This week’s product recommendation is for paper products that aren’t processed using chlorine.
While chlorine itself is relatively harmless, the form used to process paper can be incredibly toxic and worse, leave hazardous Disinfectant By-Products (DPBs) and formaldehyde in the paper. Who wants to wipe that all over his kitchen counter or on her skin? Not I!
There are four general types of paper product when considering how it is bleached (bleaching softens the paper, removes the lignin, and makes it white): processed with chlorine, processed with chlorine gas, processed chlorine free (PCF), and totally chlorine free (TCF).
It is difficult to find TCF products in the grocery store; the next best thing is PCF, like the Seventh Generation products shown above. Since the Seventh Generation paper products are made from recycled paper, there may be traces of chemicals like chlorine DPBs our formaldehyde from a “former life”, but in a significantly lower amount. This paper is processed with other, more earth- and people-friendly methods that help remove those chemicals.
This next part may require sensitive gentlemen to shield their eyes from TMI. Proceed at your own risk…ok, assuming that you at prepared for something female-specific, I shall go on to describe a common problem that may be remedied altogether by switching to PCF toilet paper: vulvovaginitis.
It turns out that the chemicals in chlorine-processed toilet paper cause severe irritation to sensitive skin. Little girls are the most susceptible because their pH is not acidic enough to fight off infection caused by the irritation; also, their estrogen levels are too low to keep that area of the body protected. That’s why bubble bath is a notorious vulvovaginitis trigger in young girls; synthetic fragrances and other carcinogenic chemicals make them susceptible to irritation and infection. The same thing happens with regular toilet paper.
If your little girl or baby seems to be suffering from more than her fair share of diaper rash or infection, it may be the paper products you are using; disposable wipes and toilet paper are all bleached with chlorine. Try switching to the Seventh Generation products above and see if you notice any improvement. Our little girl was getting minor infections “from nowhere” every week for months; we switched toilet paper a month ago and haven’t had another infection since! Hallelujah!
I also feel much better about cleaning my house with the Seventh Generation paper towels now that I know I’m not rubbing DBPs all over my kitchen counters! In the future I plan to find workable, UNBLEACHED products. Until then I give these products two thumbs up and hope you’ll give them a try. Your immune systems will be glad you did!
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