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BCA One Product Challenge

Last week I wrote about awareness, and how having pink hair was a great way to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer. I stand behind my word; awareness is a powerful tool. However, combine awareness with activism, and you can pack a real punch. As I was doing research for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) I was delighted to find a bit of backlash (I think a healthy dose of skepticism goes a long way). The buzzword of the backlash is pinkwashing. I found the pinkwashing protests to be completely valid and worth mentioning.

pinkwashing

Picture via Breast Cancer Action

I think it's fair to say these protests boil down to two main points. First, is the importance of checking up on the pink purchases you make to be sure they are in fact benefiting a  breast cancer related cause. The second point is to be aware of what ingredients are in the pink products you buy to avoid chemicals that could increase the risk of cancer.  Think Before You Pink, has a checklist to keep in mind when you're buying pink!

It's that second point that makes me the most concerned. It's true, our lifestyles include carcinogenic substances. So... what's a carcinogen-concerned person to do?

Know what to avoid.

Find out which chemicals are guilty and why.  Our friends over at Organic Authority care about pinkwashing, too, and one of their posts includes a list of cosmetic chemicals to steer clear from.  Breast Cancer Action, the grassroots organization behind Think Before You Pink, has a whole host of information about healthy alternatives and breast cancer in general.  Have any other good resources? Post a comment!

Speak up!

Once you're oh-so-informed about what kind of chemicals to avoid, let the companies that still use them know that you object! Write a letter, an email, a tweet, a blog post (or a vlog on YouTube!)... they'll hear you! You can also join the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. There are also prepared letters and petitions you can sign.  Many of these chemicals have been banned in other countries, so don't stop at the corporate level; forward that email to the your governor, state representatives, the FDA, etc.  Remember to keep your family and friends in the know as well... including us!  Share your favorite "clean" products with us in our new Citizens' Gallery!

Start eliminating.

This is a task that could seem pretty daunting. There are four women in my family... if your bathroom counter is anything like ours, it's jam-packed with hair and cosmetic products.  Going through them all at once would be effective, but overwhelming.  Start with one thing at a time.  Next time you run out of something and you have to buy a new one anyways take the ingredients into consideration and make an educated purchase. Skin Deep has a huge database of products, you can search for yours to see how they're rated.

That's exactly what I'm going to do. I need a new deodorant! So my mission for the next couple weeks is to find a deodorant that does its job without the use of risky chemicals. I'll write a post on which ones I tried and how they worked.  Hopefully my office-mates will be honest about how effective they are (Sorry, Jeanne!) and maybe I can save you from going through the same troubles.  I've also convinced a few others on the Grommet team to join the challenge with me and search for the best beauty products - chemical free of course!

Unfortunately we can't try all kinds of products at once.  Here's where you come in. I'm challenging you to chose one product you own to replace with a safe alternative, and report back how it goes and what product you replaced it with. Maybe you've done this and are an expert already... let us know what you've found!

Want to be featured in my next blog post? Do the challenge and email me your experience!  Make sure to include a picture of you and the following information:

1. What you're replacing:
2. Bad chemicals in it:
3. Better option you're trying:
4. Better ingredients in it:
5. How it worked/review:

Keep in mind what a difference you're making. Can't wait to hear your responses!

Comments

  • Michelle Says:

    My mom bought some Melaleuca deodorant and gave me one. Aunt Lisa is a big fan of the brand. I don't know too much about the company, but I know their thing is using safe, natural ingredients and being environmentally responsible. The deodorant seems to work well, and I am a sweaty person. http://www.melaleuca.com/ProductStore/ProductSubCategory.aspx?id=83

  • Danika @ Your Organic Life Says:

    Michelle, I'm sorry to tell you that Melaleuca is a huge greenwasher. Have you looked at their ingredients? They're products are loaded with toxic synthetic chemicals, hormone disruptors, etc. There is very little that's natural about them. If you'd like to go through the chemicals specifically I'm happy to help you, but if you're looking for a natural deodorant, Melaleuca isn't it. I have one or I can direct you to others.

  • Danielle Says:

    Thanks Meesh! I couldn't remember their name! They have an ok score on the Cosmetics Database... http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com/brand/Melaleuca/

    Only a few of their products are listed, though, not including the deodorant! There are no ingredients linked to cancer in the products listed though!

  • Danika @ Your Organic Life Says:

    The Cosmetics Database is a great place to start researching products, but do not use it as your sole resources. There are some issues with it, such as ingredients being listed with a low safety rating, not because they are actually safe, but because there is a huge data gap.

