Choosing Toxic-Free Products
A “toxic-free product” is any product that is made from materials and substances that are not toxic.
Toxic-free products can include— but are not limited to—natural products, organic products, products made from nontoxic petrochemical ingredients, and even some “green” products. What they have in common are that they do not contain materials or substances that can be harmful to health,
At this time, however, there is no “toxic-free products” category in the marketplace. Unlike green products and natural products, there are no associations or expos that showcase the wide variety of toxic-free products that exist across all product categories. But there should be and I am doing what I can as fast as I can to establish this in the world.
Choosing Toxic-Free Products
There are three valid ways to go about the process of choosing toxic-free products. Most people go through these three stages in their hunt for toxic-free products, and continue to use all methods once each is discovered.
This is the simplest and, in fact, the most direct method of identifying toxic and nontoxic products. It’s just the examination of the product to see how you feel. Most people start out this way. They take a whiff of a cleaning product, for example, and say “this gives me a headache.” And then they go looking for a cleaning product they can use without getting a headache. Though this method is not backed by scientific studies, it is actually the most accurate way to determine if a product is toxic of tolerable TO YOU. Ultimately a product is safe for you to use if it causes no symptoms FOR YOU.
The drawback of relying solely on this method is that not all toxic materials give immediate symptoms. There are two types of toxics: Acute exposures give immediate symptoms. Chronic exposures require consistent day-in-day-out exposure over time before symptoms appear. The presence of some materials, such as heavy metals, cannot be sensed and avoided by this method.
Reading Labels and Product Descriptions
Once someone has the idea that a product can cause a symptom or type of illness, most people then start reading labels and product descriptions to find products that are less likely to contain toxic chemicals of various types.
Here’s where consumers want to be able to read ingredients lists and they start looking for certification logos and seals of approval.
The problem here is that many products do not disclose their ingredients at all or give incomplete information. Generic terms are used like “plastic” without disclosing the type of plastic so consumers can see if it is a type that is toxic or not.
Ideally, all products would fully disclose all materials and substances used in the making of products and packaging, as well as pertinent details about the materials and processes that would help consumers make informed decisions with regard to their product selections.
This is what I am working on now.
While makers of products who give this kind of detail are few and far between, I am working on encouraging and educating in this direction.
As much as I would love full written disclosure for every product I recommend, I can see in my everyday experience that there are toxic-free products that have no observable toxic effects, but I can’t verify that simply because the data doesn’t exist from retailers or manufacturers. Sp I go ahead and tell my readers about products even without full documentation.
The best I can do at this time is to be clear where there is documentation and disclosure and where there isn’t. And do my best to move the whole marketplace into greater awareness of the importance of providing this information and how to communicate it clearly.