The other day I was very casually browsing the internet - I've learned to very casually browse the internet since any meaningful or intense browsing noramally leads me to believe I'm dying of cancer - when I stumbled upon this site called Skin Deep, developed by something called the Environmental Working Group. Now, I don't know who this Environmental Working Group is, or whether I should listen to them, but on this Skin Deep site (see where even a casual internet search for cosmetics leads you?) you can type in any sort of personal product and learn all about the product, and how it is rated by these environmental people, i.e. is my Clinique Superdefense going to kill me?
Ok, alright. I know this is where I tend to get melodramatic and I should calm down, but I should never EVER be told these sorts of things - sorts of things, for example, like that some personal products we use over and over again might be building up in our bodies and over time harming our health. I know perfectly well you have to take information like this in moderation, and I really do try in many aspects of life. I, for instance, like to know where most of my meat and produce comes from. Because, hey, I've seen those chicken trucks hauling crates full of unhappy chickens, and that's disgusting. But also because when I think about my world, I like to think about happy animals, and also happy people that care for them and get paid a decent wage. And happy people, instead of, say, blind orphans, making my clothes. Stuff like that. But if you really, really start to investigate, it's hard to live your life this way and never be a hypocrite. Sometimes I really want a new H&M shirt, and it costs $8, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that some pretty cheap labor may have been involved.
Anyway, I brought the issue of all the chemicals we are exposed to every day up to a bunch of my close girl friends who I email with very regularly, and my friend Lisa sent us a link to the following National Geographic article, in which a reporter had his body analyzed for a variety of chemicals and was unpleasantly surprised to find out how many showed up, and in big quantities, too. This, naturally, added to my fear.
Believe me, I can really go off the deep end with this sort of thing. Luckily I usually reel myself back in on my own, and within a couple hours of getting all worked up. That's partly because I have a pretty short attention span, but more importantly, it's because I realize that the line between "concerned" and "totally fucking crazy" is very, very thin. And I don't want my husband to come home one day to find me dressed in all natural burlap eating organic bananas and constructing a bomb shelter. Plus, every once in a while, I really enjoy wandering into Bath and Body Works to check out what amazing new synthetic fragrances they've got in there and I don't see myself ever getting to the point where I don't find that kind of thing relaxing.
What I will do, maybe, is try and use a little less. That's exactly what these environmental watchdog people advise, and I think it's reasonable. Try not, for example, to use 45 million products in one day, because you know what? You don't need that many. And if all that comes out of this little bit of sensible advice is that I spend less money a year on things like cuticle cream, well, that's good. And if I end up not dying from my really excellent smelling coconut-scented shampoo, well, that's good too.