My guess is that if you are here, you already KNOW, or at least suspect, that there are a lot of toxins in our environment that we are exposed to daily. We are exposed to harmful chemicals and ingredients through the food we eat, through the personal care products we use daily, through our cleaning products, and more.
Did you know?
- More than 10,000 food additives are allowed in food 1
- There are foods that are banned in other countries but still readily available in the US 2
- There are 82,000 chemicals on the market, the vast majority without any safety information 3
- The average woman is exposed to 168 chemicals a day just from her personal care products (shampoo, soap, makeup, etc) 4
- 287 chemicals were found in babies’ umbilical cord blood 5
- Cleaning products are not required by federal law to carry a list of ingredients 6
- Scientific studies over the past 40 years have fueled the consensus that exposure to toxic chemicals plays a role in the incidence and prevalence of many diseases and disorders in the US. 7
Where do you start?
I know this can feel really overwhelming to think about. You might even feel duped that so many harmful chemicals would be allowed into our environment, into our FOOD, in the first place, especially when they are outlawed in other countries.
So where do you start, if you want to begin creating a healthier environment for your family? The good news is that there are SO many resources out there to point you in the right direction.
The Environmental Working Group is a group that is dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They have several sub-sites and guides that can help make living cleaner possible! Do I let these guides be my final say? No. But they provide a great starting place if you are wanting to live cleaner. Below I have listed some of my favorite EWG guides plus some other resources that make cleaner living easier.
EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database gives you safety ratings of cosmetics and personal care items on a scale from 1 (low hazard) to 10 (high hazard). (Click here for my free worksheet and to watch my video on how to use this database!) Simply type in the name of your product for the safety rating. Here is a tip – if your product does not appear in their database, you can enter single ingredients to get individual ingredient safety ratings. Additionally, you will find helpful guides and tips on finding safer cosmetics, in addition to the EWG’s annual Sunscreen Guide! You can also download the EWG Skindeep Mobile App from the Apple Store or Android Store. Scan the products on your shelves at home or before purchasing, even when you’re out and about!
EWG’s Food Scores
EWG’s Food Scores is similar to the Skin Deep Database, but it gives a safety rating for foods based on nutrition, ingredient concerns, and processing (and you can see individual scores for each of these areas). Simply type in the product name to search. Ratings range from a 1 (best score) to a 10 (worst score). Additionally you will find the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists, which are shopper’s guides pesticides in produce. The Dirty Dozen list shows you which produce contains the most pesticide (and would ideally be bought organic to limit pesticide exposure). The Clean 15 list shows which produce contains the least pesticide. You can also download EWG’s Food Scores Mobile App from the Apple Store or Android Store. Use the app to scan the foods in your pantry, or scan before purchasing while you’re out!
EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning
EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning is similar to the two above, but for cleaning products! Simply type in your cleaning product for a rating. Products are rated A (lowest concern) to F (highest concern). You can also find the EWG’s list of top cleaning products here!
Eat Well Guide
Eating out can be so very difficult if you are trying to eat smarter, which is why I love Eat Well Guide! The Eat Well Guide® is a curated directory of over 25,000 hand-picked restaurants, farms, markets and other sources of local, sustainable food throughout the US. Simply type in your city to receive a list of businesses that offer locally grown, sustainably produced food. Sustainable agriculture means producing food using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities and animal welfare.
The Eat Wild website helps you find local sources of grass-fed/pastured meat, eggs, and dairy.
The LocalHarvest website helps you find local farmers markets, farms, and local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture).
Because when you know better, you can do better!
7 http://saferchemicals.org/health-report/; http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf; http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/service-areas/children/areas-of-care/childrens-environmental-health-center/childrens-disease-and-the-environment