There’s a lot you should know about how common items, including receipts, packaging, non-stick coatings, hygiene and personal care items, and flame-retardants can affect your health. The impact can often be stealthy at first, and being aware of what to look for to safeguard your wellbeing (and the planet’s) is a worthwhile conversation for everyone. This episode takes a frank look at some chemicals every American should know about and discusses legislation taking steps to bring American standards up to those long-established by other nations and the European Union.
Listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts, or read the transcript below. Share with a friend and subscribe to stay in the know as we talk with more fascinating voices at the intersection of sustainability and e-commerce. Have a guest or topic you’d like to see featured? Drop a line: email@example.com
106 – Sustainability and Your Health, with Vanessa Fitzgerald
Welcome back to Responsible Impact, a production of MagicLinks. We’re a company that connects influencers and brands in e-commerce. And in looking around us, we realized a lot of our related industries have big roles to play in environmental conversations. No one can feasibly get their footprint down to zero, but we can all be as responsible about our impact as possible. Most episodes, we stay on the causal side of things, but today we’re diving a bit into the effect. There are things you should know about what makes its way onto and then into your body. Vanessa Fitzgerald happens to be an influencer, but her primary work is to heal.
She’s a nutrition response testing practitioner in Los Angeles, and I hope you’ll find her talk as mind-blowing as I did. A heads up to any listeners with young ears around, Vanessa speaks frankly on human biology. It’s not anything salacious, but if perhaps you’re not ready to explain the birds and the bees, I’m going to go ahead and suggest headphones for this one. Our conversation kicks off with Vanessa introducing herself and her work.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (1m 9s):
So my name is Vanessa Fitzgerald. I have a private practice in Los Angeles and I do something called nutrition response testing in my practice. What we do is we test the body for the underlying causes of symptoms. So anything from fungus, bacteria, parasites, heavy metal, toxic chemical food allergies, you name it. And we figure out what organs are stressed in the body. And then we essentially just help the body rebalance itself out by feeding it with whole food supplements and homeopathic remedies.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (1m 44s):
So essentially it’s healthcare, the way mother nature intended. In my practice I have a lot of women- it’s mostly women-based. I do offer phone sessions around the US and beyond, but for true chronic healing, it has to be in person. And when I have women come in, probably I want to say 90% of the time on their intake form, they write hormonal problems.
Natalie (2m 13s):
Interesting. What do you say to that?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (2m 16s):
I always ask because I’m curious, what do hormonal problems mean to you? Because a lot of people write this stuff yet they don’t even know what their hormonal organs are or which their body are. Their hormones are then maybe like their thyroid, their ovaries, their uterus, things like that. And it’s always like, you know, I feel tired or I’m gaining weight. I’m bloated, I’m highly emotional. My periods are missed or not consistent, or I’m bleeding too much.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (2m 48s):
Or my PMS symptoms are just absolutely insane. It could be anything and everything from depression to a physical symptom, like a gut issue or some sort of skin rash. Now, when I go to test the body, I have a lot of kits with, with, you know, hundreds of different types of metals and hundreds of different types of chemicals. And more often than not, I’m pulling up the same chemicals and the same metals in all of my women, because due to, you know, everything from our water source to our soil, to our personal care products, to our cosmetics, to our clothing, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, plastics, there’s so many toxins that we are exposed to chronically every single day.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (3m 43s):
So every day we wake up, we’re basically in a battlefield and that’s not to deter you from living your life and feeling joy and all of that. It’s just more so to be aware of how much we’re exposed to, and to be aware of where we can make changes in order to not feel all of these symptoms and have this much exposure to this many toxins.
