamon and clove. 

      I no longer go to the dentist.

  • Corib3

    Fabulous book on Do-It-Yourself for making easy things like shampoo and cleaning spray.  It’s ridiculously easy and pretty fun too…

    • Gordon

      Thanks for posting this. I’ve been making my own cleaning solution from vinegar and soap for years. It costs next to nothing and does as good or better a job than the high priced chemical factories in a bottle.

  • Ginger

    ewg.org does a great job of listing the chemicals and what effect they have on your body for personal care items and ingredients and the toxicity of them too! http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com! thanks for sharing this important information everyone should know about this issue!!! it appears that the manufacturers of these products do as that is where ewg gets their information to add to the database! also a teen in rhode island and her family have started a non-toxic line of products…www.avaandersonnontoxi.com/ginger for more information! thanks on point!

    • Ginger

      i have moved from severe asthma to no sign of it since only using non-toxic products from http://www.avaandersonnontoxic.com/ginger (sorry put in the address wrong!)

      • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

        Ava Anderson sells baby products with an ingredient hazardous to children under 3:

        The company sells perfumes labeled as “essential oils” but which contain ingredients labeled as “Amber Musk” and “Lily of the Valley”; ingredients which do not exist as essential oils.  These products might as well be labeled “FRAGRANCE” since the ingredient names are no more transparent. 

        And some of the ingredients, if they actually are true essential oils and not a synthetic version, are actually BANNED or SEVERELY RESTRICTED by the IFRA (ex. Massoia Bark and Oakmoss).

        The “essential oil” perfumes contain dilutents and carrier oils which are not identified as such on the website list of ingredients.  This company also does not disclose the 26 allergins as required by the EU Cosmetics Directive.

        And finally, and most serious, Ava Anderson Non Toxic sells an illegal product; “Hand Sanitizer” which is in violation of the FDA rules for over-the-counter drugs, presenting a potentially life threatening risk for consumers who use this product instead of an FDA approved product!

  • Sam

    Here we go, here is the list of 11 products:

    cat litter – Here’s the Scoop! Natural Unscented Clay Clumping Litter
    (Healthy Pet Foods, Inc)

    diapers – Chlorine Free Diapers
    (Seventh Generation)

    scrubbing powder – Polishing Cleanser No Chlorine, Perfume or Dye (Bon Ami)

    dishwasher detergent – Free & Clear Automatic Dishwashing Detergent
    (Seventh Generation)

    dish liquid – Free & Clear Natural Dish Liquid
    (Seventh Generation)

    deodorant – Natural Long-lasting Deodorant Stick Aluminum-Free Unscented
    (Tom’s of Maine)

    shower curtain − cotton – Pure Cotton Shower Curtain
    (Bean Products Inc.)

    shower curtain − nylon – Ultimate Nylon Shower Curtain or Liner (Excell Home Fashions)

    castile soap – Unscented Baby-Mild Pure-Castile Soap
    (Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps)

    olive oil – Extra Light Olive Oil

    hair spray –
    Fragrance Free Hair Spray for the Fragrance Sensitive
    (Magick Botanicals)

    • Susan

       I noticed that on brands that are available in common stores are listed. Shaklee, Amway, Clean Team, Imus Greening the Clean have cleaners too. I use the Shaklee cleaners and am very happy with them. I especially like that I add the water at home and am not shipping water around the country.

      • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

        Can you tell us exactly what ingredients are in Shaklee cleaners like H2?  When I was a distributor, I tried to find out for my customers and was unable.  All I got was generic answers like “from nature”.  Also, I know from my time working within the cosmetics industry that any time you add water to a product, it will grow bacteria…potentially lethal bacteria…unless it is formulated in such a way that the bacteria that grow will die, instead of being sprayed all over our kitchen counters.

        So how exactly is the product preserved once the consumer dilutes the concentrate as directed?  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    An organic farmer from Vermont was featured in Food Inc.
    He still butcher his chickens in open field and feed cows Only wirh grass.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pugfriend Jenn Ulschak

      Yes! Polyface Farms! That’s Joel Salatin! He’s AWESOME!!! :)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        YES!!! that’s his name. thanks

    • Sam

      Joel Salatin

      We use consume organic local meats and vegetables only. I belong to the local CSA for vegetables and split a meat share with another family once per month, and stocked up on chicken and pork from the summer local market.

      It’s doable because my family is just 2 ppl (single mom with a toddler) and I can see this being more difficult for bigger families/different areas.

    • BHA in Vermont

       Apparently that is Virginia not Vermont. I was going to look him up, but VA is a long way from VT.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Food Inc said he’s from Vermont but I think they meant he is building an organic farm in Vermont. I should watch Food Inc again to clarify.

      • Robert Riversong

        Yup. Joel Salatin farms in the Shenandoah Valley. But Vermont has:

        • the most CSAs per capita
        • the most certified organic farmers per capita
        • the greatest number of farmers markets per capita
        • the greatest amount of certified organic farmlands per capita
        • the greatest number of local dollars spent buying local foods per capita

  • Sam

    But, sadly, I don’t think I would be able to afford the Seventh Generation diapers, as they are twice, if not more, more expensive as Target diapers that we use.

    And the Tom’s of Maine deodorant didn’t work so well.

