Do you love using natural products? Or are you trying to switch to more environmentally friendly and sustainable products? Or do you just want to know how "dirty" your favorite products are? Whatever the reason, education is important and learning about ingredients empowers you to make healthy decisions for your family.
One way to do this is to google every ingredient in every product you own. Trust me, I've done this before and it's a SLOW process! Fortunately for you, there are apps and websites available that will do this for you! These apps and websites have thousands of products in their databases and they have already rated the toxicity of those products.
The two sites/apps we use the most are Think Dirty and Environmental Working Group (EWG). These apps are so convenient on the go because you can simply scan the product in question and a rating will pop up. If the product isn't in the system, sometimes you have to type in the name or even research the ingredients. But as time goes on, there are more and more products added to both databases. Both apps strive to educate consumers about the hazards of many ingredients and products.
These apps are both wonderful, but must be used wisely. Don't simply look at the overall score that is given. Instead, take a few more moments to really determine if the product is "clean" and a good fit for your family. Here's how we use both apps:
1. Scan or type in the product
2. Click on the product and a list of all the ingredients (with their ratings) will appear
3. Read over the list. Determine why the product got the rating it did. Both apps falter in this area. Here are some reasons products might score higher (or lower) than they should:
* allergens - some ingredients get a higher score because they could be an allergen, but they aren't for everyone
* impurities - lots of ingredients are impure. But even if a company gets a certificate of purity, this sometimes isn't taken into account
* preservatives - yes, preservatives are bad, but companies that use water HAVE to use preservatives for health reasons (water can mold). This function often isn't taken into account, even with non-toxic preservatives
* not all ingredients are listed (many companies hide "dirty" ingredients)
* the amount of an ingredients isn't calculated, just that it is in the product
* scores of ingredients are added up and give the product a higher score
* two ingredients that are safe on their own, but harmful when mixed together, isn't taken into account
4. Make an educated decision about the product in question. You might need to do more research about individual ingredients to really determine if it's a fit. But at least these apps give you a place to start!
What's your favorite "clean" product? Ours is sunscreen!