Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Great Reason to Go Chemical Free!

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Soon, men and women across the country will be showing their support and raising awareness by posting Facebook statuses, running marathons, getting tattooed, and wearing pink apparel. While some attempts at raising breast cancer awareness may seem silly and futile (posting the color of your bra on Facebook), if the end result is more women getting mammograms because suddenly there are reminders everywhere (even Great Aunt Sally is posting her bra color), then it was worth it.

While most emphasis for Breast Cancer Awareness month is placed on catching the cancer early by getting scanned, it is just as important to educate yourself about ways of preventing breast cancer. Of course, as with all cancers, there is no way to completely prevent developing breast cancer, but there are scientifically proven actions you can take to decrease your chances. According to the Mayo Clinic, ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer include not smoking, limiting alcohol, controlling your weight, exercising, breast-feeding, and avoiding environmental pollution as much as possible.

In today’s society, avoiding environmental pollution can be one of the most challenging efforts, as pollution seems to be present in almost every aspect of our lives. Pollution isn’t only what is emitted into our atmosphere by our vehicles or factory runoff that infiltrates our precious oceans, pollution can also refer to what we are putting in and on our bodies.  The overuse of chemicals in the thousands of products we use over the span of our lives have been linked to breast cancer, testicular cancer, as well as many other forms of cancer.

This October, instead of simply raising awareness about breast cancer and wearing your pink shirt to work every Friday, why not take a step and make a change in your life to reduce your risk of breast cancer, no matter how small it may be. One of the easiest ways to do this? Change your laundry detergent.

Did you know that most laundry detergents contain chemicals that have been labeled as “carcinogenic” by the Environmental Working Group (EWG)? TideAllGain, and even Arm & Hammer are guilty of pumping their soaps full of synthetic, lab-created chemicals that are harmful to the human body. Recently, Tide was in the spotlight due to the fact that they were using 1,4-Dioxane, a known carcinogen, in their detergent. By constantly wearing clothes that have been washed in harmful chemicals, you are putting yourself and your loved ones at risk.

Several years ago, a mom in St. Petersburg, Florida decided it was time for her family to switch to a chemical-free lifestyle, and laundry detergent was her top priority. Then began the birth of Monica Leonard’s now well-established and booming company, Molly’s Suds. Eye-catching packaging and fresh smelling laundry powder are not even the best parts about Molly’s Suds, it’s what is inside that really matters. The ingredients are as follows: sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium sulfate, unrefined sea salt, and organic peppermint oil. Nothing dangerous, nothing unrecognizable and impossible to pronounce, and most importantly, nothing carcinogenic. The Environmental Working Group has given Molly’s Suds an “A” rating which is no small feat. The EWG is well known for its thorough research into thousands of products and strict standards.

With so much research backing the dangers of using chemical-filled laundry detergents, making the switch to Molly’s Suds could make a real difference in your life and overall well being. It’s almost Breast Cancer Awareness month, so get out your pink shirt, wash it in Molly’s Suds, and show your support to those who have fought or are currently fighting such a terrible and devastating disease.

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By Courtney Perry

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FAQ: What Are Parabens?

Q: I’m always looking for paraben-free products but I have a confession. I don’t exactly know what parabens are. I know they are supposedly not good for you, but why is that? What are they?

A: Great question! Don’t feel bad, you’d be surprised at how many people avoid products containing parabens, SLS, phthalates, and phosphates without really knowing what they are or why they are potentially harmful.

Parabens are preservatives that actually go by several different names- you will probably never just see the word “paraben” written on an ingredient list. Two common parabens are propylparaben and parahydroxybenzoate, but there are several others. Parabens are used in most cosmetics and skin care products in order to keep them from going bad or spoiling. So in that sense, parabens are useful because they help our favorite products have a longer shelf life. But in recent years, there has been much controversy over the safety of these chemicals.

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Similar to BPAs, Parabens have been known to mimic estrogen which leads some scientists to believe that they may be a contributing factor to breast cancer. One of the scientists who it very outspoken about the possible dangers of parabens is Philippa Darbre of the University of Reading in England. In 2004, Darbre and a team of researchers discovered parabens in 18 of the 20 samples of cancerous breast tissue in women. This is not evidence that parabens caused the breast cancer, but it was a warning bell- a sign that maybe parabens should be studied further before being used so freely by both companies and consumers.

“We’ve known for more than 25 years that estrogen exposure is linked to breast cancer development and progression; it is the reason tamoxifen [commonly prescribed to women with breast cancer] is used to disrupt estrogen receptors,” says Darbre. “So it is not such a leap to be concerned that repeated, cumulative, long-term exposure to chemicals that weakly mimic estrogen might be having an impact.”

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Another alarming  study had several young, healthy, men put lotion containing parabens on their bodies. Just a few hours later, those same parabens were detected in their urine, meaning it took a matter of hours for the chemicals to completely absorb into their bodies.

So what are your options? How can you get quality, reliable, long lasting skin and body care products without exposing your body to an excessive amount of parabens? You’ll be happy to hear that paraben-free products are becoming more and more common. As companies research the downside to these preservatives, they are revamping their current products and making them more consumer friendly, and most importantly, safe. In fact, ULTA has an entire portion of their website dedicated to paraben-free makeup.