    I used to make my own laundry detergent, but the non-liquid one didn’t work so well for cold water washes, so I stopped.
    I was using the Seventh Generation one, but then switched to the Target Brand and All, for money reasons.

    But, I think I will go back to making my own laundry detergent and I will try to make the liquid one now. There are a TON of places on line available to order all the supplies and give you recipes.

    Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention and thank you to the researches for doing this study. I will be emailing the link to all my friends.
    They already think of me as a tree-hugging hippie, but I don’t mind it. As long as I feel good and safe about my life and my child.

    • Anonymous

      Tom’s deodorant is waste of money. It does not work at all in my opinion.

      • Robert Riversong

        That’s funny, because it’s the only deodorant I’ve used for decades and it works fine. But I bathe without soap once a week.

        You can’t expect one natural body-care product to work for you if you don’t use it as part of a whole lifestyle of health care.

        If you bathe daily with soap and shampoo, you are destroying the skin’s natural defenses and nothing but harsh chemicals will save you.

        • Anonymous

          Different people have different body types.
          Toms Lavender works pretty well, but the one mentioned does nothing for me.
          By the way you are aware that Tom’s is partly owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

          I have found that using lavender or sage oil works pretty well as a deodorant.
          If did what you did I would smell in a day or two.

          I use Dr Bronner’s for shampoo and olive oil soap for showering. I also use the old soap as shaving cream, you know with an badger brush. Poor badger though.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pugfriend Jenn Ulschak

      Cloth diapering is cheaper and non-toxic. It’s definitely an economical option! Check out Kushies All In Ones, Fuzzi Bunz, or BumGenius. You would need about 20 diapers. This means it would cost you about $400 total. :)  

      • BHA in Vermont

         And when the kid doesn’t need them any more, they make the BEST ‘towels’ for washing windows or putting Rain-X on your windshield, etc :) I’m still using diapers we got 18 years ago.

        The problem with cloth for a lot of people is the lack of “ease of use”.  Disposables are, well, disposable. Easy on and easy off – into the trash. One must wonder if we really want that stuff (the diaper AND the what the baby puts in it ;) ) in the land fill though.

        My wife stayed home with our older daughter the first year, I stayed home the second. We had a diaper service when she was “on duty”, gift from a friend. I didn’t renew it and did the diapers myself. Got a service when the younger one was born but she had reactions to whatever they washed in and my wife didn’t want to deal with the diapers so disposables it was. That does make me wonder what all they were washing the diapers in that didn’t rinse out totally (gotta do a REALLY GOOD job since you didn’t get ‘your’ diapers back).

        • Robert Riversong

          Your baby was probably allergic to the chlorine.

          To prove that nothing is as simple as it seems, Donella Meadows (pioneering environmental scientist, Dartmouth College professor and author of Limits to Growth) once did an environmental life-cycle comparison of cotton and disposable diapers.

          If cotton (grown with inordinate amounts of  herbicides and pesticides) is laundered by a private service or at home with lots of water and bleach, then it is probably more environmentally destructive than disposable plastic diapers that end up in the landfill.

          We almost always fail to see the big picture.

    • Susan

       About the diapers – my friend uses cloth diapers  – she doesn’t find it difficult and her baby get’s soft cloth next to his skin. She had a website a while ago: http://www.hookedonfluff.com/

  • Sam

    I do want to hear more about the sunblock though.

    Is there not one single particular brand?! Just one? Maybe a safer one?

  • Anonymous

    I noticed that both lavender oil and tea tree oil were on the do not use list. I tried to find data to back this up on both the site of the study and online, and I’m not coming up with any information to support this.

    • Sam

      Yeah, I noticed that too and wondered the same thing.

      As soon as panic subsided a little … :)

    • Robert Riversong

      I think the only problem with lavender oil is that it makes boys gay ;-)

      • Anonymous

        I grow lavender and use the oil all the time.
        I’m well past the problem of needing a bro.

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      This is one of those “telephone game” stories – it has been repeated so often people just assume it is true, when it is NOT! http://roberttisserand.com/2011/12/lavender-oil-and-negative-innuendo/

    • http://twitter.com/cleanlivinguide Patryce Bak

       Tea tree oil mimics estrogen. NEVER use it during pregnancy or on children, especially boys. Check out my website that for more info on safe products: http://cleanlivingguide.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/pugfriend Jenn Ulschak

    I agree. I use Trader Joe’s unscented. It works GREAT for me! :) Tom’s is pretty shabby. 

  • Susan

    I posted a bit ago about educating consumers to use rules to select cleaning products. I updated my blog with the rules so it’s easy to find: http://butafullife.blogspot.com. Thanks for taking a look.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

    Wow, it only took 47 minutes into the hour for it to be acknowledged that nature is made up of chemicals and that some of the chemicals in the products were considered below unsafe levels.

    It was never made clear if the substances being detected in people were rising or if better analytical instrumentation has revealed trace chemicals that were below trace level in the past.

    A little more said about the methodology which mixes different products to save money was in order considering that all of the guests were raising the alarm unrebutted. It was never made clear how the methodology avoids unfairly implicating a product in the mixture.

    • Susan

       I like your answer. As a chemist, I get uncomfortable when people equate natural is chemical-free. I prefer to speak of toxicity. I, with you, recognized Goldman’s comments on several of the natural products having reduced levels of the target chemicals, which may or may not be safe levels (we just don’t know), which was not mentioned by Ms. Brody or Ms. Rudel.