Natalie (4m 8s):
Gotcha. Okay. Where should we start first?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (4m 13s):
So we can start with the endocrine system. So the endocrine hormones in the body are the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal, which are all located in your brain. So usually when those are out of whack, we tend to get really emotional or for men usually, it manifests is rage or anger, depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, insomnia, things like that. Then you’ve got your thyroid, you have your thymus gland, you have your adrenals, you have your pancreas, your ovaries, your uterus, you know, obviously all those organs down there, your testes are all part of your endocrine system.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (4m 59s):
That being said, endocrine disruptors also known as EDs are chemicals that may interfere with the production or activity of human hormones. So these include things like dioxins, VPAs, PCBs, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plasticizers, and phthalates. Every day, we’re exposed to specific chemicals that mess up our home, our hormonal systems. The thing is, is that we just want, like I said before, to be aware of where they’re coming from to try and minimize our, our exposure to it.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (5m 31s):
So, you know, the water, we drink the carpet, we sit on the shampoo, we use the fish, we ate, everything has something in it nowadays with the advancement of, you know, industry and technology and all of this other fun stuff.
Natalie (5m 49s):
Okay. So bear with me. What exactly do endocrine disruptors do?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (5m 55s):
Endocrine disruptors basically can mimic hormones so they can do one of three responses usually. So it’s a powerful response that can be even more powerful than the original hormone. It can be a less powerful response than the original hormone or a totally different response in the original hormone. And in the end, these things can change hormone creation, transport, binding, and breakdown, and even small amounts influence our system because endocrine disruptors are measured in parts per trillion.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (6m 26s):
So these are very, very small particles. Yeah. So if you’re not overwhelmed yet, I know a lot, but there are ways around it. It also means that it sticks around in our water, our air, our soil, and our bodies for a very long time. And these things can create oxidative stress, altered, testicular function, and suppression of testosterone synthesis. A lot of men are having to stop throne issues, you know, impairment with cognition, some social issues.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (6m 56s):
I’ve, I’ve gotten a few, a few women I’ve come in and all of a sudden they’re like I have social anxiety. It’s a very strange side effect of this sort of thing. You can have a conversion of cholesterol to steroid hormones, promotion of obesity. They store in fat cells. And maybe the body, all of a sudden starts to store more fat altered onset of puberty. So a lot of women going through puberty, they either go through it at a very young age or way too late. It disrupts immune function, bone health, cardio function, mental status, a ton of things.
Natalie (7m 29s):
I feel bad because I’m on the one hand listening to everything you’re saying. And on the other hand, I’m sitting here thinking to myself, how is it possible that these are things that are allowed on the market?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (7m 39s):
So unfortunately in the US, the law currently addresses endocrine disruptors under a very specific integrated framework. And they’re trying currently to make its way through 87,000 chemicals that we are exposed to. Yeah, there are 87,000 roughly chemicals we are exposed to, but unfortunately the endocrine disruptor screening program that EDLP doesn’t actually have the authority for regulation in the US which is really sad and heartbreaking.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (8m 17s):
But the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, for example, requires regulation of any chemical that may have short or long term effects on biological diversity or endanger any human health. So forget just hormones The US does not have this. So unfortunately, since we are exposed to it, you know, we do have to be, like I said, way more cognizant and studies also show that pregnant women have substantial exposure to endocrine disruptors, which also influence their offspring, you know, while the offspring’s in utero.
Natalie (8m 60s):
Okay, I’m with you. I don’t like it, but I’m with you!
Vanessa Fitzgerald (9m 3s):
So let’s get just basically to, you know, the major chemicals like where they come from and then we can sort of go over, you know, how to avoid them. So we can start with BPH. BPH is, you know, the things that we all know like that we see BPA free bottles, all of these types of things, but they can also be found in the receipts that you get from stores. Thermal paper is coated with BPA.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (9m 34s):
So it’s best not to actually take the receipt. It’s best to just let them throw it away and not touch the receipt, especially for holding onto receipts for a long time.
