You can’t catch cancer…but you can make small changes

by Lesley on August 25, 2014 · 8 comments

in cancer,stuff to know about


It’s been almost three years since Jonathan’s cancer diagnosis, and in that time we’ve been SLOWLY making changes to what types of cleaning, home and cosmetic products we use. After cancer we felt paralyzed by all the choices there are when it comes to using “the right products.”

To be honest, the whole switch to safer products felt like a lot of work and potentially more money than we wanted to spend. And when I did sit down to research I became angry.  Cancer fears and conspiracy theories are everywhere and some of them made me feel guilty I hadn’t done a good enough job as a consumer. No one was trying to make cancer feel like his fault or my fault, but it lurked underneath every new article, book or commercial reporting the latest findings.

Hear me when I say: sometimes we simply don’t know what causes cancer or why it happens to him and not her. 

As a couple we made a conscious decision to not live in fear that a certain food, cleaning product or deodorant had contributed to Jonathan’s cells behaving wonky. Instead, we made a few small changes here and there and decided that over time we’d slowly begin researching and buying products we felt might be safer for our family.

Just a few days ago I was reading news about potential cancer causing toxins in toothpaste. The article was a good kick in the butt to sit down and research some of the cosmetic products I’ve been using.

If you’re trying to make healthier product choices for your family but feel paralyzed by the research or the cost, here are my (recently discovered) tips:

1. Check out The site is like a combination of Whole Foods and Amazon Prime. They have a huge selection of healthy living products at discounted prices. Spend over $50 and you get free shipping. I decided to create an account first which allowed me to build a list of products I’m already using, or that I’d like to start using.

2. Check out for a database of safer cleaning products. We’ve already been using Seventh Generation liquid dish soap, but I keep meaning to research dishwasher and laundry detergents. The EWG confirmed that Seventh Generation is a great product, and Vitacost carries this brand. Easy peasy! I’ll start ordering Seventh Generation from Vitcost.

3. Check out Skin Deep for a database of cosmetic products. This database isn’t as user friendly as the cleaning products’ site so I ended up searching for best selling products on Vitacost and then comparing the ratings on the EWG site. As a result of my research I’ve decided to say goodbye to Cepahil, Jonathan’s Suave shampoo and our Burt’s Bees baby products. We’ll be trying a few new products instead, while holding on to some of our old favorites like my eye makeup remover and Dove bar soap which were rated well.

It took a few hours to go through all the various databases and evaluate the products we’re currently using, but I feel SO GOOD about my discoveries. I hope some of these websites might help your family too.

Also- did you know that Trader Joe’s line of food is all non-GMO? That’s another post for another day…but…just one more reason I love my beloved TJs!

Any tips for finding better cosmetic or home products for my family?

p.s. Interestingly enough, on the EWG site Mrs. Meyers isn’t ranked as high as I’d like for “safe” products. But, I love the scent and decided to keep purchasing their hand soap and countertop spray, at least for now.

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