      • Anonymous

        Excellent points. However one would have to agree that a lot of chemicals in our homes that are used for cleaning are very toxic. But I’m also wondering how they compile their list and by what criteria the toxic levels are made. They have lavender oil on the list, which as far as I can tell is not toxic if you don’t eat it.

    • Robert Riversong

      Yes “nature is made of chemicals”, but not one of the 80,000 petrochemicals we’ve manufactured since 1859 ever existed before on earth. It is those which are problematic, because neither we nor any other life form evolved to co-exist with them.

      The average American has 145 of these artificial chemicals in their bloodstream. Regulations attempt to set “safe” threshold levels. There are no safe levels of chemicals that were not part of the earth’s chemical soup for the past 3.5 billion years.

  • Maryoct7

    what are the 11 products that do not contain the concerning chemical compounds?

  • Modavations

    While the Crisis du jour crew woke up this morning,brushed their teeth and wrung there hands,I had the “Cure”(Wild Mood Swings) playing at warp ten.My love shouted down the hall,what the hell’s going on.I shouted back,…..Baby I’s got ta dance.

    • Anonymous

      …and the point of this is what?

      • Modavations

        That Dems.look at the glass as half empty,while Laissez faire types gots ta dance

        • Robert Riversong

          Only the most unthinking, narrow-minded ideologue would bring partisan politics into such a discussion. 

          • Modavations

            What have you said.Spare us the temper tantrum.Get ye to the gym

    • Modavations


  • Modavations

    Men live to 78-women to 82.We live in a golden age.Cancer is a disease of the old.Compromised immune systems.

    • Susan

      Cancer is the disease of the old? I guess my friends Paul (who passed at 52), Billie, Aly, and Margaret (all under 50) are old? Yes, perhaps compromised immune systems are indicated but there are other oxidative stresses causing their DNA to misfire too.

      • Modavations

        I stand by my statement.Compromised immunological systems.You use anamolies.Get Ye To The Gym

        • Robert Riversong

          You stand on nothing but illusions and myths that support your ideological bias.

          • Modavations

            You said nothing.Intellectualize,spare us the temper tantrum.Cancer afflicts the aged.All your home remedies and country nostrums  are nothing compared to the gym.

    • Robert Riversong

      Cancer is the disease of “advanced” societies, and closely correlated with a meat and processed food diet and industrial activity. 

      In a number of “primitive” earth-based cultures, people routinely lived to 100 while remaining physically active and mentally sharp.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Correction Joel Salatin is from Virginia not from Vermont but he is famous in Vermont for his organic farming.
    I think he will be in Vermont this June 2012.
    please visit this web site

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      My former roommate said the State of Vermont is the State that loves organic food. He’s from Brattleboro, Vermont.

      • Modavations

        Vermont is the Whitest state in the country.Vermont has the highest per capita amount of peeps working for govt..Vt is the home of the Metrosexual and the women are cheating left and right.Brattleboro brought us the naked people.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          I should visit Vermont then.

          • Modavations

            correct.Say hi to junior

          • Ray in VT

            You certainly should.  It is quite lovely here.

          • Modavations

            Absolutely beautiful.Half the peeps are squirrely,but I know plenty of good folk.Avoid Brattleboro,head for Montpellier Area.

        • Anonymous

          Do you post here because you need to have your world view, however small, reinforced by seeing your rhetorical mindset up on a forum?
          And by getting people, such as myself, to respond you are somehow justified in this small world view?

          It could also be that you have a huge ego that gets off on the endless, mindless postings.

          Whatever it is, you do have some issues.
          As this last comment clearly bares out.

          • Modavations

            Why the animous to difference of opinion.Again,If I’m so offensive don’t read me.You can’t,you won’t.

            By the way I have no problem avoiding yours

          • Anonymous

            Well, you are right. I don’t have to read your egocentric dribble. It’s a waste of time.

          • Modavations

            You’ve said that ten times today alone

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            You such a Bully ha? As I told you before if you dont LIKE SOMEONE’S COMMENT do not read it. Do not put More flames in the fire. common Jeff you should be wiser by now.

          • Anonymous

            You have to be kidding. I mean you post something about Vermont, Moda here insult the entire state, which use to live in, and then you support this mans egocentric diatribes.  Amazing stuff. 

          • Modavations

            He is fearless in the eye of dissenting opinion.If Fax and Pacquia were in the ring,I’d bet on Fax

        • Robert Riversong

          Vermont has:
          • the most CSAs per capita
          • the most certified organic farmers per capita
          • the greatest number of farmers markets per capita
          • the greatest amount of certified organic farmlands per capita
          • the greatest number of local dollars spent buying local foods per capita

          • Robert Riversong

            Vermont is also the most rural state in the US and has a long history of protecting its environment:


            - first long-distance hiking trail (1910)

            - first AC wind turbine (1941)

            - first bottle bill (1953)

            - first outdoor billboard ban (1968)

            - first state environmental review board (1970)

            - only state capital without a McDonalds

            - until 1996, the only state without a Wal*Mart

            - highest ratio of cows to people

            - the most covered bridges per square mile

          • Modavations

            Get a job as a tourist agent,but spare me your tripe.Why do they call him Leaky Lahey?

          • Ray in VT

            Who’s Lahey?

