Tag Archives: Chemicals

Find Better Products on Good Guide!

I made a tremendous discovery today! Today, via someone’s Twitter post, I found a website called Good Guide. One of my chief concerns is dangerous ingredients and chemicals in the products I use.  I’ve educated myself about a lot of the dangerous chemicals in shampoos, disinfectants, lotions, etc. but they are usually complicated (hard to commit to memory) names like “Triethanolamine”. I check the labels of what I buy but sometimes I discover new worrisome ingredients or I forget a few to check for. This is where Good Guide comes in!

What is Good Guide?

In a nutshell, as their website proclaims, Good Guide helps you find products that are healthy, green, and socially responsible! This website contains information on over 65,000 products – toys, personal care products, food, household products, etc. This includes, baby care products, baby food, diapers, canned foods, shampoos, hair dyes, stuffed animals, air fresheners, etc.  And, they even have a mobile app!

How does Good Guide work?

Good Guide gives each product a rating (0-10) which is calculated from scores in three categories – health, environment, and society. Not only do you find out if your product has known carcinogens, you also find out if the company that makes your product has unethical policies or known history of environmental damage! Consumers can see all three rating scores, so if your concern is mostly on health you can evaluate your product based more on that rating. Along with the rating is an explanation for the rating. Let’s look at an example:

This rating is for St. Ives Swiss Formula Papaya Plus- Shampoo Plus Conditioner For Normal Hair. As you can see the overall rating is a 3.6 (0 is worst, 10 is best) and the sub-ratings are 3.0 for Health, 3.3 for Environment, and 4.3 for Society. There is also a short description of what elements formed the basis of the score. You can click through at the bottom to a more detailed explanation of the scores.  Let’s look at a portion of what these details will show you:

This is only part of the full-ratings, but you can see that they evaluate very specific things in each category. This is a VERY comprehensive look at these products! In addition to such rankings, Good Guide also provides  lists of the harmful and controversial ingredients in each product. This can be helpful in determining your selection- maybe you are very concerned about buying a shampoo that contains parabens but you aren’t as concerned about synthetic fragrances. You can easily see such ingredients specifically listed.

Probably the most helpful aspect of the site is the ability to find alternative brands of your product that received better ratings. For each product you look  up, the site will provide you with suggestions for safer alternatives. You don’t have to randomly type in brands until you find the best one- the work is done for you! You can even skip the look-up part altogether and just search for the top products in each category. You might be surprised to find some of your “trusted” brands have pretty low ratings…GASP! Are you ready to make a change?!

Do you have any brands that you swear-by? Type them in and see what Good Guide has to say about your favorite products!  You can also follow the Good Guide Blog as well as the Twitter account for current topics of interest. Come back and share with us what you discover about some of your products and whether or not Good Guide helped you make a change! And, please, help out your community by sharing this site with friends and family! Any new parents might want to check out the ratings on baby foods, diapers/wipes, and baby shampoos!

Plastics – a quick list!

This week, Bolder (see previous post) posted new challenges, one of which challenged people to stop using plastic bottled water for a day. Bottled water has many negatives- from the quality of the water (future blog post!) to the leeching of chemicals from the plastics used to bottle it. Bolder’s challenge got me thinking about plastic containers of all sorts.

Open your cabinets- most people have stacks of plastic bins, Tupperware-style storage containers, boxes of ziplock-style baggies, not to mention all the plastic containers our food, cleaning supplies, and hygiene items come in! By now, many people have become accustomed to checking the number on the bottom of these items to see if it’s recyclable in their communities. But what else can these numbers tell us!?

These numbers can tell  you which ones are safe and which ones are hazardous to your health! Hazardous plastics have been used for common sports water bottles as well as baby bottles and baby food containers!

As a quick, visual reference:

A good rule of thumb – and you might post this on your fridge – #’s 2, 4, and 5 are SAFE and will not leech chemicals into your food/drink. You should avoid #’s 3, 6, and 7 completely. #1 is a bit controversial, hence the yellow marking above. #1 is VERY common and is often what plastic bottled water comes in. Some sources say #1 is safe for ONE USE ONLY. Other sources say avoid it. Here are some articles that discuss the chemical make-up, heath risks, and common uses of each of these plastics:

Your best bet, in addition to posting the chart above, is to try and avoid plastic containers and packaging all together. You will quickly realize how much plastic is used in America. The raw materials needed to produce most plastics come from petroleum and natural gas. See, it’s not just our cars that are contributing to the massive need for petroleum!

Here are a few quick and easy ways to reduce your individual use of plastic materials:

  • Don’t use the grocery store’s plastic bags for produce! Use a reusable produce bag instead – many companies are making them: Blue Avocado, EcoBags, or you can check Etsy too!
  • Buy food from bulk bins if your grocery offers it, then store in glass containers like mason jars! We do this for lots of stuff- popcorn kernals, sugar, croutons, pasta noodles, pretzels, etc.
  • Opt out of using plastic grocery bags at the check-out. Take your own cloth bag! I have about 15 or so and that covers a full trip to the store. Many places now offer a small discount for using your own bags too!

If more and more of us refuse to use these unsafe materials it will make an impact! In the meantime, do your health a favor and stop eating and drinking chemicals from plastic!!