It's a jungle out there — in the grocery store.
Sourcing consumer products — from toilet bowl cleaner and shampoo to milk and eggs — for you and your family has become a complicated undertaking requiring a sophisticated level of knowledge. Gone are the days of simply comparing store flyers for weekly specials or members' only deals. Now we're on the alert for toxics, GMOs, and greenwashing.
It's exhausting and daunting trying to avoid toxic chemicals and covert company operations. Can you imagine a world with only safe products on the shelves? What would life be like if you didn't have to shop defensively?
Here's what you can do to help make that imaginary world a reality:
Demand safer cosmetics
It's up to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq to make decisions that protect our health. Ask her to update Canada's regulations by making companies disclose all fragrance ingredients in the personal care products we use every day. You can help the David Suzuki Foundation build the momentum we need to see safer cosmetics on shelves. (Thanks in advance!)
Write to a company about the fragrance in your product
You probably already own products with fragrance or parfum listed as an ingredient. Canadian companies don't have to tell you what's in fragrance or parfum. They call it a trade secret or stand firmly behind federal regulations which, as mentioned above, need a makeover. Old-fashion letter writing (or email) is an excellent way to have your voice and concerns heard.
Contact a company to ask them about the fragrance in your product. We've made it easy for you in a few simple steps! The information you help us gather will bolster our work to get toxics out of our products. And why shouldn't you know what's in the stuff you put on your body?
Make your own cosmetics
It could be time to embrace your inner do-it-yourself-er. This month join the David Suzuki Foundation Book Club and take our DIY beauty challenge. Making your own personal care products is easier than you think. Author Gillian Deacon of There's Lead in Your Lipstick offers readers many easy recipes for shampoo, facial cleanser, hand lotion and even mouthwash. Send in your stories, recipe reviews and makeover photos for your chance to win a free copy of Gillian's book.
Keep the pressure on stores and suppliers by choosing safer products:
• Read labels to avoid toxic ingredients — like our Dirty Dozen
• Recognize eco-labels and claims
• Search product packaging for the recycle symbol or better yet, find packaging made from recycled content and better still, avoid excess packaging all together
Stores should only stock safer products. Help put that dream within reach.
How do you shop smarter? Have you ever written to a company?
Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green