By Shannon Keirnan, Contributing Foodie Bitch
Being a Foodie Bitch doesn’t just mean watching what you eat (although, obviously, that’s a huge part of it). Our health is changed by stress levels, environmental toxins, sleep patterns… etc. etc. etc.! Every day we are dealing with things that can negatively impact our bodies, and we have to be savvy as to how to live our best possible lives while being bombarded by toxins.
Lately the trending news story on health has been microbeads in toothpaste.
These beads, which are made of plastic, do not disintegrate, and are not biodegradable. More and more dentists are noting that they find these tiny beads stuck up under gums, or in the gum line.
Dentists worry that the embedded plastic will trap bacteria, which can lead to gingivitis, receding gums, or serious periodontal disease.
Crest has noted that the beads are FDA approved (making you wonder why the FDA approves plastic bits in something we put in our mouths and swallow small amount of on a daily basis), and that purpose of the beads is solely for decoration. The beads do not actually polish the teeth – in fact, they have the potential to abrade enamel.
The beads can be found in popular brands like Crest Pro Health and 3D White, and Colgate’s Max Clean and Max Clean Smart Foam.
Luckily, Procter & Gamble (the makers of Crest) have vowed to phase it out of their products by 2016, but it still begs the questions – why was it in there in the first place, and what else is affecting our health without our knowledge?
It’s not the first time microbeads have come under scrutiny. Some companies are phasing them out of their body wash lines, as recent studies have shown that they are a contributor to plastic pollution in the oceans and Great Lakes.
Testing on Lake Michigan (or the Big Lake, or just “the lake,” as we here in Holland call it) showed that on average there was 17,000 bits of these tiny plastic pieces in one square kilometer of the water.
The small beads also absorb toxins from the water like a sponge. Marine animals ingest these beads in various doses in the food chain. They resemble tiny fish eggs, and therefore are commonly ingested by smaller fish, which go into birds, or bigger fish, which go into us. No studies have yet followed the negative effects this could have on larger animals (including humans), but it’s a fair bet that eating fish who have ingested toxin-soaked plastic may have some repercussions.
So, how do you avoid these hidden traps?
Checking the label for “microbeads” is always a good start.
Read the ingredients. Anything with polyethylene or polypropylene should be avoided. Since you’re there anyway, read the rest of the ingredients and see how many you can pronounce. Maybe it’s time to opt for a different, more natural brand of toothpaste or body wash in general?
And best of all, use natural alternatives. Add a little salt or sugar to your soap for a scrub that will work just as effectively, without clogging up any major water sources. If you want to polish your teeth, hit them with a little baking soda next time you brush.
Be vigilant! Remember that big companies don’t generally have your health in mind. It’s up to you to make sure you are taking care of your body!
Have a safe and healthy weekend!