Aloha, my name is Toni Childs. I am a recording artist and installation artist, and founder of Feminine Mysteries. In 1997, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease: a stress disorder. I had all the classic symptoms. My right eye was bulging out of my head, producing ‘The Graves Stare’. And my resting pulse was 120 beats per minute. At the time I had been living at high stress altitude for over a year, and had jokingly dubbed my life “The Stress Alps”. I spoke to three separate doctors; they all agreed I needed to stop – period. I was put on heart inhibitors, and told I could nuke my thyroid or I would have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life. Nuking my thyroid was not an option, and so I opted for medication. Slowly I took steps to dismantle my life as I knew it, and eventually landed on the beautiful island of Kauai in October of 1998.

Inspired to clean up my life, I began meditating and doing a daily yoga practice. Doing this gave me the time I needed to connect to my inner knowing, and activate my intuition. I began to have insights thatmy Graves Disease may have been caused by a toxic overload due to environmental impact.

Motivated, I had a hair analysis for heavy metals, and my blood checked for 1000 different potential allergies, ranging from common household products to wheat. The blood test showed that I was allergic to Mercury, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate [a chemical compound responsible the foaming action of detergents] and Chlorine found in drinking water. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate was in the body care and household products I used on a daily basis: toothpaste, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, and laundry detergent. The hair analysis came back with high levels of Mercury. A simple blood test revealed, seven parts per million of Mercury floating in my blood stream. Both the Mercury and the Chlorine were in my drinking water.

This was a massive wake up call! I assumed that my water was safe, and that the products I used on a daily basis would not be harmful to me, and that the governing bodies in the counties and states where I lived, and paid taxes would see to it. I was so wrong. This cold truth highlighted that I had given my power away to the western spin machine – the idea being that [we] in the west are the healthest on the planet, and that our privideged life means we live longer, etc. I was completely ignorant of the true impact of the better living through chemistry society I had been raised on and I am sure for most of my generation. This realization caused me to spiral and consider other ways I gave my power away.

Walking on the beach one morning a lovely woman, named Bea Lovejoy, said to me in response to my battle with Graves. “All disease is a lack of self love”.

Bea’s off hand comment planted a seed, and that seed, 14 years on, has grown into a tree of understanding. She was right… all disease is a lack of self love. Which equates to a lack of conscious awareness!

Feminine Mysteries Product Development
In 1999, I began looking for sulfate-free body care products in my local organic health food grocers. There weren’t many at the time to choose from and the ones that did exist were terrible in my hair. This spurred me to envision a line of clean natural sulfate free body care products – made with as many Certified Organic ingredients as humanly possible.

My illness, and subsequent discovery of these environmental exposures to unhealthy chemicals, led me to educate myself about the exposures women, men and children – especially women – are experiencing on a daily basis. And seek out Certified Organic Factories to assist me in developing and manufacturing my products.

“According to Neways’ conservative estimates, three personal care products are applied daily to infants and children, men use ten personal care products daily, and women use six cosmetics and thirteen personal care products each day. Assuming that the mainstream products used by most women each contain one to two carcinogens, this would amount to over 40 different avoidable carcinogenic exposures daily. It is unthinkable that women or men would knowingly inflict such exposures on themselves.” [1]

We at Feminine Mysteries have made it our business to develop safe skin care and personal care products. We’ve banned sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh cationic detergent, from all our products. [While this ingredient is itself non-carcinogenic, it damages the skin to such an extent as to substantially increase absorption of any other carcinogenic ingredients[2]. Along with other ingredients like:

Parabens – Parabens are used to prevent the growth of microbes in cosmetics products and can be absorbed through skin, blood and the digestive system [3]. Parabens have been found in biopsies from breast tumors [4] at concentrations similar to those found in consumer products [5]. Parabens may be found in a wide variety of products including shampoos, lotions, deodorants, scrubs and eye makeup, and are found in nearly all urine samples from U.S. adults regardless of ethnic, socioeconomic or geographic backgrounds [6]. Adolescents and adult females had higher levels of methylparaben and propylparaben in their urine than did males of similar ages [7].

Dioxane – 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen linked to organ toxicity, may be found in as many as 22 percent of the more than 25,000 cosmetics products in the Skin Deep database [8], but you won’t find it on ingredient labels. That’s because 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant created when common ingredients react to form the compound when mixed together. Cancer: Research shows that 1,4-dioxane readily penetrates the skin [9]. 1,4-dioxane is considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [10] and is listed as an animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program [11]. It is included on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer or birth defects [12].

BHA – Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used as preservatives in a variety of personal care products. Both of these chemicals are also used as preservatives in foods. These chemicals are linked to several health concerns including endocrine disruption and organ-system toxicity, and due to these concerns, BHA has been banned for use in cosmetics in the European Union. BHA is primarily used as an antioxidant and preservative in food, cosmetics, food packaging and animal feed. It also serves as a preservative and antioxidant in pharmaceutical preparations and cosmetic formulations that contain oils and fats [13]. Dermal exposure to BHA occurs from its use as an antioxidant in commercial products, especially lipstick and eye shadow [13]. BHT is a toluene-base ingredient that is used as a preservative in both food and personal care products [14]. Endocrine disruption: The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has determined that there is strong evidence that BHA is a human endocrine disruptor, and has banned its use in cosmetics [15].

