Dental Floss

Finishing up with our oral health series is a closer look at dental floss. We know flossing has benefits. Flossing has been shown to Dental Flossextend your life by improving gum health, warding off gum disease, heart disease and dementia. Are there drawbacks to what type of floss you are choosing? Unfortunately, yes, but there is always a natural solution.

Some dental floss is made of nylon, which is synthetic and made from petroleum products. Nylon can take up to 50 years to break down. While floss may be “small” consider that American alone are buying 3 million miles of floss each year. Floss picks use less floss, but more plastic handles.

Another often found choice-synthetic wax. The synthetic wax is then coated with petroleum.

Many companies have coated their floss with Teflon  (perfluorotanoic acid -PFOA or PFC’s ) to make them slide easier. Unfortunately PFOA has been connected to thyroid disease, cancer, birth defects and weaker immune systems. Check your labels for ingredients that may contain the word “fluoro” pr “perfluoro”  I know you may be thinking “How much of this chemical can I possibly ingest? Is it a big deal?” Keep in mind that these chemicals have proven not to leave our bodies and build up over time. You want to cut down anywhere you can. Purchasing natural floss easily does this. You can find floss with a natural wax coating. Some options include Toms of Maine, Dessert Essence and Radius (although you should be aware that Radius is a silk floss and is not vegan friendly)

In addition, electric toothbrushes have proven to be more effective at removing plaque and water piks are becoming more and more effective as well.

Dental Floss


Toxins in Toothpaste

Last week we focused on Triclosan and where it is hiding. One of the biggest places is your toothpaste. While it is true that the FDA Toxins in Toothpastehas stated triclosan has proven to fight gingivitis-is it worth the trade off? Triclosan has also shown to be an endocrine disruptor. This term gets mentioned a lot but isn’t always explained. Basically any endocrine disrupting chemicals can promote health issues such as breast cancer, testicular cancer, low term birth weight and the progression of cancers.  The animal studies that have included triclosan have shown it may interfere with cells that signal the brain and heart as well as having hormonal effects. Triclosan has also shown to cause resistance to antibiotics. One study showed that people who brushed their teeth with particular toothpaste high in triclosan had five times more triclosan in their urine.

Aside Triclosan, other toxins in toothpaste:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate – is what makes your toothpaste all foamy. I have to admit it took some getting used to when I switched to toothpaste that didn’t include that-however it is a psychological effect-the toothpaste still works without getting foamy J The problem with SLS? It is often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane which is a carcinogen. SLS is a registered insecticide and is toxic to the environments and marine life. SLS can also cause skin irritation and sores.

Fluoride –  is a touchy one. Fluoride is actually a neurotoxin and does accumulate in your tissues over time. Toothpaste that contains natural occurring cacao extract bromine has shown to be more beneficial in repairing and re-mineralizing teeth than fluoride according to more recent studies. Fluoride is imported from China (red flag? More on that next week!)

Propylene Glycol –  is as dangerous as it sounds. It is a mineral that is also used in paints, antifreeze and de-icers for airplanes. It has shown to cause organ toxicity, skin and eye irritations.

Diethanolamine (DEA) – Classified as a 10 (10 being the most toxic) with EWG’s ratings it is tied to stomach cancer as well as liver, bladder and esophagus cancers. California has declared it a possible human carcinogen. Seems like something we shouldn’t brush our teeth with?

Artificial Sweeteners and colors –  It gets complicated here. It’s easy to start with aspartame since we know it’s no good.  Saccharine is another one to avoid. Xylitol has mixed thoughts but so far is being considered more safe than not. Some artificial colors and sweeteners may be contaminated with heavy metals or made from petrochemicals. No thank you!

Carrageenan – This one annoys me beyond belief mostly because I find in many “natural” types of toothpaste that people think they have swapped safely for. It is a carcinogen and causes inflammation.

Glycerin –  While glycerin is not toxic by itself, but doesn’t rinse off the surface of your teeth and prevents the natural flow and protection of saliva.

Lead –  Apparently Earthpaste has tested for lead. (Unfortunate, since they have a great EWG score ingredient wise.)  They have stated that it is natural occurring. Natural or not we know there is NO safe level of lead for consumption so it is best not to include it in your toothpaste. This is a controversial issue for toothpastes with bentonite clay in them. I invite you to research and decide for yourself.


What are some better choices?

