Some call it “clean living.” Others call it “going organic.” Regardless of the name, a life without pesticides, fertilizers, and other synthetic additives is good for you and the environment.
The word seems to be spreading. Sales of food, personal care items, cleaners, and other organic products are on the rise. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says consumer demand for organically produced goods is at an all-time high and still growing.
The reason is simple. We want fewer chemicals and more natural ingredients in the things we eat and use, especially personal items such as organic deodorant, skincare, and makeup.
The Cheap Stuff
Mass-produced cosmetics with synthetic chemicals are easy to find in groceries, drugstores, department stores, and “big-box” stores. These beauty products promise to lessen visible wrinkles, pump up collagen, get rid of age spots, and make us look younger. Have you ever read the list of ingredients on the label? Organic products won’t dry your skin with harsh chemicals — their ingredients are pretty simple. If you like wearing perfume or cologne, you may know that most fragrances are a mixture of chemicals. Some of these synthetic scents cause allergic reactions. Natural fragrances made from organic products are less apt to bring on sneezing, wheezing, and those “perfume headaches.”
Health and Beauty
We all hope to look and smell our best, especially when in public. But at what cost? Some of the market’s biggest brand names have come under fire for containing ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and hormonal changes in both males and females. Studies show potential toxic chemicals in makeup include mercury, lead, formaldehyde, and asbestos, all of which can lead to serious illness. That's why many U.S. retailers are removing known toxic chemicals from their own store-brand products.
A Cleaner Environment
Climate change, biodiversity, pure air, and clean water, are only some elements to consider when it comes to understanding the reasons organic products make sense. By going organic, we can reduce the number of chemicals going into our streams and oceans. The impact won’t happen overnight and may not be noticeable in our lifetimes. But it’s crucial for future generations of plants, animals, and human beings.
Organic items made from sustainable and renewable resources will protect the environment in many ways. For example, one sheet of a bamboo cloth-like paper towel can be reused up to 100 times. Kitchen and bathroom cleaning products made from plants do the job without using harsh chemicals. Eco-friendly laundry detergents are easy on sensitive skin and do not use sulfates or bleach.
The best way to ensure the fruits and veggies you eat are pesticide and fertilizer free is to grow them yourself. Tend to your vegetable garden with natural fertilizers such as composted plant materials, and use organic pest-control products such as neem oil and insecticidal soap. Practice companion planting in your garden to naturally discourage pests. If you plan to sell any of these foods or nonedible products at a farmer’s market, note the USDA’s definition of certified organic is very specific.
Synthetic products offer very few nutritional ingredients that enhance natural beauty. Organics provide Vitamins C, E, and A — all of which help to boost healthy skin, nails, and hair.
Read labels carefully when it comes time to replenish your supply of skin-care lotions, deodorants, and cosmetics. If you can’t pronounce or define one, or all, of those ingredients, you won’t really know what you’re getting.
Alexis Jones is a freelance writer and amateur landscaper who prides herself on being eco-friendly. She uses only native plants to encourage biodiversity and wildlife-friendly backyards.