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As I began phasing out all my household items with toxic ingredients, I replaced toilet paper first. Why? Because I use it all the time and because there wasn’t a drastic price difference between the conventional brands and the more natural ones. As an added bonus, you’re saving trees, too. Discover the best non toxic toilet paper to protect yourself from harmful chemicals and help the environment while still offering your rear a pleasant experience.
What’s wrong with regular toilet paper?
Of course, you’ve probably never given your toilet paper a second thought. I know I hadn’t.
Then one day, I came across a website called Is It Bad For You? Now, this website is both a blessing and a curse. You can easily waste hours looking up everything you’ve ever eaten or used. And sometimes ignorance is bliss, right? Plus, some of the entries are pretty obvious. We all know soda, Doritos, and Skittles are bad for us (though it’s interesting to know exactly WHY they are).
But some are not so obvious and can be enlightening. Because of this website, I no longer drink CoffeeMate.
Somewhere down the rabbit hole, I stumbled upon toilet paper. I learned that most toilet paper is bleached with chlorine and chlorine dioxide. This gives toilet paper its pretty white color, but the bleaching process releases dioxins. According to the EPA, dioxins can cause cancer, issues with the reproductive and immune systems, and hormone interference.
Other things to look for on toilet paper labels?
Another toxic ingredient often contained in toilet paper is formaldehyde. This can also lead to cancer as well as vaginal irritation. You probably won’t see “formaldehyde” on the ingredient list (if there is one), but the label “Ultra Strong” is usually a giveaway.
Next, you want to watch out for fragrances. Usually the label will say something like “lavender scent” (yes, I made the mistake once of coming home with this toilet paper before I noticed the label!). As is the case with cosmetics, the label “fragrance” is often used as a loophole to mask all sorts of toxic ingredients.
Finally, you should be wary of toilet papers “with lotion.” Sure, it sounds nice. But these lotions such as the one in Charmin’s version often use mineral oil as a base. The dangers of mineral oil, a byproduct of petroleum, include its potential carcinogenic properties, the fact that it clogs your pores (possibly leading to butt acne — yikes!), and its link to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance in turn leads to mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, and a decreased sex drive. Worse, mineral oil cannot be metabolized, which means it stays in your system forever.
To buy recycled or not recycled…that is the question
As enlightening as the IIBFY article on toilet paper was, reading it threw a monkey wrench in my tidy solution. Most non toxic toilet papers that do not use dyes or fragrances are also made from recycled materials. Protect your health and save the trees. A win-win…right?
Unfortunately, the article points out that recycled toilet paper often contains BPAs, which are linked to hormone disruption.
Upon further investigation, though, I discovered that recycled toilet paper contains only trace amounts of BPAs when compared to other paper materials such as cash register receipts and when compared to plastic products such as water bottles. In other words, not enough to likely make a difference. When you consider the fact that the toilet paper industry destroys roughly 27,000 trees a day, this seems like a reasonable tradeoff.
The Best Non Toxic Toilet “Paper” NOT Made From Trees
Perhaps you’re still wary of using recycled toilet paper, though. Thankfully, I’ve found a solution.
Enter bamboo bath tissue.
Bamboo bath tissue not only presents a healthier and environmentally friendlier solution to toilet paper made from trees, but it also feels nicer! It’s soft and silky and, though thin, is surprisingly strong. Now, it may not be Charmin soft, but it also doesn’t leave behind that annoying lint residue or irritate my lady parts (I’m very sensitive in that region, which is also why I stick to all-cotton underwear).
Currently I use Naturezway Bamboo Bath Tissue. These are some of the benefits:
- 100% BPA free
- Artificial fragrance free
- Chemical and artificial dye free
- Septic safe (which also means it’s not as likely to clog your toilet)
Why is using bamboo more environmentally friendly than using trees? Because bamboo is a grass, which means, unlike trees, it grows back quickly and doesn’t require pesticides or large amounts of land and water to grow.
You can get this product below.
Alternatives to Bamboo Bath Tissue
If you’re not into bamboo and prefer regular toilet paper made from trees, here are some alternatives. You’ll notice that most use recycled paper. That’s because it’s difficult to find a normal (i.e. non-bamboo) toilet paper that is chlorine-free, fragrance-free, AND uses non-recycled paper. Plus, as I pointed out, the amount of BPAs compared to other products is pretty low.
This toilet paper lives up to its name. Out of all the recycled toilet papers I have tried, it is definitely the most comfortable and durable of the bunch.
Here are some of its features:
- 100% recycled w/ minimum 50% post-consumer recycled material
- No added inks, dyes, or fragrances
- Septic safe and compatible with RV/camper toilets
- Whitened without chorine bleach
Post-consumer recycled refers to the items consumers (you and I) recycle each week as opposed to the waste generated by industrial processes such as factories. These items are at the end of their life cycle and headed for a landfill. So the higher the percentage of post-consumer, the better, but keep in mind that at this stage, it’s often not efficient or cost-effective to convert these items into new products.
All of the toilet paper mentioned so far and that I’ve used is white, so I know they must be whitening it somehow. But I still haven’t found a clear answer on?how?exactly they whiten it. What I have learned is that with regular, non-recycled toilet paper, chlorine is often required to strip the wood pulp off of the tissue. Since recycled paper is not made from virgin trees, then, chlorine isn’t necessary.
If you’re still concerned about the whitening process, though (understandably so), they also offer an unbleached variety.
Currently this brand is only available at Whole Foods. Obviously it’s meant to be a cheaper version of Seventh Generation, which is also sold at Whole Foods. With a slightly lower price also comes lower quality. I don’t think it’s as bad as some of the reviews make it out to be, but it’s not quite as comfortable or durable as Seventh Generation.
As noted, the features are similar to Seventh Generation.
- 100% recycled w/ minimum 80% post-consumer recycled material
- No added dyes or fragrances
- Whitened without chorine bleach
It should be noted that 365 also offers a variety called Sustainably Soft. I’ve tried this one too and it is indeed softer than the one above. I’m guessing it’s not made from recycled materials, since the package doesn’t mention this anywhere. But at least it’s sustainable, right?
This is one I buy from Ralphs whenever I’m desperate and need something fast. It’s thin and rather rough. Again, it’s not terrible — the fact that I even use it at all says something — but of all the choices, it’s my least favorite. These are the features:
- 100% recycled w/ minimum 60% post-consumer recycled material
- No added dyes or fragrances
- No chorine ever
Conventional toilet paper comes in all sorts of varieties — quilted, with lotion, extra comfy, etc. But the chemicals used to produce toilet paper can lead to both short term irritation as well as long term health complications. These include:
- Issues with the immune system and reproductive system
- Hormone interference
- Estrogen dominance (which causes mood swings, fatigue, and insomnia)
Luckily, there are many alternatives, but I believe bamboo bath tissue is the best.
What toilet paper alternatives have you tried? What was your experience?