Natalie (9m 44s):
As a quick aside, I really didn’t want this to be true. I went and I did some research and of course Vanessa’s completely correct, but it gets even more complicated than that. It turns out the reason the BPA can come off so easily from the thermal paper is because it’s not really particularly bonded to it. So as soon as you touch the receipt, you begin absorbing it. It gets even more complicated when you realize that things like sunscreens and hand sanitizers make our skin more absorbent and within about two seconds of touching a receipt, if you’ve recently used sunscreen or hand sanitizer, your skin has absorbed about 40% of the BPA on the paper.
Natalie (10m 18s):
Last but not least if you’re pregnant, of course, you’re at higher risk. There are effects of BPA on developing fetuses. If you work as a cashier or perhaps as an accountant who processes receipts, and you are expecting, it might be a good idea to do some research and perhaps consider handling receipts while wearing gloves.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (10m 33s):
You know, when we touch things with our palms, I mean, obviously now with COVID we’re sanitizing and doing all of these things, but while we’re sanitizing germs, we’re not necessarily sanitizing the BPA coding. So
Natalie (10m 46s):
Yeah, you don’t break it down with rubbing alcohol, for example, that’s not how that works.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (10m 51s):
Yeah. Your hands before you eat, like if you’re going to put your hand in your mouth, like, like babies should not be touching receipts, for example, cause their hands go everywhere before you touch your eye and your face. I wouldn’t be putting receipts like inside of your, you know, workout pants against your skin. Not that many people do that, but let’s say your hands are full of the market. Not the best idea. We want to avoid plastics marked with PC, which is polycarbonate or there’s a recycling label called number seven.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (11m 25s):
So not all plastics contain BPH, but many do. And you want to substitute fresh, frozen or dried food for canned. Like, do you want to, you don’t want to have as much canned food as possible.
Natalie (11m 38s):
The lining on the inside of the can that’s what has the BPA, right? The lining that keeps it from interacting with the metal. Is that right?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (11m 46s):
Usually. So you want to look for BPA free, but if you’re going for like fresh or frozen packaged food too, you also have to look what it’s packaged in. So they usually vacuum seal a lot of things in plastic. You want to make sure that that plastic is also BPA free. Gotcha. Then there’s the satellites, right? They’re found in fragrance in toys, plastic wrap, and this can be, you know, linked to male reproductive system problems, lower sperm count miscarriages, gestational diabetes.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (12m 16s):
So we want to avoid plastic food containers. And we can, I myself try my best. But you know, if I’m going to jump over to grab a lunch to go, it’s no longer really an option. You’re going to the hot food bar to not have plastic during these times. So I do my best to cook my own food when I can and store it in a glass container. But I do still get exposed to plastic, but this is where, you know, like I said, supplements come in. It’s a great way to help continuously detox the body.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (12m 47s):
And also, like I said, pick your poison. So while I might have a plastic container there, I’ll try my best, not to drink out of a plastic bottle and choose glass or use my non-toxic canister, refillable water bottle.