          • Modavations

            Sen Leahy.Did you seriously not know of whom I spoke.How many Solons are known as Leaky Leahy

          • Ray in VT

            Oh, I guessed, but I have never heard him referred to as such.

          • Modavations

            Have you ever seen a Naked Brattleboro lady.Like Oedipus,I’d pluck out my eyeballs

        • Ray in VT

          If you don’t like us so much, then feel free to not come back.  Also, I’m pretty sure that there were naked people long before Brattleboro was ever founded.

          • Modavations

            Raymundo,I have over 22 years in Vt..I’ll bet you anything we have friends in common.I thought we were going to attempt cordiality.Not only do I invite you to Boston,I’ll buy you dinner.Please tell me if you disagree that Vt.is the whiteist state in the nation,with the highest per capita of govt.employees?I used to make the run from Randolph to Middlebury when it was a dirt road.Tell the audience why he’s called Leaky Leahy

          • Ray in VT

            I’m glad that  you got his name right this time.  I thought that I was being relatively civil.

            I’ve got over 30 years in the state myself and some 200+ years of family history.  Some of my ancestors fled the state when Royalton got raided during the Revolution, and I am quite defensive about the state that I know and love.  Having been, and lived, other places, there is no place like home.

            I did do some Census checking a while ago, and you are right on the assertion that Vermont is the whitest state.   We are .1% whiter than Maine according to the most recent census figures, but why harp on it.  We are what we are, and it’s not like we’re turning minorities back at the border or anything.

  • Modavations

    Rachel Carson got DDT banned on fake science.5 million subsaharan guys died from Malaria.The science was disproven,DDT is back and Malaria is on the run

    • Robert Riversong

      In 1962, Silent Spring by
      American biologist Rachel Carson was published. The book catalogued the
      environmental impacts of the indiscriminate spraying of DDT in the US and
      questioned the logic of releasing large amounts of chemicals into the
      environment without fully understanding their effects on ecology or human
      health. The book suggested that DDT and other pesticides may cause cancer and
      that their agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly birds. Its
      publication was one of the signature events in the birth of the environmental
      movement, and resulted in a large public outcry that eventually led to DDT
      being banned in the US in 1972. DDT was subsequently banned for agricultural
      use worldwide under the Stockholm Convention, but its limited use in disease
      vector control continues to this day and remains controversial.


      Along with the passage of the
      Endangered Species Act, the US ban on DDT is cited by scientists as a major
      factor in the comeback of the bald eagle, the national bird of the United
      States, from near-extinction in the contiguous US.


      DDT is a persistent organic
      pollutant that is extremely hydrophobic and strongly absorbed by soil.
      Depending on conditions, its soil half life can range from 22 days to 30 years.
      Routes of loss and degradation include runoff, volatilization, photolysis and
      aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation. When applied to aquatic ecosystems it is
      quickly absorbed by organisms and by soil or it evaporates, leaving little DDT
      dissolved in the water itself. Its breakdown products and metabolites, DDE and
      DDD, are also highly persistent and have similar chemical and physical
      properties. DDT and its breakdown products are transported from warmer regions
      of the world to the Arctic by the phenomenon of global distillation, where they
      then accumulate in the region’s food web.


      Because of its lipophilic
      properties, DDT has a high potential to bioaccumulate, especially in predatory
      birds. DDT, DDE, and DDD magnify through the food chain, with apex predators
      such as raptor birds concentrating more chemicals than other animals in the
      same environment. They are very lipophilic and are stored mainly in body fat.
      DDT and DDE are very resistant to metabolism; in humans, their half-lives are 6
      and up to 10 years, respectively. In the United States, these chemicals were
      detected in almost all human blood samples tested by the Centers for Disease
      Control in 2005, though their levels have sharply declined since most uses were
      banned in the US. Estimated dietary intake has also declined, although FDA food
      tests commonly detect it.


      DDT is classified as
      “moderately toxic” by the United States National Toxicology Program
      (NTP) and “moderately hazardous” by the World Health Organization
      (WHO), based on the rat oral LD50 of 113 mg/kg. It has been established as an
      endocrine disruptor, a genotoxin and neurotoxin and linked to diabetes,
      Parkinson’s Disease and asthma.


      When it was first introduced
      in World War II, DDT was very effective in reducing malaria morbidity and
      mortality, but the mosquitoes acquired resistance, presumably because of
      continued agricultural use. The WHO program switched to malathion, which though
      more expensive proved effective. The World Health Organization has reaffirmed
      its commitment to eventually phasing out DDT, aiming “to achieve a 30% cut
      in the application of DDT world-wide by 2014 and its total phase-out by the
      early 2020s if not sooner”.

      • Modavations

        I don’t read anything over a paragraph.

        • mumo2

          I’m not surprised. Read the last paragraph:
          “When it was first introduced in World War II, DDT was very effective in reducing malaria morbidity and mortality, but the mosquitoes acquired resistance, presumably because of continued agricultural use. The WHO program switched to malathion, which though more expensive proved effective. The World Health Organization has reaffirmed its commitment to eventually phasing out DDT, aiming “to achieve a 30% cut in the application of DDT world-wide by 2014 and its total phase-out by the early 2020s if not sooner”.

          • Anonymous

            …and he does not read anything more than a paragraph in four languages. 