    The only way to really know your products are safe is by looking for the USDA or ACO Certified Organic logo. Products bearing one of these logos are certified organic to food-grade standards. Nothing is allowed in them that isn't allowed in food. It's a high standard to reach, but several companies have done it, and made high quality products too.

    Miessence was the 1st organic skin care range in the world. It was certified organic in 2001 at a time when it was thought not to be possible.

    This 3rd party verification of a company's claims of being "natural", "pure", "green" or "eco-friendly" are critical. Without this, you have no way of knowing if a company's claims are valid. And, as we just saw above with Melaleuca, MANY MANY companies are not only pinkwashing, they are greenwashing too.

  • Danielle Says:

    Thanks Danika! It's good to know that there is a way to be 100% sure! Is there a list documenting which companies reach those standards?

    You're so right about the greenwashing... the plus of the challenge is that the products that have no connection to cancer also decrease environmental impact!

    Have you used Miessence products? If not, what's your favorite safe replacement so far?

  • Danika @ Your Organic Life Says:

    Here are some of the ingredients in Melaleuca's Body Satin deodorant:

    Propylene Glycol - It's a petroleum derivative and a key ingredient in antifreeze and brake fluid. So strong it's used to strip barnacles from boats. The Material Safety Data Sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. It is a penetration enhancer, so it it helps all the other toxic chemicals penetrate the skin, going directly into your blood stream and organs. It is THE FIRST ingredient in this product which means there is more propylene glycol than anything else.

    Aloe Juice - While the aloe itself isn't a problem, most non-organic aloe is preserved with parabens. Parabens can mimic estrogen hormones and cause all kinds of problems...one of which is they can contribute to cancer.

    Parfum - Likely contains phtalates, which are hormone disruptors - which again, can lead to cancer.

  • Danika @ Your Organic Life Says:

    Danielle, I am a Miessence Rep, so I LOVE their products. They are the only products I will use on my 4yo. It's pretty rare to see companies with standards and ethics that are this high. I started using the skin care, and I've moved on to all my personal care, including deodorant and toothpaste. I also use the certified organic nutritionals and home cleaning products. You can find them at www.YourOrganicLife.com.

    I've never used Bubble & Bee, but I've gotten to know their owner/formulator and she has very high ethics and distain for greenwashing too.

    I've also heard good things about terraessentials, but I haven't tried them.

    The best place I've seen to know which companies have high ethical standards in producing personal care is on the Organic Consumers Association's "Coming Clean" campaign. They have a boycott of "fake" natural brands, and encourage a "buy-cott" of ethical, certified organic brands. Miessence is, of course, on this list.

    Miessence was also rated by the Good Guide and listed in Newsweek as having the best natural shampoo and toothpaste. You can see that article here: http://bit.ly/aeNVxr

  • Danielle Says:

    Well, Meesh.... looks like you should get a new deodorant too! I'll let you know which organic ones I try out that work!

    Thanks for taking the time to let us know, Danika!

  • Theresa Says:

    I switched all my makeup out for organic! I use Physicians Formula Green Wear (or something like that, has a green leaf on it). Not only is it totally organic (I can pronounce EVERYTHING in it), but no more allergy problems!

  • Shari Says:

    I have found the ultimate makeup remover/moisturizer EVER. Seriously! It takes off all my eyemakeup (even waterproof) and face makeup, leaves my skin makeup free and soft and moisturized. I have extremely sensitive, dry skin and eyes, and had been really frustrated that I couldn't hardly wear makeup because though my makeup was organic/eco-friendly, most of the mu removers were not, contained harsh chemicals I couldn't even pronounce, and damaged my skin and my eyes. Then I found MakeupAlley and YouTube, and learned about coconut oil. I was highly sceptical, as I had already tried olive oil and found it too greasy and it caused breakouts, but I went and bought the smallest jar of organic coconut oil I could find. I put on a full face of makeup and went about my day. That night, I prepared myself for the worst, but was amazed at how easily my waterproof mascara and eyeliner came off with one swipe of the cotton pad and coconut oil! I was hooked! I did that for a week, and there were no breakouts, and my skin started to look and feel really nice! The next week I went and bought the BIGGEST jar I could find, and now every day I can feel beautiful, play with different makeup looks, and know that at night my trusty coconut oil will take me back to my natural skin. Oh, and my dry skin is no longer that dry, it no longer flakes, and most of the redness is gone! I credit the coconut oil, and also the organic roship oil serum I put on at night. I love my skin now, and I know I'm not harming my health in any way! I have also switched all my cleansers and creams to organic and natural formulations, and my skin has never looked better!

  • Soleil Organique Says:

    It's so exciting to see women as passionate as we are on this topic. The Environmental Working Group is another great resource! Love this post Daily Grommet.

