VOC’s are not responsible for sexy, X-men mutations…as far as I know.

By Winn Apple   |   Published November, 2012

Volatile organic compounds (VOC s) are high vapor pressure, low water solubility compounds found in many manmade chemicals, many of which were associated with printing. The invention of UV dried inks instead of volatile based inks eliminated these toxic gases, resulting in a safer healthier work place and ozone.

Before you release a sigh of relief, let’s take a peek into where else these harmful acronyms run amuck. Printing is far from the only culprit.

It certainly doesn’t occur to most people to be concerned about the seemingly innocuous products they use daily, and quite liberally I might add.  It wouldn’t even cross your mind that plugging in that delightful air freshener could cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems.  But an incredibly high percentage of air fresheners tested by the NRDC (12 out of 14 to be exact) were found to contain highly toxic chemicals called phthalates. In addition, they may contain allergens and VOC’s, as well as cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde. Yick!

On the bright side, your home smells like cherry chapstick.

One issue facing the US is deregulation. Its been claimed that this is due to big companies who would prefer to keep running business as usual and apparently Washington is all ears. Though I for one,  am all in favor of no animal testing; there must be a way to regulate the products clearly hazardous to health. On the flip side of the coin we have the EU’s enforcement of strict regulations by way of the REACH Law drafted in 2007. The law requires that harmful chemicals be eliminated by companies who want to do business. As a result, the US has become the dumping ground for toxic toys, electronics and cosmetics that are continually being produced outside the US. Why not ship them here. We don’t have the protection of the REACH Law. Bummer.

Seriously, only about 5 percent of the chemicals found in the products we use have undergone even minimal testing for their toxicity or environmental impact.

Before you go rushing home to yank your air fresheners off the wall, let’s take a look at some of the other culprits lurking about your home – you’ll likely want to toss them while you are at it.

Let’s begin with all our vanity products. Vanity is acceptable; genetic damage…I dare say not.

There are a number of insidious characters nuzzled into that lovely eye shadow and vixen red lipstick. The same goes for hair color, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste….the list goes on and on. It’s dangerous maintaining all that glamour. But please, do not use this as an excuse to forego the necessary shower.

Lead, a neurotoxin which typically occurs as a contaminant, such as in hydrated silica, an ingredient in toothpaste. Lead acetate is added as an ingredient in some lipsticks and men’s hair dye. It can cause brain damage and developmental delays even at extremely low concentrations. The average woman will ingest 6 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. That’ll curb your appetite.

Other harmful ingredients include mercury, found in mascara and eye shadow, can cause neurological damage among other things. Talc, found in eye shadow, blush, baby powder, deodorant and soap, is known to act as a human carcinogen and has been directly linked to ovarian cancer. When inhaled it can behave similarly to asbestos and may lead to the formation of lung tumors.

Those are just a few.

Well, don’t get disheartened.  There are plenty of beautifying products which won’t lead to the sudden and unexpected arrival of a third eye.  There are plenty of retailers on-line – small companies like Mountain Rose Herbs or large companies like Amazon that offer Natural and Cruelty Free products.

I imagine once you liberate your bathroom, freeing it from the tyranny imposed upon it by the villainous beauty supplies, you’ll want to perform a good clean. Well you’ll likely want to add most of your cleaning products to the lead lined container you just hurled the vanity culprits into.

With merely a ratty old cleaning cloth remaining, you’ll next set out on the daunting task of replacing the scandalous cleaning agents with a friendly alternative. There are plenty of natural cleanser available and plenty of recipes, should you be so bold as to mix your own.

You and I could spend pages upon pages together, reviewing products we’d be far better off not using. But I have a feeling most of us likely know what these products are. They are the ones that burn your nose hair when you clean the shower and make your face peel. I’m sure Mother Nature loves to see those empty containers arrive at the dump.

The chemicals alone are hazards enough, but you and I are mixing and mingling these things in our home and crafting some crazy concoction that is likely resulting in some forsaken cellular mutation. I doubt seriously that it will produce anything as sexy as the X-men. You will not, I repeat not, come out of this looking like Storm or Wolverine.

If you’d prefer to age well, with your body functioning as optimally as possible and not hooked up to a respirator or tooling around on a rascal with a colostomy bag, then please people, take your health into your own hands. Rid yourselves of atleast a few of these ner-do-wells. I think I speak for everyone when I say; we want you strutting your stuff around town for years to come.

Bacchus Press – doing our best to keep it green.

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About the Author

In addition to crafting content and blogs, Winn Apple writes short stories and novellas for middle-grade readers. You can find her short stories along with a portfolio on her site, MysticJunkyard.com or on her soon to release website, snugbuggle.com – the best darn place to find short stories for kids.


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