my younger sister has been a vegetarian since she was a kid, and since moving to new york city, she's gotten more hardcore. she doesn't self-identify as vegan, but she's pretty dang close. her commitment to keeping things natural and cruelty-free goes beyond food and affects the choices she makes when purchasing everything, including personal care and cleaning products.
admittedly, i have given her a hard time over the years. i didn't get it at all and honestly thought it was a little pretentious to spend extra money on what i saw as "designer" goods. if stuff wasn't safe, we'd know, right? there are people that check into that, right?
more and more, i've learned the answer to that question is "not really." the FDA checks into the safety of food items (um, sort of, but that's a whole other issue...), but they do not require safety tests for the thousands of chemicals in our toothpastes, soaps, makeups, deoderants, etc, nor do they test how these chemicals interact with one another as we layer them onto our bodies daily. since there is so little accountability or regulation, shunning chemical products in favor of natural alternatives suddenly seemed responsible instead of alarmist or elitist, especially considering the impact of my consumer purchases have on my baby's and family's health and on the earth.
we are taking baby steps toward reducing toxicity in our home. there are still stockpiles of chemically-laden products in my bathroom, but i'm not buying any more chemical household cleaning products, and i'm trying out more natural beauty items. so far, we've had great luck with green alternatives. seventh generation makes a great all-purpose cleaner and dish soap, and we use charlie's soap, baking soda, and bio kleen's bac on dylan's diapers. bac-out miraculously made my yellowed christening dress bright and new-looking for dylan to wear 28 years after i did. who says greener, healthier products can't work as hard as their chemical cousins?
so thanks, b, for changing my mind and some of my habits. i respect and admire your passion and commitment to tread more lightly on the earth, and i'm sorry for calling you a "freak";)