Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chemerical: Welcome to a Toxic Free World!

Now streaming on Netflix is Chemerical, a movie exploring all of the different chemicals and toxins that we encounter daily, going beyond the chemicals and pesticides found in food, and pointing out the problems in our household cleaners and personal care products. Chemerical, a combination of the words chemical, America, and miracle, is the perfect opportunity for viewers to examine their own lives and see what healthy changes they can make.

It gives some scary statistics; for example, stay at home moms are 50 times more likely to develop cancer compared to women who work outside the home due to constant exposure to toxic based chemical cleaners and pesticides. And air quality is 10-50 times worse INSIDE our home than outside.

The movie follows the Goode family as they go step by step to change their habits. The Goodes are a typical couple, with 3 children, the youngest having the most health problems. They agree to make a lifestyle change. At first, they get rid of their regular household cleaners and replace them with green cleaners, which is difficult enough for them. They even hide their old cleaners in the garage and sneak out to use them sporadically.

The documentary looks at the chemicals and toxins in many products we surround ourselves with, the businesses behind many of the greener options on the market, and most pleasing to me, they looked at how we can make our own version of the products, including make-up!

This documentary hit pretty close to home for me because I started giving up many toxic chemicals about a year ago.

I've been fairly health conscious the last 3 years and I've actively tried to avoid chemicals, preservatives, and pesticides in my food. One day in my shower, I was looking at the long list of ingredients in my shampoo bottle, some of which I already knew were really bad for me, and I was wondering why I continued to use something I knew was unhealthy.

Skin absorbs much of what it comes into contact with so no matter how careful I was to avoid toxic materials in food, it didn't matter because I was still coming into contact with them elsewhere.

Over the last year, I've stopped using traditional household cleaners, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, laundry detergent, and dish soap. Instead of buying pricier "green" products that could still have unhealthy ingredients, I make my own and it's ridiculously simple and cheap. I was so glad the documentary looked at that option because so many people think it's time consuming or expensive to whip up a batch of toothpaste, for example, but it's very simple.

Make-up is something I haven't yet looked into. I know there are some alternatives out there, but I've been too nervous to try a batch due to mediocre reviews. The film touched on how easy it is to create make-up, and I'm definitely going to give that a try in the next few weeks. The film also linked to Cosmetic Database, a website where you can see how toxic your products actually are.

My mascara is fairly good; it scored a 3 out of 10 for danger of toxicity. My foundation was a little worse, at 6 out of 10. But my perfume, which thankfully I don't wear frequently, scored the worst at 9 out of 10.

Looks like it's finally time to make a change with my cosmetics!

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