The Mindful Merchant

Shop – Eat – Live – Mindfully

The Flake Debate April 6, 2010

Filed under: biodegradable,environmentally friendly,health,health warning,shopping — MindfulMerchant @ 3:10 pm

Once a month my husband and I end up in a giant grocery store…together…buying the heavy big bulk items we cannot carry on our usual walk to the shops. We have different shopping styles. Without kids, I take my time, compare prices and read labels. He likes to peruse the roasted chicken counter and the discounted clothing bin. (He loves finding odd coloured t-shirts that have been marked down multiple times until they are $2.00)

 

Sigh.

 

This past weekend we found ourselves implementing our ‘see you in the kitty litter isle in 10 minutes’ plan.  When we met up he put a  bottle of dandruff – 2 in 1 shampoo in the cart.

 

“That stuff is awful,” I said. (Actually, I used a more colourful vocabulary) “You don’t have dandruff and never have!” I said taking it out of the cart.

“That’s why I don’t,” he said, “its preventative.” Back in the cart it went.

“Trust me, it’s horrible” I plucked it out again.

<ATTENTION customers…there’s a fight brewing in the kitty litter isle>

“O.k. why is it so horrible?” He asked putting it back.

“Well…harmful chemicals…I read scary things,” I vaguely replied as I removed the bottle.

“Be specific…I’m not convinced.” This time he wedged it between the groceries.

“Aggh…I can’t remember the specifics! I’ll have to do some research,” I grumbled.

“You do that,” he grumbled back pushing the cart containing dandruff shampoo to the checkout.

 

snow_falling

What I should have told him is that popular dandruff shampoos contain a toxic ingredient – coal tar. That is the black liquid distilled from coal and it has a long history linked to cancer (miners, chimney sweeps etc.) Lathering up with coal tar extract is not the only problem. The environmental impact from coal mining continues for years polluting ground water even after mines are closed.

 

The brand my husband bought contains zinc pyrithione. Zinc in this form is problematic even though it is supposed to degrade quickly in water. An interesting study conducted by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in 2004 found that 3 millilitres of dandruff shampoo containing 0.08% zinc pyrithione killed half the fish added 24 hours later to a 1000 litre tank (within four days). 1% of the added zinc was still detected in the water – 80 days later.

 

The Environmental Working Group website gives the shampoo we purchased a hazard of 6 and reports its ingredients are linked to cancer, allergies/immunotoxicity as well as other concerns.

 

Another ingredient to watch out for is selenium disulphide. It has long-term environmental effects and considered very toxic to aquatic life.

 

If you are looking for healthier alternatives look for tea tree oil shampoos found in health food stores. Another option is to add a few drops of tea tree oil to a capful of your regular shampoo. If you want to use ingredients from your kitchen, vinegar or apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water can soak into your scalp before shampooing as another natural suggestion.

 

I have not tried any of the homemade treatments but I am looking for a tea tree shampoo to replace the shampoo my husband liked.  He is willing to stop buying the 2 in 1 stuff but he informed me there is no way he will smell like fish and chips…even for “preventative” measures.

 

Sigh.

 

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8 Responses to “The Flake Debate”

  1. Pauline Says:

    “An interesting study conducted by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation found that 3 millilitres of dandruff shampoo containing 0.08% zinc pyrithione killed half the fish added 24 hours later to a 1000 litre tank (within four days). 1% of the added zinc was still detected in the water – 80 days later. ”

    Wow! That’s scary! Hard to believe we put this stuff on our scalps, where it can get into our eyes and mouths!

  2. Yup…I suspect it’s the scary ingredients that make them smell bad too.

  3. XUP Says:

    How is it that you just now noticed that he’s poisoning his head? It’s really incredible what they put in our toiletries and cleaning products and even dish soaps. And we wonder why environmental illnesses are increasing rapidly

  4. meanie Says:

    i’m totally going to try the vineger. i have psoriasis/flakey head and have been using coal tar to little effect. fingers crossed….

    • I hope you get some relief Meanie. I just rec’d a note from a reader who said drops of tea tree oil added to your own shampoo is an economical and good solution since you know exactly how much oil is in an application. Also, she told me that if you add tea tree oil to your kids shampoo it is also preventative for lice. I’m going to start that practice in our home once in a while too. I am curious to know if it works for you.

  5. Justin Says:

    Hey, I found this site from following XUPs discussion today.

    I use that shampoo, and I’m going to have to stop now that i know these things.

    Yikes.

    Not sure what to replace it with… I guess I’ll start with the tea tree oil and go from there…

    • Hey, thanks for stopping by Justin. 🙂 We’ve replaced that shampoo with tea tree oil adding drops to our regular shampoo. It smells up the bathroom…talk about a strong scent…but it does a good job. My husband isn’t complaining so that it must be working. I hope that helps. Laura


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