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Woman scrubbing or washing face.
Consumer decisions we make as individuals don't change much, but a lot of individuals acting together become something more, and the spread of information is the first step to getting there. Two simple decisions you make when shopping for your bathroom—reaching for another product on the same shelf, not even changing stores, let alone mixing your own toiletries—can yield real effects.

First, your antibacterial soap. Did you know that, according to the FDA, there's no evidence antibacterial soap is better at cleaning and preventing infection than plain old-fashioned soap? Not only that, but the FDA is telling makers of antibacterial soaps that they need to prove their products are safe, a move that was:

... applauded by public health experts, who for years have urged the agency to regulate antimicrobial chemicals, warning that they risk scrambling hormones in children and promoting drug-resistant infections, among other things.
It's not like you can't buy antibacterial soap, even if it will limit your choices from two dozen to one dozen. And really, if there's no provable benefit to it, why would you want to risk scrambling your kid's hormones and increasing the likelihood of drug-resistant flesh-eating bacteria, drug-resistant pneumonia, drug-resistant food poisoning, and more along those lines?

Please read below the fold for another change you can make to help the environment.

Second, your exfoliant. What are those little gritty things that scrub your face made of? In too many cases, they're plastic, and those little plastic beads are making their way past water treatment plants and into lakes, rivers, and oceans:

... plastics degrade so slowly and become coated with poisons in the water like the cancer-causing chemicals known as PCBs. [...]

In a recent paper, Dr. Mason and colleagues took samples that suggested concentrations of as much as 1.1 million bits of microplastics per square mile in some parts of the [Great Lakes'] surfaces, with beads making up more than 60 percent of the samples. She has found beads in all five of the lakes, with the greatest concentrations in Lakes Erie and Ontario, which take the water flows from the other lakes and which are ringed with cities and towns.

Fish eat the PCB-coated plastic, you eat the fish ... we're still waiting for definitive studies of how much these plastic beads are entering our diets through lake fish, but as much as refusing to inconvenience ourselves for the environment is a grand American tradition, is it really so hard to reach for another exfoliant? It's really not difficult:
Some producers of natural facial products have found alternatives to the inexpensive plastics—some of which can sound less like a cleanser than a variety of Whole Foods granola. St. Ives, a Unilever brand, uses natural exfoliants like ground walnut shells. A spokeswoman for Burt’s Bees said the company had never used the plastic; its acne scrubs use jojoba beads, and its citrus facial scrub is made with “oat kernel flour, almond meal and pecan shell powder.”
Will brand loyalty or simply not wanting to hear that your bathroom products could be harmful prevent you from making these easy shifts?
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