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9.15.07 Elizabeth Justin Wasserman

Image: Chrisman Studios


Story Highlights

What's the opposite of a toxin-free lifestyle? For example: Personal care products (e.g., shampoo, lotion) tend to be riddled with parabens, which are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation.

5 easy ways to cut down toxins in your home


What does it mean to actually live a toxin-free lifestyle? For TrueGoods.com founder, Elizabeth Wasserman, who has cultivated a toxin-free zone within her home, it means to take care of your body, to help the environment, and then so much more.

And so much more goes a long way. Elizabeth launched TrueGoods.com simply because she wanted to help people like herself - those who care about social responsibility. TrueGoods.com offers radical transparency and truly toxin-free products everything from household goods to personal care products and even pet shampoo (okay Elizabeth, you got me thinking about my dog-child, Captain).

Read ahead to learn more about toxins in our everyday products and about the alternative solutions that will change your life and help you think differently about yourself and the people you love. For example, when a product is labeled "all natural" it sometimes just means a company's way of masking other harmful substances within the ingredients. Also, with the more information you know there's a slight chance you may freak out - but Elizabeth says - don't give up.

Q | Tell us what was the turning point in your decision to live a toxin-free lifestyle and launch TrueGoods.com?
When environmental factors began impacting the health of my family, particularly my daughter and myself, I struggled to cultivate a toxin-free zone within our own home. I realized quickly this was no easy task. In fact, it was one of the hardest challenges I’d ever faced. With so many obstacles and confusing, misleading information about product safety, what should have been a straightforward undertaking soon became thoroughly overwhelming.

The tipping point came after a particularly long vigil in the personal care aisle of my neighborhood natural grocery store. Searching for a safe shampoo for my daughter, bottle after bottle what I found weren’t ‘whole’ ingredients but rather harmful substances masked by greenwashing claims like ‘all natural,’ ‘organic’ and ‘xyz-free.’ Instead of giving up and giving in, I went home empty-handed yet determined to solve this problem once and for all. I imagined a trustworthy company whose products and purposes were truly good, a place where shopping would be simple and fun again. This dream became True Goods.

Q | What is TrueGoods.com and what might one expect from it?
It’s my strong belief that we all have the right to know exactly what’s in the products we bring into our homes. By extension, True Goods is an online shop offering radical transparency and truly toxin-free products. In the shop you’ll discover a Consciously Curated ® selection of household goods and personal care products – everything from intimate care, pet shampoo and baby lotion to laundry detergent, candles and aftershave – which have been rigorously investigated and held to unparalleled safety standards.

I started True Goods with a mission to help people like myself – who care about style, quality, clean living and social responsibility – to harness their purchasing power to create healthier lives and a more sustainable environment. And the best part is, my safety standards are non-negotiable, period. If I wouldn't use something myself, or with my own family in my own home, it's not going in my store.

Q | What's the most important message that you want to share with our readers?
The more you learn about what’s really in the stuff you’re using on a daily basis, it’s easy to freak out or give up – but don’t! The reality is you’re not alone. Everyone has toxic exposure to some extent because that’s just the world we live in these days. It’s not your fault, it’s life.

The good news is there’s a lot you can do to minimize your risk and repair the damage done. Easiest thing to tackle first? Purchasing safe products. Rather than becoming an environmental advocate or human toxicologist, shopping is something we all do almost daily – no new skills needed.

Also, keep in mind that nobody is or can be 100% perfect. We all take calculated risks, and that’s totally ok! The key is fully informed consent. Know exactly what’s in your stuff, and eyes wide open make purchasing decisions based on your own level of trust, health and priorities.

Q | From your research, can you give us a few examples on how our everyday household products can be harmful?
Where to begin?! Personal care products (e.g., shampoo, lotion) tend to be riddled with parabens, which are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation. They have been found in biopsies from breast tumors at concentrations similar to those found in consumer products. Parabens are also found in nearly all urine samples from U.S. adults of a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.

Hygiene products (e.g., toothpaste, deodorant, hand soap) often contain triclosan, an anti-bacterial chemical linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, as well as disrupted thyroid function. This can also lead to the growth of ‘super bugs.’ Seriously, if a product can kill 99.9% of bacteria, do you really want to mess with the 0.1% that survives?

Household cleaners can contain known carcinogens (e.g., 1,4-dioxane), hormone disruptors (e.g., boric acid), and dangerous fumes from chemicals like quaternary ammonium compounds, chloroform, and formaldehyde. This is truly scary stuff! Luckily, there are a growing number of amazing companies formulating safe alternatives to these creepy culprits.

Q | Some of our readers are in the busiest stages of their careers, running startups, or raising new families. What are some things they can do today to start living living a toxin-free lifestyle?
Keep it simple! Life is crazy and busy enough without making your trip to the market a new challenge to tackle. Start small, picking a few daily-use items to swap out for toxin-free alternatives. For instance, deodorant, shampoo, body wash/soap, lotion and an all-purpose household cleaner are great places to start.

Oftentimes natural products are more expensive. However, by picking one multi-purpose/multi-person item (e.g., a shampoo everyone in the house can use) you’ll actually be saving money. It’s also better for the environment to reduce the overall quantity of products we consume.

Some no-cost options for cutting down on toxins in our homes include:

01 | Ditch the plastic. Plastics leach, especially when heated. Drink out of glass cups and heat food on non-plastic plates.

02 | Open the windows for five to 10 minutes each dayIndoor air pollution is more toxic because of chemicals used to manufacture furniture and dry-clean clothes, among others.

03| Take your shoes off at the door to avoid tracking in pesticides, heavy metals and germs.

04 | Prepare your own meals. Less packaging equals less processing and preservatives. Whole ingredients mean less fake stuff.

05 | Purchase used when possible (cars, clothes, toys, etc.). Harmful chemicals have been washed out and off-gassing of manufacturing chemicals such as formaldehyde may be finished.

Q | Anything new and exciting in the works at TrueGoods.com?
As a young start-up company things are constantly changing and evolving. This means new brands coming on board, innovative products to test and fall in love with, and fresh ideas being passed around on our blog, newsletter and social sites. The science is coming out daily with new connections between the products we use and the impact on our health and environment. It’s my job to stay up-to-date and connect all the dots, which as a health geek I’m always super excited about.

Q | We're thrilled you’ll be launching a column here on consciousmagazine.co to continue sharing about leading a toxin-free lifestyle! Why is writing for Conscious important to you?
I’m honored to be joining your team as well. It’s a perfect outlet for my passion for empowering people to lead healthier lives through honest, accurate, relatable and personally-tested information. I know it’s cliché, but knowledge really is power. The more we understand about the connection between toxic ingredients and human health, the harder it is to ignore. That’s where real change begins, and I truly believe the good people reading Conscious Magazine are already changing the world. Hopefully this column will give them one more movement to consider and rally around.

Are you compelled to live toxin-free? Thanks to my interview with Elizabeth, I am! I'll start by making a few changes - one, changing my hygiene products, two, changing my cleaning products, and three, leaving my shoes at the door. Tell us about the changes you are ready to make, too!

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From the Editor
At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight real human interactions and human dignity. You can read more stories like this when you pick up your copy of Conscious Magazine. Subscribe today via our Conscious Shop and subscribe to Conscious Updates.

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