Do you ever stop to think about how many chemicals you’re exposed to on a daily basis? They’re in cleaning supplies, skincare products and even food – and that’s just in our own homes! Many people are becoming increasingly concerned with the number of chemicals and unnatural ingredients included in everyday products. Many of us are searching for ways to live a healthier lifestyle, but it’s hard to sift through all of the often conflicting information available to us.
This is where I can help you.
For a number of years I’ve been concerned with the amount of unnatural ingredients found in modern products. As a student, however, I haven’t always been able to afford more expensive items which are supposedly safer for me and the environment. While I wanted to buy safe products, I admittedly did too little research into which brands would be best. So, like many other busy people, this often meant buying things which simply advertised themselves as being “green”.
Then, I discovered the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which was a total game changer for me. According to their website, the EWG mission is “to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment.” More specifically, the EWG is a non-profit organization that provides people with information about the health and safety of everyday products so that they can make healthier choices for themselves and for the environment.
We all know that products have to be labeled with their ingredients. But how many of us can actually decipher what those ingredients are? Much less understand which ingredients are safe and which ones to stay away from. This is how the EWG has totally transformed the way I shop. Their website has information on literally thousands of everyday products to guide your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Skincare and Cosmetics
The EWG Skindeep Cosmetics Database allows you to search through nearly 70,000 products, all of which have been analyzed and given a safety rating. For each product, the EWG outlines the ingredient concerns related to allergies and immunotoxicity, develelopmental and reproductive health, and even cancer. The ratings go from 1 to 10 with 1 being a low level of concern and 10 being a high level of concern.
Before I found the EWG website, it always seemed like the safest products I could find were also the most expensive brands and simply out of my price range as a college student. But through EWG, I’ve discovered that there are actually a surprising number of affordable brands out there with safer products. For example, the familiar brand Physicians Formula has a number of products rated as level 1.
We also have to be careful with what we eat and check for unwanted ingredients in processed food products. I personally recommend organic eating whenever possible because that’s the simplest way to avoid ingesting certain chemicals like pesticides. And we all know we should be eating fresh, whole foods as much as possible. Despite committing to a healthier lifestyle, I admit that some processed foods are still part of my diet, even as a vegan.
So, to help people make better food choices, the EWG also has food scores for over 80,000 food products! The EWG has three main food scoring factors: nutrition concerns, ingredient concerns, and processing concerns. Again, the scale goes from 1 to 10 with 1 being low concern and 10 being the highest level of concern.
What this means for you
I know we don’t all have the same concerns regarding the health and safety of everyday products. That is one reason I love using the EWG website. They don’t just say whether something is “good” or “bad” because those can mean different things to different people.
Instead, they break down all the information and show you exactly which concerns are the greatest. This way, you can decide what is most important to you. For example, I’m especially concerned with the ingredients in my food and processing methods. But I still eat things that are “unhealthy” as a treat. So, if a product has a rating of 5 due to nutrition concerns, but the ingredient and processing concerns are very low, I know that it’s still okay for me as a treat.
Healthier Lifestyle on the Go
Personally, I’m committed to changing my lifestyle and habits to be more environmentally friendly. BUT the easier it is to make good choices, the more likely I am to follow through. I don’t always have time to sit online for hours comparing products and making a list for my next shopping trip.
Lucky for me, the EWG developed the Healthy Living App.
This handy tool lets you search for products easily while you’re at the store. It even has the option to scan barcodes instead of typing in product names. This makes it so incredibly easy to choose healthier options while you’re out.
Can’t find what you’re looking for?
Having trouble finding a certain product in the database? EWG has you covered. Their website has the option for you to create an account and add your own products. The website guides you through typing in all the information from the product label and EWG does the rest. They analyze the ingredients and show you the results. Products added this way do not show up in other’s searches, but you’ll get the answers you need for yourself!
I wholeheartedly encourage you to check this site out for yourself. It’s very straightforward, easy to use and understand. Hands down, it’s the absolute BEST tool I know for choosing safer products and leading a healthier lifestyle. I use the website frequently at home to compare products I already own or have found online. I also love using the barcode scanner while I’m out and see something I’m not sure about.
Are there any tools you love for creating a safe, eco-friendly lifestyle? I’d love to hear about them!