The Best Source for Finding Safe Products
The Best Source for Finding Safe Products is the Environmental Working Group
You are wandering the aisles at Target or your favorite high-end department store. You are spritzing perfumes and sampling lotions. But which products are good for you and which ones contain chemicals that could give you unwanted adverse side effects?
In the United States, of the tens of thousands of chemicals that are used in our skincare and personal care items, a mere 2,000 have actually been tested for safety by the FDA.
Our cosmetics and skincare industry remains largely unregulated. So what's a shopper to do?
Help is Out There and it's Right at Your Finger Tips
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is THE leading consumer advocacy non-profit dedicated to providing you with the latest, most up-to-date ingredient and product research and presenting it in the easiest, most transparent format available today.
It's easy to know the EWG is on your side when you understand their mission is to empower consumers with information.
Our mission is simple: To empower you with breakthrough research to make informed choices and live a healthy life in a healthy environment. ~EWG
With a wealth of information right on their website, you can easily learn the important facts to make decisions about the health and safety of your family, including:
- What toxic chemicals are in your local water supply?
- Which sunscreens are best for you and your children?
- Are there pesticides in the produce you are eating?
- What are the most toxic fabric softeners?
- Which skincare products meet the highest safety standards?
- And so much more!
Why Should You Care About Personal Care?
Here's the thing about what you put on your skin...
Your skin is the largest organ of your body! That's right. Your skin is an organ. It serves a specific function for your body - namely protecting it from the outside world. It's a protective barrier physical injury and hazardous substances.
However... your skin still absorbs 60-90% of what it comes in contact with. It is porous and contains millions of pores which allow your body to breathe. Your pores are meant to take in fluids and gases from the environment that surrounds you. This traditionally helps keep us hydrated and helps balance our body with nutrients it needs to thrive. The problem is though that in our modern era a lot of those "gases and fluids" are not so good for us.
The problem is that in our modern era a lot of those gases and fluids are not so good for us.
The introduction of industrial, agricultural and cosmetic chemicals into our lives has created a new vulnerability for our bodies which are not equipped to filter all of these chemicals which include carcinogens, neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors.
Our first line of defense, our skin, unwittingly let's these synthetic chemicals into our bodies. Any person would obviously not knowingly choose to expose themselves to these types of chemicals. Right?
But... if you're like me and you religiously examine ingredient lists and you don't have a PhD in chemistry, knowing what's in the products you love is still a mystery.
Back to the EWG
When it comes to skincare, bodycare, personal care and household care, there is no better resource than what the EWG has to offer and the first place to start is the EWG's Skin Deep® Database.
This is your guide to safer personal care products. On the landing page you'll find an easy search function that lets you insert an ingredient, brand or product and learn all about it. When you search something, like Makes 3 Organics® for example 😉, the results will show you that brand's products and their safety rating.
You will find information on how they rank and score each product and brand and what each product's scores are. From Green (good) to Red (bad) the EWG presents you with simple and clear decision making power.
In this case, you see that Makes 3 Organics® products are ranked in their EWG VERIFIED™ Program. When you see the EWG VERIFIED™ mark on a product you can be sure it's free from chemicals of concern and meets the EWG's strictest standards for your health.
You can be sure it's free from EWG's chemicals of concern and meets their strictest standards for your health.
It's that easy! This program was designed to help brands that are walking the walk with their marketing claims be able to prove to consumers that they truly are non-toxic. Because you would be shocked to know that "natural" doesn't mean anything and although many brands pursue the USDA Certified Organic designation to back up their organic ingredients, when it comes to personal care the USDA organic program isn't the best fit.
The USDA orgranic program is designed for food and many personal care products just don't fit perfectly into the USDA standards criteria.
Put Consumer Power in Your Phone
Ok, so now we know that the ingredients we put on our skin find their way into our bodies and some of those ingredients can impact our health in a negative way. We also know there is a terrific resource that will tell us all about those products and those ingredients.
But paging through a website on our phones while we are shopping isn't exactly convenient. So how can we really make informed decisions on the go?
It's called the Healthy Living app and you can download it from your App Store.
With the app you can scan bar codes or enter ingredient or product names into the search function. Information is power and this is the best place to find it.
You are going to love this app, I promise. In fact, it will change your life because change happens in the shopping cart well before you get home. It's going to give you the information on anything in a box, bag or bottle just by scanning the bar code and it's going to give you the information you need when you are in the produce section too.
Here's a BONUS That You Will Go Back To Every Year
Based on the EWG's extensive research and resources, every year they let you know which are the worst and the best products in your grocers' produce section - this list is called The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.
Simply CLICK THROUGH to ewg.org, scroll to the bottom and sign up.
For the worst, these are the fruits and veggies that you would be wise to make the little extra investment in buying organic because organic produce will be free from harmful pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. Help reduce the number of toxic ingredients you are eating by staying up-to-date on these fruits and veggies!
Now That You're All Set
Be sure to tell your family and friends and spread the word that consumer power is personal power and this power has the ability to shape the world. They say be the change you want to see in the world. Well imagine if all of us started only buying safe products, that could really change things!
[Not an ad. No renumeration of any kind was received from the EWG.]
Kristine Sperling is a wellness enthusiast and co-founder of Makes 3 Organics, an organic brand dedicated to providing consumers organic alternatives to conventional personal care products. She lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her co-founder husband, Dan, their teenager, Alice, and their blue Shih Tzu, King.