Say Yes!, Everyday Shea, Hugo Natural’s, Tarte, Coastal Classic Creations, Alba, Burt’s Bees, and Kiss My Face are just a few companies who don’t use parabens or other nasties, and have fabulous products you can find online and in stores.

Do you have any questions or need product recommendations? Send us a comment either on this post, or through our comment/question page!

By Courtney Perry

Easy and Important Baby Steps: Rid Your Home of Bisphenol A (BPA)

In addition to watching out for the chemicals we ingest and put on our skin, there are chemicals hidden in products you may not even be aware of.

A frightening chemical known as Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in products ranging from plastic water bottles to tooth fillings. At one point, the FDA said it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.” More recently, the FDA put out a statement saying, “BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods” and “the use of BPA in food packaging and containers is safe.” With conflicting stances and the hundreds of other studies published regarding the harmful effects of BPA, I’d rather avoid it and not wait to find out how the FDA is going to feel about Bisphenol A in another ten years.

The original doctor who proposed that BPA may be a risk to humans, even in small doses, was Dr. Feldman of Stanford University. “At that point we realized that we had identified a molecule that was leaching out of the plastic that, because of its estrogenic hormonelike properties, had the potential to be important and perhaps even dangerous to people who were eating or drinking out of containers made of this type of plastic, polycarbonate.” To read the full interview with him regarding his discoveries and why he believes BPA is dangerous, click here. Dr. Feldman ultimately argued that it’s better to be safe than sorry, an attitude that I find important in today’s society where wild card chemicals are appearing in more and more of our every day products.

So how does BPA get into your body? The primary way is through beverage containers and canned food. The amount of BPA that actually comes off of the container and is ingested by a person depends on a few factors, but mainly the temperature of the container (or contents of the container) and the age of the container made with BPA.

Here is what you can do to limit your intake of Bisphenol A:

  • Drink tap water or use BPA-free water bottles. Here is a great one on Amazon (and dishwasher safe, too)
  • Don’t microwave your food in plastic
  • Avoid canned food unless it is labeled “BPA free”
  • Use a french press to make your coffee as some coffee makers have BPA and phthalates in their plastic containers and tubing. French press coffee is delicious anyway!
  • Read more: 7 Secret Sources of BPA from CBS News

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By Courtney Perry

Chemical-Free Cleaning

A common misconception is that in order to achieve clean, you have to use strong and toxic cleaning products. This is not always the case, and harsh chemicals in cleaning products are not safe for your family or the environment. There are so many alternatives to using traditional cleaning products, and most of them are simple to make!

At Molly’s Suds, we use only all natural cleaning products which is how our laundry powder came into existence. There just aren’t many safe products on the market, so we took matters into our own hands. Here are several DIY cleaning products that take only a few minutes to make. Try them for yourself, you’ll be amazed at how well they work and how inexpensive they are to create!

Dish Soap (for hand washing dishes, not for the dishwasher!)

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup liquid castile soap
  • 3 tsp. vegetable glycerin
  • 5 drops tea-tree essential oil
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water

Instructions:

Pour soap, glycerin, tea-tree oil, lemon oil and water into a bottle using a funnel. Shake bottle until all ingredients are blended well. This soap can also be used on counter tops!

Shower Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. liquid castile soap
  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 cups hot water

Instructions:

Using a funnel, pour baking soda, soap, vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Shake well to blend all ingredients.
To clean your shower, we recommend spraying all surfaces and scrubbing while wearing rubber gloves.  Rinse well with water.

Glass Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. rubbing alcohol
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (optional, for scent)
  • ½ Tbsp. liquid castile soap

Instructions:

In a well-ventilated area, use a funnel to pour water, alcohol, vinegar and oil into a bottle. Shake the mixture, add soap, and shake some more!
Spray the glass cleaner on any glass surface and wipe with newspaper for best results! Newspaper leaves less streaks than cloths or paper towels.

Multi-purpose Cleaner

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. castile soap (optional)

Instructions:

Mix together ingredients, add to a spray bottle, go crazy! 

Bleach Alternative

Ingredients:

Lemon

Instructions:

Yes, you read that right. Just one ingredient, a lemon! If there is a stain you can’t get out, squeeze lemon juice onto it and place in the sun to dry. The stain will disappear, and you can follow it up with a wash in Molly’s Suds laundry powder.

Wood Furniture Polish

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 lemon (juice)

Instructions:

Blend ingredients in a spray bottle and use on any of your wooden surfaces. Wipe with a dry, clean cloth.

Laundry Powder

Ingredients:

Okay, this one is simple because we’ve already done the labor for you! Molly’s Suds is made from all natural ingredients. No long words you can’t pronounce or worrisome chemicals. Here is the ingredients list just to reassure you

  • Pure sodium carbonate
  • Sodium bicarbonate (food grade)
  • Epsom salt and dead sea salt (triple filtered in US)
  • Organic peppermint essential oil

Instructions:

Use only 1 Tablespoon per load. Safe for High Efficiency Washers and front loaders. Cloth diaper wash cycle may require the use of more than the standard 1 Tablespoon depending on mineral content in the water.

Click HERE to purchase your own bag of Molly’s Suds! Sample sizes are available.

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By Courtney Perry