Personally I have come to like Ugly by Nature ( I have tried a few flavors but I am partial to the mints since my brain has programmed to feel clean with a minty toothpaste.  I have used it for over a year and I have no complaints from my dentist or myself. (As I side note I also do regular oil pulling-to read more check out our previous blog post on mouthwash!)  Check your brand at EWG and find yourself a safer swap!



Toxins in Toothpaste



Avoid Toxic Ingredients when Coloring Your Eggs

Coloring Easter Eggs? What You Need to Know:

If you celebrate Easter and have young children you have probably grabbed a package of egg dye to color eggs with. toxic dyes

What’s really in that egg color aside vinegar?

According to packaging:

Yellow #5-while banned in Austria and Norway we still use it in the USA. In 2013 food was required to add a label suggesting it could cause allergic reactions and asthma. It has been linked to migraines, blurred vision, fatigue and anxiety.

Blue #1-has shown in studies to suggest kidney tumors in mice and may cause cancer.

Blue #2-has shown an incidence of tumors in and brain gliomas in rats. It is not recommended to be used in food

Red #3-has shown to cause DNA damage in human liver cells. It has been found to interfere with thyroid function and cause hyperactivity.  Red number 3 has also shown to induce cancer. It was almost banned by the FDA in 1985 but lost out to industry pressure. In 1990 it was banned in skin care products but is still allowed in food (Logical?)

Yellow #6-has caused adrenal tumors in animals.

Red #40-has shown to be damaging to the DNA in mice, may contain contaminants that contribute to cancer in humans and has been linked to hyperactivity.

Since anything absorbed onto your skin goes into your blood stream that means you are putting these ingredients into your body. If you are actually eating the eggs after coloring them with these kits…I wouldn’t!

Is there a solution?

Of course! It will take a few more minutes than dumping vinegar in a cup with a tablet but reading the risks-I will take the few extra minutes!

Toxic Dyes


Toxins in Febreze

When my boys were little (many years ago) Febreze came on the scene. We had a neurotic anxious dog that had frequent accidents when he got scared of things as simple as the kids noisy toys. A product that eliminated odors? Yes please!

Only had I known then what I know now? NO THANK YOU! Toxins in Febreze


If you own a bottle of this “odor eliminating magic,” I suggest you keep reading. Some white vinegar or some diffused essential oils and you can eliminate the odors without any cancer causing ingredients.


According to EWG the Febreze products score a D or an F. ( This includes asthma and respiratory concerns, skin allergies and irritation, development and reproductive toxicity as well as concerns to the environment. When put to an air pollution test it released 87 toxic ingredients!


Getting down to the products goal: to eliminate odors. These ingredients are not in fact eliminating odors. Like other air fresheners they are covering odors up with a variety of toxic fragrances and ingredients.  The odor is still there; it is just masked by ingredients. About those ingredients…only several are actually disclosed on the label (Is that not enough to make you run?) EWG found 87 others.

How bad are those ingredients?  Let’s take a look:


-BHT – A known neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, immunotoxicity, non-reproductive organ system toxicity, as well as a skin, eye, and lung irritant.

-Acetaldehyde – Known as a carcinogen, toxic to reproductive health, immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin, skin, eye and lung irritator

-“Fragrance” – One of the three ingredients that is actually disclosed, it’s a neurotoxin, immunotoxin and allergen. Fragrances can be comprised of any number of over 3,000 ingredients. Some have never been tested for safety.

-Propylene Glycol – May cause cancer, allergies, toxic to immune system, builds up in the system, non-reproductive organ system toxin, is classified with “enhanced skin absorption” and I can irritate the skin, eye and lungs.

-1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol – Carcinogenic (causes cancer)

-Limonene – An Allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator

-Methyl pyrrolidone – Toxic to the reproductive system and development, allergen and immunotoxin, non-reproductive organ system toxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator

-Alcohol denatured – Also one of few ingredients disclosed in the in Febreze:  linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity and skin, eyes and lung irritatant.

-Butylphenyl methylpropion al – allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator

-Ethyl acetate – linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, organic system toxicity and skin, eyes and lung irritator

-Geraniol – Linked to allergies, immunotoxicity, organ system toxicity and skin, eyes and lung irritation

-Linalool – allergen, immunotoxin, and skin, eyes and lung irritator

-Benzaldehyde – neurotoxin, and skin, eyes and lung irritator

-Diethylene glycol monoethyl ether – non-reproductive organ system toxicity

-Ethylhezanol – developmental and reproductive toxin and skin, eyes and lung irritatant

-Hexyl cinnamal – allergen, immunotoxin and skin, eyes and lung irritator


What is the solution?

