Grocery shopping isn’t one of my most favorite things to do. It needs to be done, but for me it’s tedious and takes me away from other things I’d rather be doing. I know I’m not alone.

This isn’t the only reason I loathe this task. 7 years ago I became a MAJOR label reader. Before ANYTHING makes it way into my “buggy” (I live in the south now) it gets a thorough beat-down by the Granola Babe. There are some serious inspections going on and Lord have mercy if I break out my EWG or Think Dirty apps. I wasn’t always this way, but once I started learning about the harmful ingredients in our everyday products I became increasingly critical, aware, and perhaps a tad judgmental. I learned that we can’t always trust the marketing labels or the mere fact that it’s allowed to be on our grocery store shelves that it is safe for us.

The whole mission of Granola Babes is to educate, encourage, and empower others to a life of health and wellness through a more holistic and chemical-free lifestyle. I didn’t know years ago what I know now and I wish I had learned sooner. Like the saying goes, “know better, do better!” That being said, grocery shopping isn’t just about finding products and checking them off my list. For me it’s an arduous task of intense scrutiny. I wish it didn’t have to be so difficult to filter through the hype, eye-catching, manipulative marketing but this is what it means to be a conscientious, informed, proactive consumer.

In our Granola Family we call it being the “gatekeepers” of our home and health. Unfortunately, in the world today it requires a great deal of effort to sift through the nonsense and propaganda. Benjamin Franklin said that “the only thing more expensive than education is ignorance” and that is one of the reasons why I write and do my best to educate others on things that I have learned through my years of “granola” living.

Nearing the end of my journey, darting up and down the aisles, I needed to grab one last thing: tissues. Surely this would require zero brain cells as there is no need to read the ingredients in kleenex for pete’s sake! I have to say though that I really do not like the kleenex infused with lotion…don’t get me started on that. I’m a basic tissue kind of girl…even go generic from time to time. Gasp! My trusty helper, The Granola Beau, pointed out that on the top shelf (out of my 5 foot 3 inch view) was a brand new (maybe not new new, but new to me) tissue!!! What is this? ANTI-Viral tissues??!!!!!!! It claims it kills 99.9% of cold and flu viruses. I. CAN’T. EVEN. I almost instantly become outraged. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “if this is the worst thing that happens in her day it’s a pretty darn good day.” Here’s the deal, I am angry because I know what that word implies. I know that well-meaning moms who want nothing more than to protect and do the best for their children are being duped. They are being preyed upon because “anti-viral” implies that it’s going to keep your children safe, protected, and healthy. This is so wrong and it infuriates me!

You don’t have to look far to see because it lists the active ingredients right on the front. This infuriates me even more! Lo and behold, what do I see? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. If you are not aware of this chemical let me elaborate. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a chemical commonly used as an emulsifying cleaning agent and surfactant. A surfactant is a substance that breaks up surface tension which helps clean better and produces a lather. Essentially it’s the foaming agent in many of our common personal care and cleaning products like: shampoos, bubblebaths, toothpaste, dish soap, laundry detergent, children’s soaps and shampoos, stain remover, carpet cleaner, fabric glue, body wash, shave cream, mouthwash, skin cleanser, moisturizer, sun cream and certain cosmetics.

There has been huge debate over whether or not this chemical is carcinogenic, and as far as I can tell there is no definitive information out there with this direct link. However, we do know there is legitimate and alarming risks associated with SLS. SLS is a known skin irritant. The CDC even requires that on the packing and labeling it reads “harmful if swallowed, harmful in contact with skin, causes eye irritation, causes skin irritation, may cause respiratory irritation, and is toxic to aquatic life.” Well, reading this is plain irritating to my brain! So what if there is no link between SLS and cancer (at this time)? I have no desire to use a product that 1. Is a known skin irritant 2. It pollutes ground water 3. It emits toxic fumes when heated 4. It has corrosive properties 5. It has the power to permeate the eyes, brain, heart, and liver 6. Trace amounts of toxic solvents used to manufacture SLS are present 7. It is a penetration enhancer which compromises our cells making them more vulnerable to other toxic chemicals 8. The manufacturing process is highly polluting, emitting cancer-causing volatile organic compounds, sulfur compounds, and air particulates 9. There is a link to SLS and hormone imbalance….SLS can be an estrogen mimic. This is BAD news, especially for us Babes.

I wondered why in the world would this “foaming agent” be used in tissues? The short answer is, SLS is also a pesticide and herbicide. Yes, it is commonly used to kill plants and insects. Makers of SLS recently petitioned to have SLS listed as an approved pesticide for organic farming. The application was denied because of its polluting properties and environmental damage. So, what would one have to do with this tissue and why would an anti-viral tissue be necessary? When I wipe or blow my nose in a tissue I throw it away and wash my hands. At what point would smearing a SLS-laden tissue on my face and sensitive membranes stop or prevent a cold or flu? I don’t get it.

So what is the point to my rant? What do I expect you to do with this info?

  1. Don’t fall for the marketing hype. Read the labels.
  2. Do your due diligence. Research the ingredients in your cleaning and personal care products.
  3. Wash your hands frequently, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  4. Support your immune system with good nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and immune-system-supporting essential oils and supplements.
  5. Be the gatekeeper of your home and health!

Need help going chemical-free? Contact me!

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