The Mindful Merchant

Shop – Eat – Live – Mindfully

The Dirty Dozen May 20, 2010

Filed under: Canada,environment,environmentally friendly,heath and safety,shopping,toxic — MindfulMerchant @ 10:50 am


whatsinside-shoppersguideI  received an email from Lindsay Coulter. She writes The Queen of Green Blog for the David Suzuki foundation and has all kinds of inspiring tips for earth friendly, healthy living. Lindsay wanted to let me know about a new campaign just launched, the first of its kind in Canada. The David Suzuki Foundation is asking Canadians to look around our bathrooms, open makeup bags/purses/gym bags and take a closer look at the personal care products we use daily. They are interested in specific toxic ingredients. It only took a few minutes to complete and I have to say – it was surprising.


I thought there would be little to report since I have changed my shopping strategy, trying to purchasing healthier natural products.  What I realized is that some products I use have no ingredients listed on the bottles.  How did this escape my attention?  (warning – excuse ahead)   Well…I think the outside packaging had the ingredient information but even if that was the case, the information is long gone in the recycling bin.  The worst offender is toothpaste.  None of the three brands we have in our home list any ingredients on the tube.   Another surprising discovery was how many products I use on a daily basis. According to The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic  Safety Database, most people use an average of 10 personal care products in a day. I calculate I consistently use about 12 products and if I wear makeup – it is even more. Does that mean I am a high maintenance gal?


Whats_inside_logo_long_EN_sm If you are curious about the products you are slathering on daily or what your family is using, consider taking the survey. I thought it would be time consuming with lots of typing but it was a few quick clicks – super easy. Lindsay has arranged for fun earth friendly prizes and frequent draws as an incentive to participate. The more Canadians that participate, the more significance the study will have.


The David Suzuki Foundation has simplified things by identifying twelve chemicals/toxins we should try to avoid. You can download a handy wallet-sized list of the “dirty dozen” chemicals for a quick reference when shopping.  It is something to consider since industrial chemicals are basic ingredients in personal care products and our exposure is extensive. I am interested to learn more about the findings from this study.  Stay tuned.  🙂




10 Responses to “The Dirty Dozen”

  1. Mo Says:

    Some cleaners, detergents and kids products I’ve started buying “green” but I wasn’t willing to give up my hair straightening balm, face cream and other “essentials” I love. I had to tick off pretty much every toxic chemical they are looking for on the survey. It’s time I start changing up the things I use on myself.

    • It’s hard to give up our favorite products…especially when there are so many crappy “natural” products out there. That’s why I like when people share the good finds.

  2. XUP Says:

    I have a lot of trouble finding things without SLES & SLS. I had read somewhere once that one was better than the other, but I can’t remember which is which. I have tried to eliminate most of these other chemicals from personal care products, but some of that natural stuff is just nasty and very ineffective. The problem is that we live in an unnatural world and in order to combat the pollutants and stronger UVA/UVB rays we’re exposed to every day, only more chemicals will really keep us from looking like dried up shrews. Of course, the healthier we are on the inside, the fewer products we need to look good on the outside.

    • You’re right, the healthier we are on the inside, the less need for help on the outside. The survey lists both SLES & SLS in the same category…not sure which one is worse.

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  4. Dana @ MFCK Says:

    Definitely scary what’s lurking in the items we’ve become so in love with!

    It’s interesting when you stop to think how many products you use on a given day… even when your routine seems simple! I use about 12-15 products on a given day from everything that I wash and moisturize my body with to things that help my curls bounce or keep my freckles tame.


  5. Funny you mention toothpaste … I was just talking about this the other day with my hubby. We put it right in our mouths (and kids’ mouths) several times a day and we don’t know what’s actually in it! Plus, there are warnings for children not to ingest it — so why do we put it in their mouths?

    I need to find an alternative for commercial toothpaste because every time I turn around there are “new and improved” additives for things like whitening, etc that I just don’t want. It’s harder and harder to find my standard, basic, paste.

    Any suggestions?

    • Hi Julie. After taking the survey I’m looking into changing our toothpaste. I got scared about the lack of ingredients and the warnings not to ingest. So far what I’ve read is very concerning. I’ll let you know what I find out.

  6. Great – I’d love to hear any tips on toothpaste!

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