Throw it away. You aren’t eliminating odors you are adding toxins to your lungs that have dire consequences. Want a safer way to freshen your air? Try an essential oil diffuser  or a non-toxic spray air freshener with the bonus of aromatherapy.


Toxins in Febreze


Poison Prevention Week

This week is National Poison Prevention week and we are excited to help promote awareness.  If you haven’t downloaded our free toxin checklist (link: /wp-content/uploads/2016/07/toxin_list-1.pdf)  grab yours today and start checking the labels to the products you are putting on your Poison Prevention Weekskin.


Today I turn our Toxic Tuesday over to the Mesothelioma Cancer Allience and thank them for spreading the word about toxins…

The United States Congress passed a joint resolution on September 26, 1961, requesting that the U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, proclaim the third week of March National Poison Prevention Week. He granted the resolution and made March 1962 the first official observance of Poison Prevention Week.

Poisoning is a leading cause of accidental injury in the U.S. and harms people of all ages,

genders, and races. While most poisonings can be treated or prevented, they still hold the risk of being extremely dangerous and potentially deadly.


2017 Poison Prevention Week:

Each year there are daily themes to go along with Poison Prevention Week. This year’s themes


  • Monday, March 20 – Children Act Fast … So Do Poisons
  • Tuesday, March 21 – Poison Centers: Saving You Time and Money
  • Wednesday, March 22 – Poisonings Span a Lifetime
  • Thursday, March 23 – Home Safe Home
  • Friday, March 24 – Medicine Safety


The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance at (MCA) is participating in Poison Prevention Week by spreading awareness about the dangers of poisons, both in the home and workplace. MCA is an organization working to spread awareness for the disease, and fights to have asbestos banned in the United States. The disease is rare and aggressive, affecting approximately 2,000-3,000 new patients each year, and offers a very poor 12-21 month life expectancy.


This year the MCA will be focusing on the Wednesday and Thursday themes: Poisonings Span a Lifetime and Home Safe Home. Asbestos fibers, which are commonly found in construction materials used in homes, schools and other buildings, are extremely toxic when those materials are disturbed and the dust is inhaled. Particles stick to the mesothelium tissue found in the lungs, abdomen and heart, and can stay there for 10-50 years before symptoms of mesothelioma occur. To learn more about the dangers of asbestos exposure you can visit the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance at

Poison Prevention Week


Toxins in Laundry Detergent

Laundry Detergents: Cleaning your clothes or adding toxic chemicals? (Part 1 of 3)

I have had a lot of requests, messages and questions about laundry detergent over the past year and I have been holding off because I Toxins in Laundry Detergenthadn’t found the perfect solution myself despite years of trying. Since I have tried so many things I want to break this down over the next few weeks so information doesn’t get lost. This week’s focus: toxins likely in your store bought detergent.

What to avoid:

Diethanolamine: This can be linked to tumors in kidneys and the liver. It has links to developmental toxicity and is considered an eye and skin irritant. EWG scores it as a 10 (the most toxic ranking)

Quaternium-15: Added to help a product clean better. Another known carcinogen that releases formaldehyde. (Scores an 8 out of 10 according to EWG)


Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates (LAS): Toxic to aquatic life and may be a skin and eye irritant.

Petroleum distillates(also called naphthas): This ingredient can be linked to cancer and lung damage.

Fragrances: We have covered this a lot in the past. A “Fragrance” covered by trade secret may include any number of over a thousand different chemicals. Some have never been tested for safety and others are known carcinogens.

Polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide: One or both may be added to help “stabilize” the product. Both are linked to respiratory issues, kidney and liver damage.

Laundry “Brighteners”:

naphthotriazolystilbenes benzoxazolyl, diaminostilbene disulfonate. These may be linked to reproductive issues and do not necessarily “wash off” your clothing.

I once used the “Think Dirty” app to scan almost an entire isle at Target. Some that I assumed were going to come out on the better end-did NOT. It was actually shocking and I left without detergent. I was determined to find a safer detergent. Next week we will explore some other options I tried and what the downfalls were.

*Please note: This list does NOT include toxins in dryer sheets since that was covered in a previous post)

Toxins in Laundry Detergent


Toxins from Shower Curtain

I learned this a number of years ago but was recently reminded when it was time to replace my shower liner again. You likely have at Shower Curtain Toxinsleast one (possibly two if your outer curtain is also plastic and not fabric) toxic shower curtain.

