Be Wary: Good For the Environment, Bad For You

I fully support well-intentioned products that are eco-friendly and contribute to the well-being of our environment, however, I am always wary of the expense. 

My personal efforts to be green evolve and grow constantly: I keep my reusable shopping bags on hand, recycle regularly, rely on glass and stainless steel over plastic, reuse cardboard boxes from deliveries as weed barriers in my garden, swapped out candles for essential oils, switched from conventional paper products: toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels to bamboo products, and eat an organic plant-based diet, just to name a few.

But there are also many eco-friendly “solutions” that are marketed as being the best new thing for the planet, that I would argue are false claims and hazardous to our health. 

Recycled paper products

Get that toxic toilet paper out of your hand and out of your house! Conventional TP is bad enough: it’s bleached with chlorine (bleached paper is believed to be the most carcinogenic chemical known to science), it releases dioxins and PCBs into the air, and it’s a waste of precious trees.

So, in comes recycled TP to the rescue (not)! Recycled paper products contain BPA and are also carcinogenic. Replacing one carcinogen with another is not a solution. Why on earth would we want to use that on our most intimate parts?

Instead of toxic paper products, switch to sugarcane or bamboo toilet paper and products. Do your research on each company you’re considering to ensure they’re truly non-toxic and not just jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon. Even more, invest in a bidet!

Recycled plastic clothing

Recycled plastic clothing, or upcycled clothing, is all the rage right now. It’s great we’re trying to do something productive with our toxic waste, but wearing it is not my idea of a healthy solution. Although I have yet to see a company that claims their plastic clothes are BPA-free, even so, BPA-free plastic is still full of dirty chemicals that disrupt our hormones and wreak havoc in our bodies.

Worst case scenario, the plastic clothing contains BPA. Did you know that BPA disrupts the biological hormonal mechanisms that can create obesity? Meaning, exposure to BPA can increase the number of fat cells in your body and enhance the fat storing capabilities of the cells. Imagine trying on that plastic dress, turning to yourself in the mirror and asking, “does this dress make me look fat?”, and come to realize it may actually be making you fat! I don’t drink out of plastic bottles and I’m most certainly not willing to wear them.

by buying organic you are putting healthy and environmentally-friendly farming practices into demand.

Kate Hudson is hopping on the eco-friendly fashion line bandwagon, just launching Happy Nature, and while I love that items are shipped without plastic in biodegradable boxes, it’s important to shop with a wary eye and pay attention to every piece of clothing’s material to ensure you’re buying a garment that’s made from a natural fiber (even better, organic) and not something toxic. The site mentions their specific enthusiasm for their product line, Repreve®, which is made from recycled plastic bottle yarns. Yikes, I don’t want that anywhere near my skin!

Instead, opt for organic cotton or organic natural fibers

Buying and wearing organic cotton and/or other organic natural fibers is so much better for our environment and for your health. Cotton is the most widely used fabric in the world and accounts for over half of all fiber needs globally. Due to its high demand, farmers resort to excessive pesticide use to make the cotton grow faster. These pesticides affect your body’s chemistry, create allergic responses, pollute the soil and water, damage our natural resources, and disturb ecological balance. Our planet and our bodies are harmed irrefutably just by producing a single conventional cotton t-shirt, so by buying organic you are voting with your dollars and putting healthy and environmentally-friendly farming practices into demand.

Search online for specialty stores in your area that sell clothes made from organic fabrics or fibers that are produced using the least amount of harsh chemicals, like hemp, flax, wool, or silk. This will maximize your contribution to the environment and minimize your exposure to potentially toxic chemicals.

A few of my favorite organic clothing companies are:

Instead of wearing plastic for the environment…

Stop buying plastic bottles. Switch to glass or a reusable water bottle made from glass or stainless steel. Even better, you can save over 4,500 plastic water bottles by switching to an NSF certified reusable water bottle that filters out contaminants from Aquasana. I use their whole-house water filtration system which saves me time, money, and concern.

Other ways to reduce waste and go green:

  • reusable glass straws (they’ll make you feel swanky too)
  • reusable shopping bags
  • bamboo/sugarcane toilet paper and tissues
  • washable hand towels or bamboo/sugarcane towels instead of paper towels
  • switch from conventional toxic laundry detergent to a non-toxic laundry detergent like Molly’s
  • be conscientious of the chemicals you’re using in your own home and search for non-toxic cleaning products and pesticides

Another way to protect the environment and your health is to eat an organic plant-based diet. Animal factory farming is inhumane, our world’s largest pollutant, and waste of water. And conventional farming sprays tons of chemicals into our environment. Support organic farming, reduce chemicals and you’ll be doing amazing things for yourself and the planet.

What are some healthy ways that you’ve gone green?

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