Saturday, June 21, 2008

What On Earth Is She Doing?

My (borderline) obsession with going natural and chemical-free began innocently four years ago, after the birth of my firstborn. I was invited to a Melaleuca party, where I learned about all the nasty chemicals in Lysol and other cleaners found in the grocery store (but Lysol in particular). I was so horrified by all their possible effects -- cancer, asthma, poisoning, lung irritation -- that I switched from using chemical cleaners to using, of course, the Melaleuca products. (Lately, I've been branching out.)

Since then, I've been slowly learning more about chemicals in our everyday products. I'm already frightened, and I have a feeling that I'm just touching the tip of the iceberg.

This last year, though, has been a bit of an accelerated learning time, especially in the last few months, and I'm finding that as I learn more, a couple things happen.

1) I get extremely frustrated and angry for a couple moments.
2) I get a little obsessed.
3) I get weird looks from my friends.
4) I change things in my immediate environment.

I can't believe all the information out there that most of us just don't know. I mean, it's not like I'm a Greenpeace activist or anything. I'm just a stay-at-home mom who likes to paint and try to keep up with the dishes. But maybe that's the problem: most of us "normal people" just go on with our lives, too busy driving kids to doctors appointments and trying to pay the bills on time, without ever stopping to think about what's in our shampoo. Why would we? The drugstore sells it, and Dove has those really great commercials about self-esteem, so they wouldn't hurt us, would they?

Anyway. I don't want to rant. (I might a bit, though, depending on the day and how much coffee I've had.)

But here's the deal: that innocent shampoo with the unreadable label contains, it turns out, a chemical that explains why my scalp has been so irritated for the last year. And when I switched to a shampoo whose label I could understand and which didn't contain sodium laurel sulphate, I paid a bit more, but I got a happy head back. (And my hairdresser said she's never seen my hair so healthy.)

This is the journey that I am on. Health-discovery. It's a bit weird to some people, but I'm confident that as I learn more, I'll be able to prevent more silliness like my itchy scalp. And hopefully, I'll be able to give my kids a safer home environment to grow up in.

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