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Tell us a little bit about you and the things you are most passionate about.
My name is Andrea Frey and I am a wife, new mom, PA (physician assistant), and healthy lifestyle advocate. I am also a lover of coffee, Jesus, reading, crafting, and toxin free products. My baby girl is 5 months old, so right now I don’t have much free time, but usually you can find me in my craft room sewing, bible journaling, or making other gifts for my friends and loved ones. I am also starting up a brand new blog at www.sparklewithgrace.com where I will be discussing all things crafty, crunchy (toxin free) and Christian.
I am also a hospitalist PA so I spend the other half of my time working in a hospital in Northern Michigan. I see patients with a large variety of diseases and am passionate about helping them get through the most difficult times of their life but also provide quality education so that they can actually learn about their disease processes and be empowered to make changes that can directly and positively impact their health. While the majority of my job consists of treating disease, I also like to focus on prevention because I truly believe that that is the most important thing people can do for themselves!
What got you most excited about incorporating toxin free products into your life?
Ever since I was young, my mom had talked to me about toxins in our environment and how these can impact our development. The harmful toxins she referenced were, in my opinion, pretty obvious things to avoid like the synthetic fertilizers our neighbors used on their lawn or the chemicals others used to exterminate bugs or clean their carpets. As a result, I had always made a conscious effort to avoid overtly harmful chemicals. I had no idea until recently, however, that many of my personal care products also contained harmful chemicals!
One of the first things I discovered was that many hand sanitizers contained triclosan, an antibacterial agent that is also registered as a pesticide. Triclosan is also an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) and has been shown to interfere with thyroid function we well as weakening muscles including the heart. As a hospitalist PA, I am using hand sanitizer before and after every patient I see- that is a LOT of exposure over time! Tricolsan has recently been banned by the FDA as it is no longer “generally considered safe,” however the ban has not yet taken effect.
Once I started researching more about EDCs and other harmful ingredients, I began the journey toward detoxifying my life! I began to read the ingredient labels on my shampoo, moisturizers, sunscreen, and make-up and quickly filled a box of everything that contained potentially harmful ingredients to take to the trash. It was eye opening and also left me without many staples for my daily routine. I started seeking out my local health food stores for safer products and spent an absurd amount of time trying to decipher ingredient labels.
While it is totally possible, it is also very time consuming and difficult to decipher- it feels like reading a foreign language many times! I then found Pure Haven, a company that makes safe, fresh personal care products that are USDA certified organic and 100% free of toxins.
They took the guess work and time out of scouring ingredient labels, and their mission also resonated with me as their products are all cruelty-free and environmentally sustainable. Since becoming an ambassador for the company, I have embarked on a mission to share the message about toxin-free living with others! Next, I’m going to take you through some of the most harmful ingredients, how to identify them, and how to find safer products.
What are the most harmful toxins to know about in cosmetics?
Let’s start with 4 of the most common toxic ingredients. We call these “The Big 4.”
- Phthalates (Fragrance)
I bet if you look through your purse/ bag right now you will find a product that contains at least one of these toxins. Fragrance, specifically, is a tricky term because basically it can be used as a cover-all name for numerous toxic ingredients therefore not requiring them to be listed on the package. You will see when you start reading ingredient labels that most of the words are unpronounceable… my general rule of thumb now is if you can’t pronounce it, don’t use it.
If you are interested in learning a bit more about toxins in your personal care products, you can check out this one page document- ingredients to avoid. This is by no means comprehensive but it is a great starting place.
The “best” way to learn about what products contain harmful ingredients is to do your research and learn about these toxins and why to avoid them. However, as I mentioned before, it can be really hard to read ingredient labels! I have found 2 apps that are very helpful to use while you are out shopping for products. These are Think Dirty and the EWG’s skin deep database. Both apps offer a scanner option so you can quickly and easily scan a product and see how it stacks up! I would even challenge you to scan a couple things around the house to see what you are working with!
Another way to avoid toxic ingredients is to go with a company who is committed to the highest quality and purity standards without compromises.
Pure Haven does just this- delivering products that are 100% free of toxins.
They manufacture all of their products in a USDA certified organic facility using natural, plant based, and certified organic ingredients. All of their products are environmentally sustainable, gluten, and cruelty free as well! Their products are made from the freshest ingredients and never contain harmful preservatives.
After much research, I have tried out their products and I am sold. I now am an ambassador for the company and through this I’ve had the opportunity to hear from their CEO, Bruce Jensen, about just how high they have set the bar to create the safest, most natural products on the market. I love that they take the guess work out of reading ingredient labels for me and I know that I can trust their quality.
Which cosmetics are the most harmful? (i.e.: shampoo/conditioner, face wash, body lotion, deodorant etc.)
As you can see, it is not the cosmetics themselves that are inherently harmful, it is the ingredients they contain. For example, did you know that 61% of lipsticks contain lead?! Lead is a neurotoxin and exposure, even in small doses, can lead to language and behavior changes (neurotoxicity), delayed puberty, and even infertility.
Another example is deodorant- many commercial deodorants contain aluminum salts which are used as antiperspirants. While the data is not yet complete, there are studies demonstrating possible links with breast cancer. Although a direct link between cancer and EDCs has not yet formally been established, we do know that certain cancers (i.e. breast, ovarian, endometrial, prostate) are hormonally driven.
What first few steps would you recommend to those looking to start living a toxin free life?
In my experience I would say to be the most cautious about products that you use daily. Those are the first things I would seriously look at as far as what they contain and consider replacing them ASAP. Non-toxic personal care products tend to be a bit pricier than their toxic-filled counterparts, but I look at it as an investment in your health and future. Be aware of “greenwashing” as well- this is when a product looks like it is safe, often using words like “natural” or “green” but their ingredient label tells a different story. Nowadays I feel like we are pretty good in general about watching what we put IN our bodies, but it is just as important to pay attention to what we put ON our bodies as well! Here is a checklist to get you started on detoxifying your life today!
In my experience, be the most cautious about products that you use daily. Those are the first things I would seriously look at as far as what they contain and consider replacing them ASAP. Non-toxic personal care products tend to be a bit pricier than their toxic-filled counterparts, but I look at it as an investment in your health and future.
Nowadays I feel like we are pretty good in general about watching what we put IN our bodies, but it is just as important to pay attention to what we put ON our bodies as well!
How can we learn more about Pure Haven Products?
Use Party ID: 223101 at checkout if purchasing any products”
Also head on over to my new blog, www.sparklewithgrace.com to learn more about non-toxic living and so much more!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions about non-toxic living or whatever else is on your mind- you can reach me at email@example.com.
Cheers to detoxifying your life!