Natalie (13m 2s):
I know you also had a ton that you wanted to talk about for phthalates which heads up to anybody who wants to Google them: you’ll find the hard way like I did that before the TH is a silent PH – super fun fact. What can you tell us about phthalates?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (13m 20s):
I usually find a lot of vinyl chloride and phthalates in my women clients because of garbage bags, especially the fragranced ones. You really want to not buy that. Cause that stuff off-gases into the air and you’re breathing in. And I don’t know if you know, let’s say you’re someone who actually doesn’t use those toxic garbage bags and you use cleaner ones or biodegradable garbage bags, which aren’t the best cause they do rip. But it’s, you know, at least it’s saving you from some hormonal troubles, but if you were to smell and I haven’t been to some friends’ houses that have the scented garbage bags, it is so pungent, overwhelming – almost makes me nauseous.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (14m 1s):
And that is your pure chemical. And guess where that goes, that goes into the landfill. And this eventually ends up in our water sources. So if you’re drinking, tap water still, please stop. Filter your water or use a reverse osmosis system in your house. Cause even when you shower, I mean, I have a filter on my shower at home. It wasn’t expensive. I got it on Amazon just to filter out things like chlorine and other chemicals in the water
Natalie (14m 28s):
Noted. Okay. Yeah. What else do you want to cover?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (14m 31s):
And then there’s the PFAS chemicals. And these include more than 4,700 chemicals, some linked to cancer, thyroid disease, weakened immunity, developmental effects. And these are in nonstick items, waterproofing and grease resistant chemicals that are used for cookware waterproof clothing coatings on upholstered furniture, carpeting, food packaging. This isn’t a lot of fabrics and drinking water is one of the most common ways to be exposed to PFA chemicals.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (15m 8s):
You also want to avoid brands like Teflon, Scotchgard, StainMaster polar tech or Gore-Tex. But I myself, like if I’m, you know, doing a hike in the mountains somewhere I have Gore-Tex on because otherwise you will die of hypothermia if you get wet and it doesn’t dry. So every day, no, you want to skip the optional stain repellent treatment on new carpets and furniture. Cause many of these coatings are made with PFA chemicals.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (15m 39s):
Definitely. I mean, I say don’t ever do fast food, but you can cut back on fast food because all these fast food packagings are made with PFAS. So the McDonald’s wrappers, Burger King, like those things with printed that are printed with their name on it, I would really try and stay away from that. I’m always pop popcorn on the stove. If you’re going to make popcorn and don’t use nonstick pans and kitchen utensils, even though it’s harder to clean, it’s better for your hormones.
Natalie (16m 6s):
There’s an awful lot to be said about PFAS. And as another quick aside, I’ll just encourage you to research them. They’re also commonly known as forever chemicals because that’s about how long they stick around. And they’ve been found just about everywhere because they migrate so easily. So this means not only in the bloodstream of almost every American, but also in the blood of newborns, in dolphins off the coast or in polar bears in the Arctic. There’s a nice little sneaky story too: DuPont knew that Teflon and other chemicals like it, which are PFAS would make people sick. And since the late thirties, when they first developed it and moved to market it, they did their very best to suppress this information.
Natalie (16m 42s):
They now have purchased a reverse osmosis company so that they can be both the people who helped make you sick and the people who sell you what you need to avoid becoming sick. The things that PFAS do to your health are, I mean, just awful. Everything from obesity and metabolic issues to thyroid and liver damage to cancer, to fetal abnormalities, birth defects, small head circumference and newborns. That doesn’t sound fun. When Vanessa says maybe you should avoid PFAS? Yeah, maybe we should all avoid PFAS. I think she has a good point.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (17m 13s):
There’s also another chemical called atrazine. This is used in the majority of corn crops in the US and you know, I do stay away from a lot of different foods. It’s my personal choice. But corn is one of the things that’s pretty much a non-negotiable for me. It’s really hard to find clean corn in the US and even non-GMO. Corn is still GMO. Atrazine is accepted and widely used. And corn production is the number one subsidized crop by the US it’s probably ideal to stay away from corn in general.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (17m 46s):
Atrazine has been linked to childhood leukemia and Parkinson’s and things like that. So we want to get a drinking water filter. That’s certified to remove atrazine reverse. Osmosis is one of those things. If you want to get one for your fridge, just make sure that you read that it can filter out things like atrazine. You want to try and buy organic produce whenever possible. And it’s just basically it’s a pesticide. So avoid pesticides as much as possible.
