News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Q & A: My friend has been talking about keeping her children “green.” Should I be worried about this as well?

JCCHD | Mon, April 01, 2013 | [Autism Treatment][Q and A ]

Crawling Baby!

Q & A: My friend has been talking about keeping her children “green.” Should I be worried about this as well?

We do everything we can to keep our children safe and healthy. We research the food they eat and the schools they go to. We put on cabinet locks and baby proof our homes. But sometime we forget about some very basic things that our kids come into contact with everyday.

Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body? It has several functions, including heat regulation, absorption, secretion of oils, provision of a protective barrier between your internal organs and the outside world and sensitivity to sensations like heat, touch, and pain, and excretion of waste through sweat. Over 60% of what is put on the skin is absorbed—in fact, depending on the product, 100% of the substance may be absorbed.  Once absorbed, the substances that are put on the skin go directly to the blood stream, escaping the detoxification pathways. Contrast that with the fact that when something goes inside the mouth and through the digestive system, the substance is metabolized by the liver, kidneys, and other organs, and you can see how important it is to protect ourselves from toxic skin exposures. Can you imagine how many things we put on our skin that easily go into the bloodstream?

Think about how many things come in to contact with our skin—it’s not uncommon to apply soap, shampoo, lotion, chapstick, sunscreen, make-up, water, shaving cream, and other items to the skin on a daily basis.  If the skin is absorbing these things, it is important to make sure they are safe for the skin and the rest of the body as well.

Think about your day-to-day routine. You wake up and wash your hands, face, and teeth. You use the restroom, and wash your hands again. Taking a shower? You wash your body and shampoo your hair. Time for breakfast? Better wash those hands.

You go to the grocery store and, as you grab a cart, you wipe it with an antibacterial wipe. At home, you clean the house and spray it with air fresheners, use chlorine wipes to clean the kitchen counters, dust and polish the wood with a furniture spray, clean the windows with a hard-surface agent spray, and put a load of clothes in the wash with detergent.

Unfortunately, most household and skin care products are highly toxic. When absorbed through the skin, they may lead to cancer, liver toxicity, immune dysregulation, hormone imbalances, reproductive and nervous system disorders – and the list goes on.

Plastic that comes into contact with the skin will be absorbed via the skin and also the mouth if eating or drinking out of a plastic container. Of course, the skin and the mouth are not the only routes of exposure to toxins, they may also be inhaled; we need to think about things like paints and rubber cement chemicals too.

Cleaning up your environment can be a difficult project and may also seem overwhelming. Just where do you start? We want to assure you it is doable and we would like to invite you to join us on a journey to make this world a safer and better place for our kids. Stay tuned for step-by-step directions on ways you can become a savvy consumer and make safer choices for your entire family.