          • Modavations

            Please show a modicum of self control This is the 51st time today alone,you promised you’d pay me no mind.Stay away from drugs,you’d becpome an addict toute de suite.Absolutely no self control.

          • Modavations

            Look at your hands,you have the blood of 5 million on it.DDT is back in use eveywhere and Malaria recedes.Her fake thesis was the birdy eggs were thiining.It turned out to be an unrelated virus.Look at your hands.

        • nj_v2

          Continuing to blur the line between ignorance and stupidity.

  • Formir

    One day home sciences will teach boys and girls
    About sustainable food prep and house cleaning.
    Green starts at home. We should teach our children.

  • leftofcenter

    What about another dangerous household item like sugar?

  • sfhj2

    A brand missed but worth mentioning, Dragonfly Organix http://www.dragonflyorganix.com  While they do not offer dish detergents or diapers, the line is safe, well priced and does what it is intended to do.  The All Purpose, Odor and Floor are FABULOUS!  Unfortunately, the “smaller company” brands do not always receive the proper recognition they deserve.  Then again, one could say that about vinegar and water. 

    • Cynthia Sam

      Thanks for mentioning Dragon Fly Organix. I’ve used all of their products and can agree that they are excellent. If you don’t find it carried in your favorite store, why not ask them WHY!?

    • http://twitter.com/cleanlivinguide Patryce Bak

      Yes! Vinegar is pretty much all you need to clean your entire home, and even your hair. Stock up on lemons, baking soda, plain salt, borax and potassium bicarbonate and you’re all set with every variety cleaning product!

  • Dawgscholar

    Before everyone runs out and buys baking soda and vinegar keep in mind that if you mix them you can get a tiny explosion. Very good at unclogging drains but could hurt you a lot more than lemon-scented lysol.

    • Anonymous

       And the end of the Earth is tomorrow? How much vinegar and baking soda would you have to mix to get hurt? A truck-load?

    • fledermaus

      Exactly what my wife mixes up several times a day to drink for her reflux!

  • Asheley Kapelewski

    OMG! Tom thank you so much for having these guests on & getting this on the air!!! I was diagnosed w/Multiple Chemical Sensitivity 10 yrs ago after working for 3 years with a dedicated perfume addict, & he also has many of the “mystery ailments” that our society is rife with, despite our high standard of living. Much of the commentary here expresses dismay over the cost and hassle of changing your lifestyle & personal choices. Let me tell you, NOTHING is as lifestyle changing & costly as developing what I have, MCS, not to mention cancer, diabetes, having children who are profoundly emotionally disabled, etc.  I cannot find work in a safe place free of hyper perfumed people. Not being able to go out in public places is VERY life changing. The nutritional program I am on to combat other peoples uninformed life choices is very expensive.  And every day more perfume is being snuck into things you wouldn’t expect – I have heard there are now perfumed tires!  As far as the personal choice argument, when your neighbors’ “personal choices” outgas into the air & get you & your children sick, negating much of the work you put into remaining healthy, I say it’s time for legislation. Clothes washed in scented laundry detergent take 5-6 years hung outside in all the weather to even start to give up the scent – I’ve done this! The molecules given off in profusion by the chemicals we are happily slathering over ourselves stick to everything, & last & last. And if you are a user, you lose the ability to smell the scent chemicals pouring off you & out of your house. The opponents of labeling laws point out that nature is full of chemicals, but in most cases we have had millions of years to evolve along with them. Not so with the onslaught of new products, most under 30 yrs old. And testing for synergy is Exactly the right way to test. Who nowadays wears only one body care product ever? Who really reads the labels and uses respirators and gloves as are recommended on the labels of many household & auto care items?  Most of these chemicals were invented as part of the Oil & Coal industry’s way of creating add on sales in order to sell off products made from refininery byproducts that they used to have to pay to dispose of. Many of the coal-tar by-products are also made into phamaceuticals, novel innovations in plastics, and other things we deem as neccessities. But a whole lot of them are used for their indestructible scent qualities, and the perfume industry is totally protected by secrecy. Thank you for putting this  topic on the air, you are a brave man!

    • Aiwen

      I was completely disabled by MCS in my late 30s after working as a chemist all my career. I am forced into isolation as that is the only way I can feel relatively safe (even my house had to be sealed off to stop my neighbors’ laundry fumes from getting into my house). I only use baking soda and vinegar for all cleaning (personal and laundry). 

  • Anonymous

    When you mix ten products and the mixture tests positive for a chemical on your list, you don’t know if you have one product with the chemical and nine without the chemical, or nine with and one without. This type of testing is not “science” in any sense of the word. Without testing each of the ten independently, your result is worthless, and cannot be used to draw a conclusion about the whole group of products.

  • Argyle22

    Thanks for the show, very informative.
    What about the chemicals sprayed by towns in MA to kill mosquitoes.  Wakefield, MA uses Resmithrin, a pesticed sprayed from a truck which kills only those mosquitoes which come in contact with the spray. Resmithrin is an endocrine disruptor and according to the EPA, it is not efffective for long term control of mosquitoes and yet the town risks the health of residents, pets and wild life.    