Natalie (18m 12s):
Gotcha. Okay. What else should we be keeping an eye out for?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (18m 17s):
So we are exposed to flame retardants in our mattresses and our upholstered furniture and our foam cushions, baby car seats, insulation, and electronics. And this is linked to hormone disruption as well. Cancer attention deficit disorders in children, in IQ issues. The most toxic ones have been phased out, but there’s still others that haven’t really been studied or examined yet that can still be harmful to our health.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (18m 47s):
So we want to try and mitigate any flame retardant products in our house because we can inhale them. We can ingest them. We can absorb them in our skin. And there’s a lot of different studies that have found flame retardants in humans through their skin. So in order to reduce your exposure, at least we want to check item labels and make sure that our furniture isn’t made with chemical flame retardants. And you can ask your furniture manufacturer if they do, if you’re doing something custom asked for them to leave it off, wash your hands frequently.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (19m 20s):
Obviously using soap and water, like I said before, this is really important for babies and young children, because they’re putting their hands in their mouth. So if you’re touching a sofa with flame retardants, and then putting your hands in your mouth, not a good idea, you want to vacuum with a HEPA filter and dust with at least a wet rag. So you can prevent the flame retardants and other chemicals from building up in your home because they do come off on lint and things like that. So every time a great flyer in like, you know, I live in California, I live in Los Angeles when there’s a massive fire these homes go up in flames.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (19m 53s):
So these curtains, these cushions, these carpets, all of a sudden go into our air source. Now everybody in California is breathing this stuff in. That’s why it’s important to try and limit as much as you can in your house. It’s really not going to stop flames from, from eating away at the furniture. And you want to replace old carpet and don’t forget the padding underneath the carpeting. So these are all different types of endocrine disruptors. There’s also another one called perchlorate, which is a component of rocket fuel. This is an endocrine disruptor, and it really interferes to the thyroid gland.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (20m 27s):
So most of my women that do come in, I want to say starting around 26, I had to see issues in the thyroid. When this folkloric gets into your body, it basically just makes the thyroid hormone stop working. It contaminates our drinking water. So obviously like again, I said, it’s very important to drink a completely water. And since it’s nearly impossible to really avoid this, because it’s in our food because of the water that maybe animals drink or that what we wash our stuff with or how it was grown, the water that was used to water, the soil, what we want to do is try and up our iodine intake.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (21m 7s):
Just make sure that you’re consulting with the doctor and you already don’t have high levels of iodine or that your thyroid is in good shape because too much iodine can push you over the edge. But, you know, just to start, even though like pink salt is great for hydration and we don’t, we say like, usually table salt is not it’s dehydrating iodized table salt does have iodine, so it actually can help your thyroid. Funny enough.
Natalie (21m 32s):
So obviously all of these chemicals are particularly granular. When you take a more kind of 10,000-foot view on things, what is it? What does it look like to you?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (21m 45s):
So all of these things, obviously I know this is more about, you know, how we can be more eco-friendly and help the world that way all of these chemicals run off into our water. They destroy our soil. At the end of the day, they are harming our earth and the humans and the animals on it. So that being said, we really just need to be careful of the products that we produce. I, myself, I’m not in the, you know, consumer packaged goods industry, but those that are getting into it, just to be hyper-aware of what they’re using and the chemicals are using in their products to the actual packaging that their products are being put in.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (22m 25s):
And then, you know, it’s great to recycle. I love reusing different things, but I’m really not a fan of this recycled plastic clothing trend workout gear as is, is pretty, is pretty toxic for our skin because of the use of synthetic chemical blends and fungicides to make things antibacterial, you know, and sweat, wicking, things like that. And these things are linked to liver problems and toxicity and problems with our lungs and stuff like that.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (22m 59s):
