Welcome Lindsay Dahl to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Lindsay take a science-based, logical, and not fear-based approach to non-toxic myth busting and misconceptions behind non-toxic ingredients in everyday products. Lindsay shares her knowledge and experience after working at the forefront of environmental health campaigns to eliminate toxic chemicals in consumer products through policy and market shifts.
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- Lindsay has worked at the forefront of environmental health campaigns since 2004, working to eliminate toxic chemicals in consumer products through policy and market shifts. She’s worked with some of the country’s finest policy experts, grassroots organizing pros, and social movement builders.
- Eventually she moved to Washington D.C. to help start, build and run Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, the nation’s largest campaign working to remove toxic chemicals from consumer products and build a national campaign to update federal laws on toxic chemicals. After five years in Washington, she moved West to spearhead the mission, safety, sustainability & advocacy work for one of the fastest growing clean beauty brands.
- She also writes on topics such as environmental wins, science-based consumer safety guides, safer beauty products, how to find safer products for your home, and first hand accounts about how democracy works.
- Lindsay and Stacy met through Lindsay’s work with Beautycounter. She is here to give listeners all the science behind ingredients and preservatives, and sort non-toxic myth from scientific fact.
Non-Toxic Myth Busting
- A brand can’t say they’re going to use a specific preservative in all of their different products. It’s very complicated. Some items with different ingredients will need a different type of preservative system. Often it’s multiple preservatives that work together to maintain the integrity of the formula for its shelf life.
- The market is in a transition and so green chemistry innovation has not kept up with the pace of the consumer demand. So to take something like pH ethanol out of brands hands because of a a negative perception is wrong. That’s why Lindsay likes that a bunch of clean beauty brands have continued to use this ingredient and have defended it because science is really important.
- There’s a lot of hazards related to lots of ingredients and how we’re exposed does matter. Having a high inhalation risk from something in a gas form is maybe a problem for workplace exposure, but that doesn’t mean that by the time it’s in the format of a lip gloss there’s any sort of human health risk.
- Even a lavender oil example or tea tree oil example— there hasn’t been enough repeat studies showing that there’s a major problem there. But there are some early warning signs that maybe we should or should not be using them in certain ways. There’s some studies that are totally debunked. Then others that show us, again, hormone disruption is complicated and plants actually do interact with our bodies in ways.
Non-Toxic Myth Busting Topics Discussed
- Mold can grow on skincare and makeup items for a variety of reasons. When the product is past its expiration date, when they aren’t stored properly and when the applicators are not cleaned regularly and thoroughly. Especially if there aren’t proper preservatives to protect the product this is more likely to occur.
- For example, in April of 2019 Herbivore recalled a face cream that had gone moldy from lack of synthetic preservatives. In a released statement they noted that their products only have a 12 month shelf life – and that’s including how long it takes to get into your hands. The reality is, consumers are using products for more than a few months. So it’s a brand’s responsibility to use protective ingredients.
“As consumers we need to be honest about the role that control plays in the clean living community. Some become so obsessed with creating a clean environment, they forgot that the problem is so much larger than the cleaning spray in your kitchen. By relinquishing a false sense of complete control over toxic chemical exposures, we can channel that energy into making systemic change.” -Lindsay Dahl
- Polybutene is an item used in lip gloss for water resistance. It is why we see a LARGE number of lip and eye products – and rain coats and receipts – contain PFAS. Problem is, we know that Petroleum and PFAS both have harmful effects to both the environment and humans. So when looking for an alternative, with extensive safety testing, we can see that Polybutene is a better alternative to high performance products.
- The age-old assumption that something “from the earth” is more safer than synthetic. But things like poison ivy and snake venom are natural but not good for you. This applies to other natural products we don’t usually see as harmful.
Want More? Have Questions?
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- Toxic-Free Future
- Environmental Working Group (EWG): Phenoxyethanol
- Journal of Applied Microbiology: Microbiological study of used cosmetic products: highlighting possible impact on consumer health
- Fast Company: Herbivore’s moldy face-cream recall at Sephora underscores an ugly issue for natural beauty
- Lindsay’s experience with Silent Spring Institute’s biomonitoring study
- Ritual’s Approach
- TWV Episode 272, What’s the Deal with Essential Oils?
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Note: Stacy and her guests are not medical professionals. This podcast is for general educational purposes and NOT intended to diagnose, advise, or treat any physical or mental illness. We always recommend you consult a licensed service provider.