What is making your shower curtain toxic? 

The most common culprit is Vinyl Chloride. (PVC) which is a carcinogen. The chemicals involved are released further with a warm, moist environment. (Note: your shower?)

PVC in your shower curtain can produce phthalates, which are linked to ADHD, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and lower IQ, asthma and reproductive issues. Phthalates evaporate into the air as well and then cling to the dust in your home.

Ethylene Dichloride vapor can affect your nervous system, respiratory system, liver and kidneys.

Lead: This is usually familiar to people since we have banned it in many things (pencils, paint etc) Unfortunately it is still out there and according to the Department of Environmental Safety it has also been linked to kidney damage, learning disabilities, damage of the nervous system and anemia.

Petroleum: we have covered the dangers of petroleum in the past few weeks. It has also found its way into EVA and PEVA liners. In exchange for being chloride free they have subbed in petroleum to obtain pliability.


Yes! This one is an easy fix! There are safer and sustainable shower curtain materials. I went with organic cotton. Nylon is another quick drying choice.  Water resistant Polyester can be found as another solution to this problem. Slightly more expensive you can also find Hemp Shower curtains. Making a habit of closing the curtain after you shower allows it to dry out helping prevent mildew on any curtain.

Shower Curtain Toxins


A Safer DIY Hairspray

Toxins in hairspray accumulate over time, instead create your own!

Luckily the 80’s are behind us, so we use less hairspray. But it’s important to think about what is in it and read your labels wisely. In the 70’s hairspray included an ingredient linked to liver cancer in humans (vinyl chloride). Despite awareness it was not removed from the market for 10 years.  Hairspray stillToxins in Hairspray includes many other ingredients that “may or may not” contain cancer-causing properties.

What to avoid?

Some of the ingredients you want to avoid are aerosol propellants, alcohol, polyvinylpyrrolidone plastic (a carcinogen), formaldehyde and fragrance.  Fragrance itself can contain any number of thousands of ingred
ients in that one trade protected word.

Aside ingredients you are applying to your head there are the ingredients you are inhaling when applying. Inhalation of denatured alcohol and hydro fluorocarbons can cause breathing difficulty, low blood pressure, skin, eye and lung irritation.

Environmental Concerns?

Moving on from immediate health dangers is the environmental issue. Hairspray is considered the most dangerous beauty product on the market.  Hairspray contains so many volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can harm the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from harmful UV radiation.

What can you do?

The easiest thing to do is swap any aerosols you may have. We don’t use a lot of hair spray at my house so I have not tried these first hand but there are brands that score low on the skin deep website making them much safer than others.

If you are ambitious you can make your own! I was going to try this recipe out for my daughters last dance recital but in the end I didn’t need to spray her hair. I have talked to people who have tried this one with much success!

1 Cup – Filtered Water

4 TSP – Sugar

2 Drops – Geranium Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, and Rosemary Essential Oil.


  • Heat the water and dissolve the sugar. Once your solution has cooled, add the three essential oils and store in a spray bottle.


Hidden Chemicals that Invade Your Life

Hidden chemicals are in more places than you think.

Last week’s blog post focused on the dangers of non-stick pans and their coating. Knowing we all only have so much time to read I wanted to keep it as brief as possible. Unfortunately PFC’s (Perfluorinated Chemicals) invade our lives in many ways.  While many are unavoidable, it’s good to eliminate or cut down when we can.

Where are PFC’s Found?

PFC’s are a man made product that can now be found in water, soil, mother’s breast milk and in the Hidden Chemicalsmajority of our bloodstreams. It has been found in animals all over the world despite where it is manufactured.

Where is it coming from?

Inside our houses we can find it on our “scotch guarded” or “stain resistant” carpets and furniture that children are playing, lying and crawling on that was manufactured previous to 2002.  It is on our non-stick pans (see last weeks blog). It is coating packaging for oily foods such as popcorn bags, sandwich wrappers, outdoor tents, some cosmetics and shampoos, french fry and pizza boxes. Worse? We are also wearing them-all our Polartec, Gore-Tex and water repellant clothing still contains these chemicals. Greenpeace tested and found PFCS in Northface, Patagonia, Adidas, Columbia and Jack Wolfskin jackets. It was also found in Nike and Puma shoes, the apple sport wristband and Oral B glide floss.

