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Our chemical life

November 27, 2009

Did you ever think about just how many chemicals you are exposed to everyday? If I didn’t care much about my choice of toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant etc before, now I do. It was very enlightening to attend the lecture about chemicals in food, hygien products and cosmetics.

At the lecture monday evening at Göteborgs Stadsbibliotek Pia Aspegren from Naturskyddsföreningen (The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) started with showing how the use of chemicals in these three product categories have increased, from 7 million tons in 1959 to 250 million tons in 2000.

Out of more than 100 000 chemical substances used worldwide in these three categories only 3% have been officially classified (investigated). About 1400 chemicals out of 30 000 “bad chemicals” are considered as “really bad” with proven health risks (cancer, reproduction etc). A recent study showed that women in England used cosmetic products with an average of 515 different chemical substances every day. Only 10% of the women asked were interested in buying cosmetic products free from toxins.

Pia Aspegren said she wished more people used the same logic they use when picking mushrooms: e.g. only to chose what we know isn’t dangerous, and mentioned a few really bad toxins to avoid:
Triclosan: in toothpaste, deodorant, mouth water, foot spray.
Ftalat: parfume, deodorant, hairspray, nail polish.
Kathon: shampoo, conditioner.
Zinkpyrition: dandruff shampoo.
Butylparaben: conditioner, disinfection tissues.
Benzophenone-4: hair styling products.

Pia Aspegrens gave a few general advice:
Avoid unecessesary products.
Buy “green labeled” products.
Use cotton washing cloths without chemicals (avoid wet desinfectant tissues).
Use solid soap (less chemicals).
Barter (exchange) or loan things instead of buying new.
Buy second hand.

Even though the subject should concern everyone most of the audience were somewhat older. Someone suggested that the only way to be sure to avoid toxins is to only use products you can eat, like olive oil. Questions afterwards also touched the need of water filtering, non-toxic sunscreen, amalgam, air pollution, toxic plastics, toxins in clothes etc. If you want to check out the toxic content in your cosmetic and hygien products:

In Göteborg next week:

Monday 30 November Carola Magnusson will talk about pure food free from additives and genetically modified organisms. Location: Stadsbiblioteket, 6pm.

Wednesday 2 December Erica Palmcrantz, author of the cooking book ‘Raw Food’, will talk about “Raw food and training”. Erica, who went raw after spending 8 weeks only eating raw while visiting her cousin in California six years ago, has a background as a PT. During the evening she will explain different ways of sprouting, how to make quinoa milk, and talk about the importance of a good PH-balance. The fee 450 kr includes food testing. More info and registration:

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