Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Did My Shampoo Just Change My Sex?

One of the advantages of being married to a Green Czar is, of course, being spared every kind of disaster by exposure to weird, body-and-soul-destroying chemicals. The best part is I don't have to raise a finger--most of the time. The Green Goddess just makes the bad stuff go away.

But then she started messing with my SHAMPOO.

Now, the male gene for emotional and domestic stability often finds first expression by attachment to our earliest cosmetic products. It's like a baby duck bonding with the first living creature it sees. Only with us Greenfellas, hanging out in the locker room at 13, parting our hair with a little dab o' do-ya, it tends to be Old Spice, Bryllcreem, Mitchum Anti-Perspirant. Despite the mixed messages the advertising sometimes delivered ("All my men wear English Leather or they wear nothing at all") we still are fiercely loyal to the old brands.With shampoo, that tended to be a brand that preyed on the fear of white specks showing up on our black tuxedos (a slight disconnect at age 13 fashion-wise), and, after we got to college and realized chicks were hep to the whole white specks anxiety, to that old standby with pictures of flowers on it. Who could be against, like, herbs? (Heh-heh.)

Of course it actually had been years since I bought any of those old standbys, but then the other day I got fed up with washing my hair with plain soap because the Green Witch hadn't been to the drugstore. So on my way home from work I broke the rules. And got the scariest lecture about a kind of F-word you'll never hear on television:Phthalates.

Yeah, that kind of Phth-word. SCARY.

Holding her trusty yew switch as a pointer, the Green Queen rapped my nethers and said: "Exposure to phthalates--chemicals widely used as synthetic fragrancing agents, as well as in plastics--correlates to abdominal obesity and insulin resistance in U.S. adult males, according to a March, 2007 study in Environmental Health Perspectives online. The CDC says that all Americans have phthalates in our bodies, and previous studies have linked the chemicals to subtle genital and reproductive hormone changes in male infants."

Naturally, I immediately checked myself out. And my pals, that gang of reluctant but trying Green Men called the Greenfellas. At the top of this entry is what we looked like--nothing subtle, right? [Editor's note: the photo was removed by divine intervention, but take our word for it... In fact, take several words: hideous, blubbery, gastropod-like.]

Scared yet? I was. And out to recycling went those nasty phth-phth-phth-alates.

[If you like horror movies about giant tadpoles mutating and eating small cities you'll love reading about Phthalates on GreenerPenny.com]

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