Octinoxate – Octinoxate, also called Octyl methoxycinnamate or (OMC), is a UV filter. It can be absorbed rapidly through skinOctinoxate has been detected in human urine, blood and breast milk, which indicates that humans are systemically exposed to this compound [16,17]. Octinoxate is an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen and can disrupt thyroid function. Octinoxate filters UV‐B rays from the sun. It does not protect against UV-A rays.Octinoxate dissolves in oil, which makes it a fat-seeking substance in the body. It is formed by combining methoxycinnamic acid and 2-ethylhexanol– compounds which are not harmful on their own. When mixed together, they form a clear liquid that does not dissolve in water. It is found in hair color products and shampoos, sunscreen, lipstick, nail polish, and skin creams [20]. In products other than sunscreens, it is used as a UV filter to protect the products from degrading when exposed to the sun.

In an effort to love and heal myself, I created a line of Affirmation Body Products. I realized that I was very critical of my overall physical appearance. My inner critic was driving my life, and I finally grew tired of it. Creating a loving daily grooming practice is my way of changing the internal negative messages that have insisted I was not beautiful enough or clever enough or good enough. If you’ve been unkind to yourself too, I hope you will use these products to reclaim your power and begin the adventure of discovering your unique beauty. I urge you to give yourself permission to be powerfully magnificent.

References
[1] & [2] 
Environmental Technologies 2002 Unreasonable Risk by Samuel S Epstein, M.D. pgs 70, 71, 72 the carcinogenic and toxic hazards of a wide range of these industrial chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products.

[3] Gray, J (2008). State of the Evidence: The Connection between Breast Cancer and the Environment. San Francisco, CA: The Breast Cancer Fund.

[4] Daubre PD, Aljarrah A, Miller WR, Coldham NG, Sauer MJ, Pope GS (2004). Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. Journal of Applied Toxicology 24:5-13.

[5] Rastogi SC, Schouten A, Dekruijf N, Weijland JW (1995). Contents of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and benzylparaben in cosmetic products. Contact Dermatits 32: 28-30.

[6] Ye X, Bishop AM, Reidy JA, Needham LL, Calafat AM (2006). Parabens as urinary biomarkers of exposure in humans. Environmental Health Perspectives114: 1843-1846.

[7] Calafat, A. M., Ye, X., Wong, L.-Y., Bishop, A. M., & Needham, L. L. (2010). Urinary concentrations of four parabens in the U.S. Population: NHANES 2005-2006. Environ Health Persp, 118(5), 679–685.

[8] Environmental Working Group (2007). Impurities of Concern in Personal Care Products. Available at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/research/impurities.php. Accessed August 19, 2008.
[9] Spath, D.P.  “1,4-Dioxane Action Level.”  March 24, 1998.  Memorandum from Spath, Chief of the Division of Drinking Water and Environmental Management, Department of Health Services, 601 North 7th Street, Sacramento, California 95814 to George Alexeeff, Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.  Viewed at:  http://www.oehha.ca.gov/water/pals/pdf/PAL14DIOXAN.pdf
[10] Environmental Protection Agency (2003). 1,4 Dioxane (CASRN 123-91-1). Integrated Risk Information System. Available at http://www.epa.gov/NCEA/iris/subst/0326.htm. Accessed August 19, 2008.
[11] National Toxicology Program (2005). Report on Carcinogens, 11th Edition; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program, January 2005. Available athttp://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/eleventh/profiles/s080diox.pdf.  Accessed August 19, 2008.
[12] Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHAA) (2004). State of California Environmental Protection Agency. Chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Available athttp://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/prop65_list/files/41604list.html. Accessed August 19, 2008.

[13] National Toxicology Program, “Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition. Butylated Hydroxyanisole,” 2011.

[14] Environmental Working Group, “Skin Deep. Butylated Hydroxytoluene,” [Online]. Available: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700741/BHT/. [Accessed 20 June 2013].

[15] Environmental Working Group, “Skin Deep. Butylated Hydroxyanisole,” [Online]. Available: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/700740/BHA/. [Accessed 20 June 2013].

[16] Axelstad, M., Boberg, J., Hougaard, K. S., Christiansen, S., Jacobsen, P. R., Mandrup, K. R., … & Hass, U. (2011). Effects of pre-and postnatal exposure to the UV-filter Octyl Methoxycinnamate (OMC) on the reproductive, auditory and neurological development of rat offspring. Toxicology and applied pharmacology250(3), 278-290.

[17] Darbre, P. D. (2006). Environmental oestrogens, cosmetics and breast cancer. Best practice & research clinical endocrinology & metabolism20(1), 121-143.

[18] Chemical Information, “Octyl methoxycinnamate”. National Library of Medicine Household Products   database [Online]. Available:  http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/brands?tbl=chem&id=628&query=octyl+methoxycinnamate+&searchas=TblChemicals. [Accessed 1 October 2013]