  • Danika @ Your Organic Life Says:

    Theresa, are you sure it's Physicians Formula? They aren't organic. They are certified by EcoCert, but EcoCert isn't organic. It's a much weaker certification than organic.

  • Lloyd Dobson "Online Coach & Trainer Says:

    Hello Danielle,

    You are right on in giving value through your blog. People buy from people and not companies. I have found that the top producers apply the following actions daily:

    1) They are consistently working on personal development.
    2) They are consistently building a target list utilizing an Auto Responder.
    3) They are masterminding with other leaders.
    4) They maintain a focus on their business and vision.
    5) They take ACTION.

    Success has a very simple equation: KNOWLEDGE + ACTION + a POSITIVE ATTITUDE = SUCCESS.

    Go out and make it your best day ever!
    Lloyd Dobson :)

  • Pete Morris Says:

    Some great ideas, and it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job. Are there any specific breast cancer charities you'd recommend to donate to? Unfortunately my boss wouldn't be too happy if I turned up with pink hair! lol

  • Karin Says:

    Your claim about Melaleuca is wrong. Please try checking out the Department of Health & Human Services, the FDA, the EPA, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, etc. I don't know if you have ever had cancer, but I have and I have done my research. Propylene Glycol is NOT a cancer-causing agent and is safe for human usage in deoderants.

    To call Melaleuca a "greenwasher" is irresponsible. Anyone can create a blog and write whatever they want. You just proved that, but I would respectfully suggest you always cite your information for credibility, especially for any chemicals. Some other types of chemicals can be dangerous if in large doses and we need to respect our government to approve companies and their products for the public as they are more knowledgeable than we are.

  • Tori Says:

    Hi Karin,
    Danielle's point in this post is to encourage us all to individually research chemicals used in our everyday products. Here, she explains how she has done this for herself and she also provides links and resources she found useful in her research.

  • Val Says:

    This is truly a great site. Not many people think about what kind of chemicals we put on our skin, hair etc by using various products. When you look at the back label of some of these, you can't even understand what you are reading. Surely these components can't be good for our health. So anything to increase aweraness is great I believe.

  • Noah Berkowitz Says:

    Thanks for being aware of this kind of disease. thanks for helping people!
    Nice info!
    Brilliant post!
    God Bless!

  • Jillian Says:

    @Karin

    whether Danika is wrong or not about the one particular chemical, having investigated Meleuca MYSELF EXTENSIVELY through people who also buy their products and research on my own, they have no certification at all saying what they use is in higher standard than anyone else selling generic non-organic products in your local grocer, all they have is "their word". not once have i heard or read "all-natural" on their page, but i have heard "nature inspired". anyone can do "nature inspired"! All they have on their page is a BBB Accredited Site badge, and almost everyone knows you BUY that.

    because of their LACK of porduct ingredient information and generalizing of what they DO put on the label, i'll stick with my homemade 48 cents a bottle glass cleaners and multi purpose cleaners that i KNOW is organic, body friendly, earth friendly, and works better than any organic one or windex on the market.

  • Gina Catalano Says:

    Hello, I just found your website and I think it's great! I was researching deodorants and discovered that Melaleuca and Tom's contained propylene glycol. I am now using Jason and am not sure yet if I like it. I HATE to sweat, but realize that your body needs to sweat and refuse to use antiperspirants due to the aluminum.
    In 2009, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and have been on a trek to healthier eating and more natural skin/body care products. I disagree with the idea that RA is irreversible and has no cure. The side effects of the common medicines prescribed to treat RA affected me so negatively, I became determined to find alternative, holistic ways to feel better. I have found that eating gluten-free and being meticulous about what I put on my my body and my clothes and use in my house plays a large role in my symptoms being reduced to next-to-nothing.
    I was using Fantastic Sam's Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner (originally was using Paul Mitchell, but my budget was reduced) and discovered it had propylene glycol. I just switched to Kinky Curly 's Come Clean shampoo. I was already using their Knot Today leave-in conditioner and Curling Custard (I am Latin and Italian and have curly, ethnic hair and LOVE these products). This is new for me as I have ALWAYS used shampoo and conditioner and a leave-in conditioner. We'll see how I like this shampoo.
    I was using Yes To Carrots exfoliating cleanser until I found that it had propylene glycol also! I use Yes To Blueberries overnight hydrating cream and eye firming treatment but am not too crazy about the fact they have fragrance. I am going to switch to the Blueberries cleanser and see if I find a better alternative.
    Does anyone have feedback on the Yes To....line? What about Jason deodorant?

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