  • Kknavis

    Tom- thanks for this wonderful show- there is a website called safecosmetics.org on which there’s a database which lists many cosmetics and rates them for chemicals/toxicity you can find it at:www.ewg.org/skindeep/caution there are many copycat sites that try to steer you away from the real site. do not go to safe cosmetics .com

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1047505137 Derek Easton

    I make my own lye soap.  Mostly because I have psoriasis, but it has become a very fun hobby.  Ever since I switched to, what I call healthy soap, my Psoriasis has cleared quite a bit.  The skin is the largest organ in the body.  I have read that it absorbs 80% of everything you put on it up to everything you put on it. 80%???  If you can’t pronounce it, it probably isn’t good for you.  My homemade soap rocks and now I am making bug sprays and my own lotions made out of natural ingredients.  I’ll be selling my good stuff at local farm markets in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin this spring/summer/fall because I believe in it and I am making a good natural product. My question is about the essential oils.  I use essential oils for soap, lotions and sprays(bug sprays and scented sprays)  Is this ok?

    • http://twitter.com/SueApitoLikes Sue Sawhill Apito

      No…the often repeated claim that the body absorbs 80% of everything you put on it is a made up statistic. If it did…we’d all be dead.  Moving on from making soap to making cosmetics is a big leap, and it seems you have not done your homework if you are asking about essential oil.  You should learn about how to formulate safe products and of course, test them for safe preservation BEFORE you sell them at a farmers market or anywhere else. It’s pretty scary to read that you are using essential oils for bug sprays and fragrance and have no idea whether or not this is safe.  There are THOUSANDS of resources for learning about essential oils BEFORE you start using them. Start by looking at the NAHA website.

  • CynthiaSilvaParker

    Thanks for this study! I am chemically sensitive and struggle to avoid fragrances, cleaning products and off-gassing plastics, vinyl and paint. It’s been more than two years since I’ve had to work from home because of chemicals related to painting and buildouts in our office building. I’m a canary in the coal mine and I’m convinced that all of this exposure has to be bad for all of us, not just those who can perceive the negative impacts on our bodies immediately.

  • Susan Archer Chiarito MD

    THis study confirms what I have always believed!  My girls were only given organic food and milk products after they stopped breastfeeding at 6 months.  They both did not follow their peers in development of breasts and menarche. They were 15 and 16 when they started their periods.  They both reached appropriated height but neither are as tall as their mother who grew up in the chemical and hormone laden food industry of the 60s.  Hopefully this has given them a good start at a cancer free life.

  • Chiarito

    Modavations has not tried to treat Malaria recently…..it is very alive and well and resistant to numerous antibiotics. I pray that DDT is never allowed to be broadcasted again.  Just look to the skies and see the hawks and eagles that were almost extinct due to DDT.  At least with healthy bird populations the mosquitoes are on the run with their NATURAL predator!

    • KAR

      Applied to bedding nets and surfaces within a dwelling as proposed by health care professionals does not pose a risk to your precious feathered friends.  It is the “spraying” application method that poses the hazard.

  • Modavations

    In 2006 WHO said bring back DDT.We lose 1 million per annum to Malaria.So my Birkenstock friends look at all the blood on your hands

  • Shandi P

    I’ve been worried about fragrances for a long time and this confirms my concerns. When I was pregnant I didn’t know how to handle people that wore synthetic perfume around me. How do I tell them to please not use this around me, or if in public please step away? (ok, maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all. what do you think?)

  • Gerald W. Landrum

    Tom, this show was great, but I respond to your repeated question “How can this happen when the people wanted this to be cleaned up a long time ago?” Do you think it might be related to administrations’ defunding and weakening regulating agencies?

    Please do a show comparing USA with other countries that have lower rates of cancer AND THE STUDY DONE ON CHANGING RATES IN PEOPLE WHO MOVED OUT OF THIS COUNTRY. IS it important to know the facts on American in other countries whose cancer rates are way below ours?

  • Sam

    What I am most interested in finding is “Excell Home Fashions Ultimate Nylon Shower Liner” I can’t find it anywhere.

    Help please!

    Also, how would the shower liner affect us?
    Is it because we touch it?
    Or does it emit these harmful chemicals when the water falls on it?
    Does the water temperature makes a difference?

    The rest I understand, our bodies come in direct contact with those chemicals, but a shower curtain?

    Thank you

    • http://www.facebook.com/pugfriend Jenn Ulschak
      • http://www.facebook.com/pugfriend Jenn Ulschak

        It effects us because shower curtains are in a very small, often very hot room and they off-gas harmful chemicals into the air. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this important show.  Please do more on this subject.  I run a green B&B on Cape Cod and became aware of body burden and endocrine disruption when we were faced with NStar’s decision to spray herbicides under our power lines, toxic chemicals that will end up in drinking water.  I have realized we need to re-think our approach to what we put in our bodies, and on our skin, what is in the air we breath.  We are living in an unsafe environment, as Tom suggests.  This is especially important for the developing fetus.  It is no wonder that there is push-back from the chemical industries.  Their livelihood depends on selling chemicals to consumers.  We must share this information widely and not let them get away with murder.  Make choices to use products that have fewer chemicals in them.  Vote with your pocketbook!! 

  • Pingback: Anonymous

  • Elizabeth

    Boston area folks – come learn how to make your own cleaners and avoid many of these chemicals all together. http://www.healthylivingandlearning.com

  • Ruby

    For years I have been trying in vain to find information regarding the use of dryer sheets and its polluting effect on the air we breathe.  When I called my board of health to discuss it, they said they could not find any scientific evidence confirming toxicity.  I plan to forward them this link so they can help ban dryer sheets from our town!  Maybe now I will be able to breathe dryer sheet fragrance free air when I take my walks.

