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a banned ingredient got me thinking...

October 15th, 2009 at 12:11 am

Awhile ago at work we stopped being able to buy a product that we used regularly. Luckily our suppliers had a similar product which we then started using. A few weeks later our rep told us (I don't think he was meant to - I believe he told us because we were complaining about how different the second product was) that the reason we couldn't get the first product was because an ingredient in it had been banned and they were currently testing other ingredients to find something they could use - the product was made in the US and the ingredient banned was something they used to stablise it.

So all this got me thinking.

If I didn't work there, and if the rep hadn't told us, I wouldn't have ever known.
Customers who buy our goods have no idea. The only thing they will notice is that some goods are a little different now, because the new product we use is a little different to the old one.

And then this got me thinking even more:

So exactly how many things have I consumed in my life that have contained ingredients which have then forced the product off the shelves? How many manufacturers have gone 'Oh! Shit!' and changed their recipes?

Obviously this was not something hugely drastic, otherwise there would have been a product recall. But still - if it's bad enough to ban and cease production for some time, isn't it bad enough to warn people not to eat it? (We threw out our stock with the old product in it - in case you're wondering)

This leads me to my next line of thinking.

Exactly how much do you know about what is in your food?

I have been brought up cooking from scratch and avoiding foods with numbers and ingredients I cannot decipher. But not everyone has. And even still, I find it incredibly difficult to avoid all those nasties on a daily basis.

Furthermore, are you aware that over 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body?

So, are you completely happy with the contents of your shampoo bottle being inside your body? What about your foundation, anti-wrinkle cream, skin care scrubs and cleansers, hair removing agents, laundry powders etc etc?

Would you eat them? Why not?

I have only just started thinking about this all. While I do think I am a little more aware of these things than, say, the average 22 year old, this whole 'banned-ingredient-thing' has really filled my head with questions and reservations.

It's all quite a bit to think about, so I wanted to share it. Hope you all don't mind.

I think I am going to take (baby) steps to reduce our consumption of items that have ingredients in them that I don't know what they are or do.

Thoughts? Opinions?

This could possibly be a frugal exercise too. Has anyone ever used castile soap? I have been reading about it.

5 Responses to “a banned ingredient got me thinking...”

  1. Caoineag Says:

    I use baking soda and vineagar as my main cleaning agents because of the chemical absorption through the skin (and don't forget breathing in the fumes!). I also cook 99% of things at home from scratch to minimize my intake of chemicals. That said, eating out still involves a lot of unknowns. I do tend to eat more at restaurants where I know all of their ingredients BUT the occasional fast food item still slips past my lips. Its a little scary how many chemicals a person ingests on a daily basis.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Yep...I've thought about it. I try to avoid food stored in plastic...which is really hard without access to bulk food. I have changed several personal care products because of this issue.

    I have used castile soap...but only minimally for cleaning out the sink. I have yet to try it on my hair. I think it can be used in this way. It's a little pricy...so buy a small amount first.

  3. miz pat Says:

    What is the danger of food stored in plastics? . Contemplates tupperware cake carrier she keeps baked goods in.


  4. cassandra Says:

    It is funny you should mention that. Recently I made the switch to Castile soap. It is a lot gentler on my hands and my hair seems to be doing just fine dealing with it. I'm also thinking of using the castile soap for dish soap. I bought some castile soap on Amazon and got a pretty good deal on it.

    When I switched to cloth pads and a menstrual cup, part of my motivation was to get away from all the chemicals found in disposable products. What is even worse is that some companies won't even tell you want they use in their disposable pads/tampons because they are not required to (at least here... don't know about Australia). Certainly makes one wonder.

    I don't use a lot of lotions or make-up. I haven't worn make-up for a long time. I just don't like the way it feels on my skin. Plus I have issues with how the cosmetic industry makes women feel like they NEED make-up to be pretty. But that is a separate issue.

    Miz pat, it depends on the plastic. Some plastics are OK to keep food in, some are not. One thing to consider though, is that even some of the BPA free plastics still had traces of BPA in them because they were manufactured in the same place as plastics with BPA.

  5. whitestripe Says:

    cassandra - the feminine products issue is a good point too!
    and thanks for the castile soap reviews. i am definately going to try it!

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