What People Had to Say about “Non-Toxic” Living
As a part of understanding various perspectives on non-toxic and clean beauty, personal care and home care products, Sara, creator of BoldBeats Fitness launched a survey. The survey had six questions that explored the respondent’s perspective on non-toxic products, how they seek and gain information about what is safe, clean and non-toxic, and the major barriers to living a lifestyle free of products with more known toxic chemicals.
The survey had 25 respondents as of September 2020. (NOTE: The survey is open and accepting responses on a roll-in basis. Help to inform this work by completing this brief survey).
Survey Question # 1: Why would living a non-toxic lifestyle be important to you? If you do not find it a priority right now, can you talk about why that is?
Of those who found living a non-toxic lifestyle to be important, they listed these reasons as why:
Health/Well-being of myself & family (7)
Eco-friendly/Limit damage to the environment or to animals (3)
Long-term effects/ Preventing future illnesses (3)
Other responses: Supporting small businesses, Living a longer life/Longevity
Part of this survey was to explore perspectives and definitions of what living a non-toxic lifestyle might mean. The trends above tell us that most people are interested in living a healthier lifestyle for themselves and for their families, with the hopes of limiting damage to the environment and preventing illnesses or conditions as well. There were some rich phrases and expressions of why people want to live out this kind of lifestyle:
“Less chance of getting sick”
“Feels much free-er”
“This is my only body and I want to take care of it!”
“Living non-toxic is important for better health and lessening harmful chemicals unknowingly be absorbed by the body”
“Living a non-toxic lifestyle would be important for me because it would help with my health and well-being for the long term”
“The more I learn about all the terrible ingredients there are in everyday products, like endocrine disruptors, the more important living a non-toxic lifestyle becomes.”
“It benefits not only my personal health but the overall health of the environment around me”
“I want to take care of my body and limit toxic chemicals I am exposed to”
“It’s important to my health and my child’s health”
“To be as healthy and radiant as possible, to make the most out of my life experience.”
“Living a health lifestyle and trying to avoid as much toxins as possible in your life is so important...Taking care of yourself well is like an investment in your future. It is similar to saving money now in your retirement account so you could have enough when you are older.”
“It’s so important because so many everyday chemicals and product ingredients impact significant body functions, especially for women as we get older.”
“I have experiences many health issues related to allergies and sensitivities to every day products.”
“It is much healthier choice for improving the mind and body.”
“Healthier habits, longer life, less likelihood for disease and illness”
Some individuals (4) noted that it is not top of mind right now or do not think to look at labeling. Most of the individuals who said they do not consider it a priority at the moment also stated that they would be interested in learning more.
“To be honest, it’s not something I’ve given much thought to before but the longer I am a parent, I can see exploring that route a bit more to see the benefits on my children.”
Survey Question # 2: When you hear the phrase non-toxic products, what words or phrases does it evoke in you?
Without Harsh Chemicals/Chemical Free (5)
Eco-Friendly/Earth-Friendly/Responsible/No Animal Cruelty (4)
Crayons/Makers/Art Supplies (2)
Other responses: Good for You, Beneficial, Supporting the Body, Nourishing, Healing, Simple, Pure, Real Foods, Hair Dye, Soy/ Non-GMO, Plant-based, Handmade, Transparent, Without Preservatives, Fragrance Free
Almost all individuals had some sort of question or concern when it came to a non-toxic lifestyle. Question 3 gets to the heart of what those questions and barriers are (below).
Survey Question # 3: What are your biggest questions or barriers when it comes to living a more non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and “clean” lifestyle?
Cost of Products/Budget/Too expensive (13)
Lack of trust that it is in fact safe and non-toxic (6)
Lack of Knowledge in this area/ Understanding what to look for/Understanding labels and certifications (5)
Getting all of the people who are in the house on board/ Culture in general not set up to support this lifestyle (3)
We can only control so much/ Hard to know what we have control over (2)
The science behind non-toxic products (2)
Do not always enjoy the “feel” of the product
Shorter shelf-life of product
Feeling that it may be too much work to finding alternatives
Could a low income person afford lifestyle/ could single mom afford lifestyle?
Not sure who the authority is on regulating these items and certifications
Using products someone gifted me
When individuals were asked where they go to receive reliable information, seven individuals stated that they use Google search engine, and four individuals said they use word of mouth and recommendations from family and friends. The biggest response was not having a go-to place to get information with eight responses.
Not sure/I do not have any go-to places (8)
Word of mouth/ Friends and Family (4)
Environmental Working Group (EWG) (3)
Reading the labels/ingredients (2)
Organic Bunny Certification Website (2)
Other responses: Instagram posts, Product reviews,
Confirming questions with the business itself, Credo Beauty Store
Findings and Future Recommendations to the Field
There is a growing interest in clean, safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic lifestyle shifts: all respondents said they would be interested in learning about both non-toxic, safe personal care and beauty products as well as eco-friendly home care and cleaning products.
“I would like to integrate more non-toxic products in my life and
have more awareness of them.”
Approximately one-third stated they did not have a go-to resource for finding this information. More resources that are easy to understand, consider cost of product, and are reliable are needed in this space.
Cost and the perception of expense for non-toxic products is one of the biggest barriers: Both respondents who were already dipping their toe in this lifestyle as well as those who were interested in making changes mentioned that when they think of “clean” lifestyle, they also think of cost. When considering products, it may be appropriate to assess what people are willing to pay for certain items, depending on how frequently they use it and how they apply it or use it.
People have a lack of trust in this industry when it comes to quality, effectiveness and their claims: It was clear that people want to potentially use cleaner products, but are not sure if the quality or effectiveness would be the same as the products they are using currently. The respondents mentioned effectiveness especially when it came to home care products (e.g. getting rid of mold, making sure viruses are killed, etc.).
Sara will be launching a new business focused on wellness aspects that are often left out of the conversation or fuzzy to understand. She will explore more topics like this one and others that question and redefine the health and wellness industry to ensure it is inclusive of all people. If you are interested in getting on her listserve for the new business, can you can sign up by emailing her at BoldBeatsfitness@gmail.com with subject line “I’m in for new newsletter!”