November 2013 when I was sitting with daddy, he would sleep and I would read. I read all kinds of articles on natural foods and cleaners. I came across so many things that talked about parabens and sulfates, and many other harsh chemicals that I can’t spell, let alone pronounce. During that time, my mom was also diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s why I was with them to begin with. She was having surgery and would need help. Since daddy wasn’t in a place to help her physically, I went to Idaho for her mastectomy and recovery. It was the diagnosis of breast cancer that got me on the soap box about parabens, at first. My moms sister had been diagnosed a few years earlier, so now it was in the family. In my line, there are 2 more females, me and Micah. Since, my own daughter was now at risk I started reading. I could hardly believe that the companies that produce our face wash, shower gel, skin care, body lotions, laundry soaps, fabric softeners, dish soaps, window cleaners, and all purpose cleaners knowingly put parabens in the products along with so many other harsh chemicals. They know the research, you can look it up. It isn’t hard to find and believe me, there is so much. It was then that I began reading the labels on the products I used at home. One by one, I scanned the labels for key ingredients and replaced them. Remember the 80/20 rule from my earlier post? For me it applies to products as well as food.
Any ingredient that begins with methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl and/or has “paraben” in it somewhere is a paraben and has a strong link to breast cancer. In case studies, women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have paraben in their tissue. You can read more about that here. So the products I replaced everything with were Mrs. Meyers, Method, Neutrogena Naturals, J.R. Watkins, Ecos and Seventh Generation.
I had read the labels. They stated things like natural, no harsh chemicals, no parabens, no sulfates, etc. I read the back and looked for all those “methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl” and “paraben” words. Nope, none. So I bought them and have used them over the last year. I’m thinking I am doing pretty good for my family. I even got my husband on board the whole “no harsh chemical” train. And then I got this email. It changed everything for me. Not right away mind you, it’s taken me some time to get up the gumption to re read the labels on the products I currently use. The article is from wellnessmama.com. She is talking about cleaning her oven. No big deal, right? Sure! Katie talks about cleaning her oven with Branch Basics. A 0% toxic cleaner. It’s a great post. It cleaned her oven really well. She is hooked on the product. It’s all natural, no harsh chemicals, actually there are no chemicals in Branch Basics at all. None, nada, zilch! I used her link to Branch Basics, because of course I am curious. I read the “about” page, and their story is pretty amazing. The women that started the company were experiencing some severe health issues. Once they began living in a 0% toxic environment they began to feel better and their chronic illnesses and pain vanished. So I ordered the small kit for myself, my husbands mom and two sisters. I was hoping the four of us could test them out and chat about how we used it and what we liked.
So far, this is what I know. I have used Branch Basics in the foaming pump bottle for bathroom soap. The product is scent free, so I added Wild Orange EO. I like the product for washing my hands. My sister in law Lisa used it for cleaning her mirror as we were chatting on the phone and she said it was a streak free clean. I have since used it in my dishwasher, which seems to be fine. No real change in how clean or un clean the dishes are. Jeffrey is a pre washer when it comes do putting dishes in the dishwasher, so if it wasn’t cleaning them I’d never know. I have used it in my washing machine and the clothes seem to come clean. I am only using it on towels and mine and Jeffrey’s clothes. The kids have been doing their own laundry since they were old enough to climb the washer safely. lol I also put it in a spay bottle in the shower as an after shower cleaner. I feel like it keeps the shower from needing a good scrubbing as often. Ummm, I think the only other way I have used the Branch Basics product is as an All Purpose cleaner. It works well. Ultimately I like the product and plan to change most of the products I have listed to Branch Basics. I know it can be used as a shampoo and face wash, but right now I like what we use. I am trying to keep the 80/20 concept in mind. Believe me it is tough sometimes.
When I look up ingredients I get a bit freaked. For instance I came across Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES). The SLES is in the Method brand hand soap and according to the Material Safety Data Sheet, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is toxic. “When combined with other toxic chemicals, SLES and ALES can create nitrosamines, a potent class of cancer causing carcinogens. They are often hidden in natural and so called organic cosmetics with the words “derived from coconut oil”, this from the MSDS. It can cause skin and eye irritation, repeated over exposure can cause target organ damage and over exposure can cause death. Wow! I don’t know about you, but I’m like really? This is in my hand soap? My kids use that hand soap. So out it goes. You can read more about this chemical here.
The other chemical that just “wow’s” me is Methylisothiazolinone. (How I never saw the “methyl” in this word is beyond me). You can find this chemical in Seventh Generation natural dish soap and the Echos natural laundry soap along with many others. This chemical is a preservative and is widely used in cleaning products and cosmetics. Now, according to the Environmental Working Group the danger is moderate. Mostly it can cause allergies, skin irritation and immunotoxicity. The cancer risk is small, but it is banned in countries like Canada and Japan. If the chances that there will be an allergic reaction, why would we put that on our skin. Our skin is the largest organ we have. I wonder how many people that have autoimmune diseases like psoriasis (me) and eczema(Micah) really are having an allergic reaction to these and several other chemicals.
What products do you use that you might want to google the ingredient list on? Try some Branch Basics and see what you think. Comment in the “Leave Reply” link above.
Have a great week!