So forget all the chemicals that are already in it. When you take something like recycled plastic, which I know is a trend right now, and you turn it into performance gear. So, you know, workout gear and you’re sweating in it. And then typically at least in LA, it’s all about athletes. You’re aware, then we’re wearing it all day long and it’s against our lymph nodes. And our main LinkedIn’s are what behind our knees and our grind behind our ears in our armpits. And these are all things that are like hugging super tight next to our skin and it suffocates our skin.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (23m 32s):
So then our skin is unable to breathe. We already have so much plastic toxicity. Like I just listed off all those chemicals, which are all found in plastic, but then to have it in our actual clothing is too much for our hormones to handle. So I would highly rethink that choice, sorry to the plat recycled plastic companies out there, but we’re not meant to be saran-wrapped all day. I mean, even though, even if it’s like a BPA free one, it’s just a lot of suffocation on our skin.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (24m 3s):
We should be wearing as much breathable cotton as possible. And like I said, I, myself am a total. You know, I totally use all these, not the recycled plastic, but I use synthetic clothing more often than not. But what I try to do is if I go to a workout, I take my clothes off immediately afterwards and put on a hundred percent cotton sweats, at least until I get home to shower. And I try not to sit in my workout gear all day long, cause that really can affect the body.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (24m 33s):
And that’s usually when, sometimes I get a lot of complaints from women going like I’m so lethargic all the time, yet every single session they come to their, in their workout gear. So I’m just wondering like, are you sitting in this all day long? So if you’re now that we work from home, if you’re sitting in your workout gear on your computer, you’ve got the EMS and the toxic, the toxins going into your body, no wonder you’re going to feel tired. At the end of the day, we can’t live in a plastic bubble, right?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (25m 4s):
And it’s not, it doesn’t mean this is all going to kill us. We can live a very long, healthy, happy life. It’s just choosing; it’s like a pick your poison kind of game and then deciding where you can make a difference in your home. And just being more cognizant of like how you put your hands in your mouth and things like that, you know, we do need germs. So it’s not like, and it’s hard because now with all of the sanitizing and the hand washing and the before, when people are wiping down their groceries, our immune systems get weak when we’re not exposed to germs, but this isn’t germs.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (25m 37s):
This is chemicals. It’s totally different beast than actual germs. While these things harm, our immune system germs can actually help build our immune system.
Natalie (25m 47s):
So just in the time that we’ve been talking about this, like swath of chemicals and the products that they’re used in, how is it that these kinds of things are allowed to go to market?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (25m 59s):
So they, yeah. They know that these chemicals exist, but a lot of these things are actually banned in other countries like Canada and parts of Europe. It’s our lobbying system. Part of how these are allowed to go through. I think there’s a lot of corruption obviously, and there’s a lot of money in mass production of anything, you know? So if you have plastics, obviously it’s like, how do you -it’s hard – how do you live without plastic? It’s, it’s, it’s really hard to live. That sort of lifestyle even saw this girl who is famous for zero waste and zero plastic.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (26m 33s):
She doesn’t even touch the stuff. And she had to put out, you know, a message on her Instagram when COVID like, it’s she was like suffering, she’s like, I have to use plastic.
Natalie (26m 49s):
I mean, there’s hidden plastics and things too. Like even in the way that certain paper products are printed, right. With certain books.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (26m 54s):
Oh yeah. And our fish our fish have microplastics, cause it’s in our water.
Natalie (26m 58s):
Now I know in terms of feminine care products and detergents, cleaning products, things like that, I’m going to presume that they all also fall into some category or the other of these, these products. Am I wrong on that?
