We all use or have used products containing lye without considering the affects it has on our body and our environment. Bleach is one of the most used products in households and most of us know that bleach is powerful enough to discolor and burn a hole in our clothes. “Household bleach and pool chlorinator solutions are typically stabilized by a significant concentration of lye…as part of the manufacturing reaction. Skin contact will produce caustic irritation or burns due to defatting and saponification of skin oils and destruction of tissue. The slippery feel of bleach on skin is due to this process,” based on references on Wikipedia.
Krissah Thompson, a Washington Post staff writer, reported “the emphasis on natural ingredients in hair products is growing. But there are no regulatory standards for labeling a personal-care product "organic" or "natural," a term that is even more ambiguous. “It's a trend that's been under way for a number of years, to be more natural and green and sustainable and all the things that seem to be popular now, and the move is mostly driven by consumer demand, said John Bailey, the chief scientist at the Personal Care Products Council, a trade group. "The cosmetics industry has always been good at responding to what consumers want."”
For the past seven years, Sean Gray, senior analyst for the Environmental Working Group, has been part of the team producing EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. He stated “almost every product the non informed consumer uses—from your morning shower, to every time you wash your hands, to the time you wash your face at night and even in brushing your teeth—you can be exposed again and again. We’re seeing all these phenomena, like earlier puberty in girls and later puberty in boys, increased type 2 diabetes—which could be weight-related or environment-related—even an increase in juvenile type 1 diabetes, more birth defects. These things and others could indeed be related to all the parabens we are literally bathed in on a daily basis. That’s hard because we don’t have the studies yet to prove that they’re as bad as everyone in the environmental [advocacy] world believes them to be. The early data looks pretty bad, and it could be a lot worse.”
I am writing this post while washing clothes without the use of bleach. I stop using bleach so I can decrease the amount of lye I use on my body and my environment. The last time I purchased bleach was three months ago and my whites are not as bright as they were before, so I started to research bleach alternatives. Most often oxygen bleach is recommended. There are several different kinds of oxygen bleach. The author of the blog the Pink and Green – Going Green with Six Daughters does an excellent job at breaking down the differences.
The Lauren Daniels May/June Campaign will feature ecoSTORE USA’s household products, which consist of oxygen bleach named Pure Oxygen Whitener. Like all oxygen bleach, Pure Oxygen Whitener, contains sodium percarbonate. To make sodium percarbonate, you must use treated natural soda ash or mix natural borax with peroxide, which can occur naturally in nature. The author of the blog the Pink and Green – Going Green with Six Daughters also did a great job of listing the advantages and disadvantages of using oxygen bleach as a cleaning, brightening agent:
Advantages Oxygen Bleaches
• Better long term shelf stability than liquid hydrogen peroxide products
• Acts as a disinfectant on both bacteria and viruses likely to be encountered in the home
• Brightens fabrics
• Oxygen bleaches can be mixed or used with other household cleaners
• Non-toxic to animals, plants and humans
• Very environmentally friendly as they break down into natural soda ash and/or borax after the oxygen is released
Disadvantages of Oxygen Bleaches
• Oxygen bleaching products can cost more to use than standard cleaning products
•They take time to dissolve in water
• While very effective, oxygen bleaches can take longer to work
• They are not suited for some finer grades of silk or wool
Now the hair relaxers – STAY AWAY. Hair relaxer with or without lye is bad for your hair and for your health. I stopped paying for someone to put lye in my head. I have let my natural curls shine though with the use of natural products like henna and bentonite clay. So, I have caught on to the lye and my hair, my body, my clothes, and my environment is better for it.