Why is it concerning?

PFC’s are likely a carcinogen. They have proven to cause mammary gland tumors in animals and liver and thyroid cancer in rats. They may cause liver or kidney damage in addition to reproductive problems. While some of the older versions of these chemicals are no longer in use in the United States the “replacements” have not proven to be a safer alternative.

What can you do?

They are impossible to avoid entirely since the soil and water are contaminated. Ideally the less we buy in the future; the less production of more is created. Skip the microwave popcorn and get an air-popper again.  Read your shampoo labels and find ones without PTFE or “Fluoro” ingredients. Choose a safe floss. Next time you purchase coats, carpets or furniture, skip the coating. Every toxin adds up.  Unfortunately we all know many (often young) people fighting cancer. Usually there is not one particular cause. Of course your floss alone isn’t going to kill you, but someday it may have saved your life to skip as many toxins as possible when you are able. Why not?



Toxins in Deodorant and Antiperspirants?

Yes, toxins are in deodorant and antiperspirants, but there are  safer, effective alternatives.

This is one of the most important swaps you can make.  Before getting into the toxic ingredients in most Toxins in Deodorant deodorants and antiperspirants it is important to know the difference and what makes them effective.


An antiperspirant contains aluminum of one form or another. The aluminum clogs your pores to prevent your body from sweating. There are two major problems with that. First off, your body needs to perspire to eliminate toxins. Second,  you are applying it to under your arms, directly after a shower or shaving. It is a fact that your pores open more at that time.

Research (link has shown that 50% of breast cancers begin in the upper outer quadrant of the breast by the underarm region. While the American Cancer Society has not established a “direct link” to breast cancer and aluminum there are no safe levels of aluminum for your body. Keep in mind that while a direct link has not been established at this time it is due to lack of studies and there is also no study that can eliminate it entirely yet. Aluminum has also been linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s  Disease.

You won’t find an aluminum free antiperspirant since aluminum is what makes them work, so that leaves deodorant.


Let me be clear-I believe we should all wear deodorant.  What can we wear without toxic consequences?

The most common toxic ingredients found in most deodorants:

  1. Parabens: You will find these in any mass produced personal care products so they will have an extended shelf life. Unfortunately, although there is no conclusive proof here either-evidence DOES suggest that long term toxin exposure could cause cancer.
  2. Triclosan: A hormone disruptor. Banned in hand soaps beginning next year, the same rule has not applied to other products as of yet.
  3. Phthalates: Phthalates generally show up in any products that contain fragrances (note: an essential oil will be labeled as such on your ingredient list. Fragrances may contain many ingredients including toxins of their own that have never been tested for safety.)
  4. Propylene Glycol: a known neurotoxin that ironically warns workers against contact with skin.
  5. TEA and DEA: (triethanolamine and diethanolamine) these are both banned in Europe. They can be toxic when accumulating over time. DEA can result in liver or kidney damage.
  6. Talc (magnesium Silicate) -as you know from previous blog posts this is a carcinogen.


You have all this information. You checked your label and you want to make a change. What are some of the best solutions? First off, expect it to take a little time for your body to adjust. When eliminating aluminum you will feel like you are sweating more. (You are not eliminating deodorant too so that doesn’t mean you will smell bad!). Cooler temperatures this season is the perfect time to let your body make this change.

I have not used an antiperspirant in 3 years. It definitely took some adjusting since my body was used to aluminum clogged pores.  I also learned that many of the natural deodorants contain baking soda.  While I love baking soda for many things it did not agree with my underarms. There was a lot of trial and error on my part.  Like any other product not all of them work great.  I tried a Crystal brand once as well until I learned it actually contained aluminum as well. Although it is deemed a “safer form” and the label states it is specific types of aluminum free-be sure to take note before  you purchase if your goal is to be aluminum free.


I did find a DIY recipe that I liked but I found it too “soft” to travel with (Coconut oil as you know liquifies over 76 degrees) I have heard people swear by “Pit Paste” but I have no personal experience or opinion on how well it works. This spring I discovered Schmidt’s. ( The anti bacterial and anti fungal properties come from the essential oils.  They are vegan, gluten free, and free of parabens and Phthalates, and aluminum.

BONUS: they are also on Amazon so if you are like me that makes life easy and shipping free. This is the first deodorant I have been able to use that contains baking soda, however there is now a baking soda free option for those who are not able to use it. I used it all summer,  and it was still working by days end.