Vanessa Fitzgerald (27m 15s):
Totally- like tampons. I called them the vagina cigarettes. It’s just a matter of time. I mean, I’m still holding hope. There is a matter of time where there will be a surgeon general warning on regular tampons. So that’s why a lot of companies are trying to get into organic cotton, a hundred percent organic cotton tampons because the other tampons, they have things like chloroform and formaldehyde in them, you know, to help them expand in us and all that sort of stuff.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (27m 47s):
And obviously formaldehyde and chloroform does not belong in our bodies. It’s literally a cancer stick. So tampons, condoms are a big thing too. You want to use nontoxic condoms? I know two companies, I really like sustain and glide. You know, if you’re using Lu, you want to use, you know, very like nontoxic lubes, they will say coconut oil, but I’ve heard some women report that that can give them yeast infections. So I would, I would go for a nontoxic blue, like I said, sustain makes that stuff.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (28m 23s):
You know, our underwear that we’re in as well. We want to use a hundred percent cotton underwear as much as possible. You know, that’s being hidden. So it’s not like it’s easier to wear. At least you can let your vagina breathe a little bit. Same with men. Crazy. It’s crazy. Cause we’re just coming up with more and more stuff and quicker ways to produce things and you know, new technology and while that’s great and yes, the world’s going that way and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Honestly, there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (28m 53s):
We can’t live our life in fear. We can’t live our life in a bubble it’s we kind of have to accept the changes and then make the necessary changes. We do have control over, like what do we have control over our tampon choice, easy fix, you know, what do we have control over our household cleaner, easy fix. Now everybody’s talking about these things, but I would just like maybe up level it and call the furniture company and be like, Hey, is there a flame return chemical on this? And it’s because a lot of like, like fast fashion, it’s like fast furniture will also have that stuff on it.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (29m 27s):
You just want to be mindful there. Things like that, that, you know, little changes that we can definitely make in our cosmetics, for example, to our lotions and our makeup, baby toys are cute and colorful and whatever it is, but what do babies do with toys? They put it in their mouth. So they’re eating toxins all along. And I know there’s some great nontoxic toy company, but you know, it’s just trying to, like I said, it’s just, we have to try to do the best that we can in this environment.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (30m 0s):
And if it’s, you know, a company that’s putting out a product, then I just implore them to rethink how, what their packaging is like and what is their, what is their goal? What is their stuff comprised of things like that?
Natalie (30m 13s):
I think this is already going to be a mindblowing episode for most of our listeners.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (30m 17s):
That’s a lot of information. I just don’t want to like freak people out. I know it’s like, it’s a lot of information, right? It’s a lot to think about. But you know, I always try, for example, with food, with my clients, I always tell them, you know, anxiety is going to kill you before the food on your plate will with everything else. So like that information, knowledge is power, but also you have to live a joyous, happy life. And if you’re trying to, trying to be as like, if you’re you become crazy because of these things, like you’re too hyper-aware you miss out on the joy of life.
Vanessa Fitzgerald (30m 56s):
So you really just have to, like I said, make the necessary swaps that are within your control. We are exposed to these things and our immune system and our lymphatic system because our lymphatic systems job is to drain toxins from the body. So it’s our body’s job to flush this stuff out at the end of the day, though, too much, will get into our system. There’s a certain degree we can handle. And then there’s a lot that we can’t. So just be aware. That’s all, that’s, all it takes is awareness. And some, you know, easy swaps to begin, then you can go from there.
Natalie (31m 34s):
As of getting ready to release this episode, something landmark has happened. The California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act is now on Governor Newsom’s desk after a historic bipartisan vote. It’s been over 80 years since the Federal government passed any laws concerning safety and substances in cosmetics. This legislation would ban mercury, formaldehyde, PFAS, and more from products sold in California. And California is such a large marketplace that by the time you make enough product for store shelves here, you kind of may as well make your entire American supply according to these standards.
Natalie (32m 5s):
Now, while the Act only restricts the use of 12 substances, you should know that for further context, the cosmetics industry in America is completely self-regulating. Any advisory boards are voluntary and so is compliance with any recommendations they make. So getting these substances banned from use is massive. To give you an idea, many of the companies this would require to do better for American consumers are also an operation in places like Europe, where they sell formulations of the same products, and which are compliant with European regulations.
Natalie (32m 35s):
Europe restricts the use of over 1,300 chemicals in cosmetics. The US only restricts or suggests restriction on a mere 11. It’s not that the formulas for healthier products don’t exist. It’s that we need to insist on better from the brands we support.
Credits this episode, go to Dr. Morgan Monsanto, Susan Thompson, Haesil Shin, Brian Nickerson, Davin Lawrence, and of course, Vanessa Fitzgerald. She’s @veeshoney go check out her work.
Natalie (33m 12s):
And I say it every time, but I honestly mean it: thank you for listening. I hope this episode finds you in good health. If not, I hope you’re able to find your way to good health soon. Truly.
Alright. I’m Natalie, and I’m out. Till next time, gang.