  • El

    Is there any ways to access a transcript of this piece as I am interested in reading this? 

  • Lavapixie28

    If this story interests you, check out http://www.arbonne.com/.

    Arbonne is a company established in 1980 that provides pure, safe, and beneficial Vegan cosmetic and health products.

    The products are formulated in Switzerland where regulations on cosmetic and health products are stricter then the United States. The products are produced though in the United States to guarantee fair labor laws in the factories and to help the American economy.     

    Non-Vegan cosmetic companies make their products from
    spoiled meat, roadkill, and uthenized animals. If you do not believe me, google it.
    Non-Vegan cosmetic companies use bases from fat rendering plants. Here
    is one website that explains it: http://www.bornfreeusa.org/art…icles.php?p=378&more=1

    Since Arbonne is a Vegan approved company, the products do not contain any animal bi-products. That means, Arbonne does not use ingredients from rendering plants.

    Besides Arbonne products not containing animal bi-products, Arbonne does not use any non-botanical ingredient: Arbonne is made with high
    quality vegetable and plant extracts. All the ingredients must be natural, must be hypoallergenic, and must not be hazardous to out health. No artificial chemicals are added, meaning no cancer causing materials.If you are interested in being introduced to Arbonne, feel free to email me at lavapixie28@hotmail.com. I can send you free samples, meet with you for coffee, or speak with you over the phone.  -Kelly Clydelavapixie28@yahoo.com

    • http://twitter.com/cleanlivinguide Patryce Bak

       Arbonne uses nano-technology. This is a new science and an unnecessary risk.

      • KAR_UMass

        Patryce – thank you for providing an educated response to the post above regarding a company utilizing nanotechnology.  Toxicological testing on these compounds is in it’s infancy as the toxicological testing simply can’t keep up with the various products rapidly being produced in this country.  It was not that long ago that we had people sunbathing on beaches downstream of wastewater treatment plants where nanoparticles were known to be discharged where these sunbathers were turning up with ulcerated skin sores as well as the employees at the wastewater treatment plants.  Vegan is great but not at the expense of exposing oneself to a potential more harmful toxin.

  • Anne Hulick, RN

    Thank you for airing this important segment.  The Silent Spring Institute does excellent research in this area.  There is growing consensus that our exposure to harmful chemicals in products, particularly during critical windows of development, are linked to the rise of many serious diseases including childhood cancers, learning and behavioral disorders, adult cancers, reproductive disorders, insulin-resistance and diabetes.  We need reform of our inadequate federal chemical policy.   Thanks for an informative segment.

  • Turak

    You expect to keep your house and
    your children free of chemicals and poisons while your industrialized
    civilization is spewing millions more tons of toxins into your water and air
    day and night?  Give me a break.  You want to clean up your house from all the poisonous
    products and chemicals you buy?  What
    about not buying them in the first place? 
    What about cleaning up the whole EARTH instead of worrying about your little
    house?  Then you won’t HAVE to worry
    about pollution or chemicals anymore because there won’t BE any.  Then there won’t be any more factories poisoning
    the rivers and oceans.  Then there won’t be
    any more ignorant spoiled consumers.. 
    Then there won’t BE any consumer society anymore and there won’t BE
    anymore computers or radios or TV’s and your life will be 1,000% BETTER than it
    is now.  Try selling THAT as an idea for
    a show to your producers and watch them censor you OUT and FIRE you for being
    too logical and too honest.  You expect
    to pollute the whole planet?  And still
    keep you lousy little  house and spoiled children
    free from that pollution?  Give me a
    break.  PUKE on your personal concerns:
    try being more concerned about the wider world you live in.

    • BE

       So you think it’s fine to manufacture these products on a grand scale?

      • theresa

         I think this person is saying it is NOT ok  but that we should all be thinking about the larger world and not just our little worlds. However, if we dont buy these things or try not to—–that does help keep it out of the larger world as well.

    • Susan

      It all starts somewhere. The EPA recognizes that households are the #1 source of non-point source water pollution. Individually, homes are minor polluters, but there are a lot of homes. So I did some calculating. If just 200 households use the rules I’ve developed for buying household cleaners, bam! 50,000# of green houses gases aren’t put up into our air. 21,000# of packaging waste is eliminated. 1300 gallons of oil are NOT used to ship water laden products all over the country. So, yeah, cleaning my little house does make a big difference in the big picture because tens of thousands use products that meet the crieria. I blogged on the rules yesterday – butafullife.blogspot.com.

    • Dariaanne

       Don’t you have a computer to be able to tell us that we shouldn’t?  We all have to start somewhere.  You sound toxic.

  • your listener

    Let’s face the realities.., Americans are obsessed with hygiene!! well, myself to some extend maintain basic hygiene, like washing my hands.., try not to get sick, that’s my main concern..  

    But some people would change clothes like there are endless energy and water to maintain their hygiene, how dirty can you be right after shower that you have to put towel in the washer every time you dry yourself?  how dirty is the cloth you wear the most outside layers when you have not had a drop of sweat and basically all you did is sitting in front of TV, but you have to wash it??  We all hate to think twice about changing our habits, but please think more than twice……

  • http://twitter.com/cleanlivinguide Patryce Bak

    I’m thrilled to hear this topic finally getting some attention. It’s a no-brainer, exposure to synthetic chemicals is not safe. Industry is of course trying to make this as confusing as possible to keep buyers buying. It has been my focus to bring clarity to this issue by vetting and reviewing products to inspire people to use safe goods in the home and on the body. Please check out my website for a growing list of safe and quality products: http://cleanlivingguide.com/

  • Rachel

    What the f***? The first ingredient of Tom’s deodorant is propylene glycol. WHY DID IT “PASS YOUR TEST”?

    • http://twitter.com/cleanlivinguide Patryce Bak

       I was surprised that Tom’s anything was on the list – all their products I’ve seen have had various unethical ingredients – but was sure that this one product must have been kosher since it was listed. But THAT IS TOTALLY INSANE that it passed with propylene glycol on the list in primary position.

  • your listener

    Does anyone know the most environmentally friendly way to rid mildew?  I’ve tried many natural ways, but none of them worked? Thank you so much in advance!  

    • http://twitter.com/cleanlivinguide Patryce Bak

      Potassium bicarbonate works great on mold. Mix with filtered water to make a putty and apply. It works over time so you’ll need to saturate the area in question and let it continue doing it’s work over a period of time. I coat my hemp shower curtain with it and after about a week the developing mold will start to disappear. For just mildew you can try the Greene Irene line – http://www.greenirene.com/category-s/12.htm But they do have some fragrance in their products. So just be sure to leave the room after spraying and close the door to keep pets out, while the enzymes do the work.

      • your listener

        Thank you so much, Patryce, for responding to my question.  It’s a nice tip that you mentioned they take some to work.  I will definitely do some studies and consider your suggestions.  : )

  • your listener

    I’m so grateful this issue has been brought up for years on my local radio shows, they are the one who taught me NOT to buy any products labeled with ‘antibacterial’ or ‘antimicrobial’, they are disasters for our environments..

    Therefore I disposed most of my household products in our local chemical waste process area, not to mention I literally got a headache there from smelling the nasty chemicals..

  • Turak

    All of you consumers disgust me.  All you worry about is YOURSELF as if it were a religion; babbling about your personal concerns until I want to puke on all of you .  7 billion of you imbeciles are the reason that factories and manufacturers and oil companies and electric companies and the timber industry and the fishing industry and the chemical industry etc: are poisoning the entire EARTH…  And now that some of the global pollution is winding up inside your stupid little houses; you want to keep your stupid little selfish personal areas clean of all poisonous toxins.  It ain’t gonna happen.

    Wake up: the entire Earth is being poisoned  because of your ignorant stupid consumption, and none of you will be able to have clean air, clean water, clean food unless you change your ways completely:  NOT incrementally.

    You want to clean up your stupid little house?  Clean up all the pollution you caused in the world first.  Stop creating garbage.  Stop creating landfills that will poison your groundwater for the next 3000,000 years. Get rid of ALL the factories, all the mines all the chemicals, all the nuclear power plants and start worrying about the earth you live on because without cleaning up the entire earth: you will be poisoned to death regardless of how much you try to clean your stupid little houses.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pugfriend Jenn Ulschak

      Dear Turak, 
      Please enlighten us on how you manage to live without creating any garbage or better yet, how about explaining why you keep on living when it seems the entire world pisses you off? 

    • Ggeorgas

      Turak, Cleaning up global waste and toxicity starts in your home. So instead of being such a hater when this information is provide to help people improve the current situation, take a look t what you are doing in you life to help. Im sure you have been part of the problem, just like everyone else. You fall into the same category as the people you are bitching about. You will not improve a damm thing with your anger attitude, especially towards an article regarding toxic product. Your type of person is a bigger problem. 

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  • http://twitter.com/MrCoolLink MrCoolLink

    What’s needed cancer-wise right now is more funds towards R & D, more awareness, and more Cancer Wiki for people to share information and experiences!

    For example: http://uail.com/cancer-wiki

    ps: It’s March – Cancer Awareness Month… share the love everyone!

  • Bin

    Just stop buying the commercial “scented” “antibacterial” garbage. Can’t find unscented sunscreen? Post 500,000 dislike comments on P&G Facebook page and re-tweet this.

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  • learnedthehardway

    Every bit of truthful information helps.

  • learnedthehardway

    Every bit of truthful information helps. When I am asked for donations for cancer research, I tell the person I prefer to donate to Silent Spring and send my donation there.

  • Mrlee1on1@hotmail.com

    Get products from buildplanb.com/jay

  • Sidneypeverill

    Turak,  It is always interesting to me to hear people such as yourself write a litany of verbose raging directed at everyone else.  NOWHERE do i read the word WE in your expansive  monologue- so as a concerned citizen of the world, i am asking that since you seemed to have lived an environmentally PERFECT life (which would mean your parents (or wherever you were raised) did too….please SHARE
    how do you live without creating trash?
    How do you keep your stupid little house and personal property clean?
    Do you have any spoiled little children?  How do you raise then to be EF?
    Do you have a lousy house?  Is it built green?  how do you manage it?

    Really, I think beyond your toxic anger, we all have something to learn from someone who infers they have it all figured out…….the question is do you??

    rant less, share more….please

  • Pingback: Staying Safe: Cleaning with Simple Things « The Curious Autodidact

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