I know that in the past few years I had made an attempt to get rid of chemicals in our home. When we found out we were going to be having a baby I upped my effort. We wanted to make sure that the products that we were using were as free of harmful chemicals as possible. I bought the more expensive “natural” brands and registered for soaps, lotions, and detergent that I thought would be perfect to have around when we had our new little baby. Some of my stuff I would get at Target and some even at the natural food store. I was thinking that I was doing things so right and that I had the “best” stuff. I recently learned about a few websites where I was able to look up products that I had been using to see how they rated based on harmful chemicals in the product. I was shocked to see that some of the products I was buying at the coop near my house which I was sure were great products received poor grades. I want to pass these certain websites along for new moms or current moms to use to look up what they are using in their homes. Honestly, with all the baby stuff we have to be prepared for it is quite overwhelming so hopefully these websites will be as helpful for others as they were for me!
The websites are from the Environmental Working Group. This is the main site to start out at. From here you can branch off and look at several different options. I will highlight a few that I started off with to make changes in our home.
One that I was immediately interested in was the skin deep portion of the website. I was very interested in this due to the fact that these were the products that I was rubbing on my baby directly. I wanted to make sure that I was making the best choices and not rubbing chemicals all over him! I started here as my first area to conquer. There is a section on this website dedicated to babies and moms where you can look up common baby soaps, lotions, oil, diaper creams etc. It is interesting to note that some products of the same brand had much different ratings. For example, if you have one California Baby product that got a good rating it doesn’t mean the one next to it on the shelf had as good of a rating. Skin deep uses a number scale. The lower the number the better. You can click on a product and it will break down the ingredients in it and give you a number rating on each one. It also gives you information on what these certain chemicals can do to the body – for example risk for cancer. I pretty much learned if it says “fragrance” on the bottle it is no good!
The next site I moved onto was the healthy cleaning guide. For the most part I had moved most of our cleaning products to ones that I made on my own. I was more curious about laundry detergent and dish detergent at this point, however this section is great for looking up all cleaning products. This site rates cleaning products on an A-F scale. I had been using a laundry detergent that I bought at the organic food store that received a D! I was shocked! I had been washing the babies clothes in that thinking I was limiting chemicals. I have switched now due to this website. I thought this site was awfully easy to navigate. You could type in the name of a product you were looking for or you could select products that received an A rating and a list of those products would pop up.
The one I most recently looked up was the sunscreen guide as we went to Florida last month. For this I was just able to select “sunscreens” and a list of sunscreens that EWG considered safe came up. From there I was able to select which sunscreen I was going to get. I could also type in a name and get information on the product that way. This also ran on a 1-10 rating scale with 1 being the safest and 10 being the most harmful. Again, it was amazing to me that the exact same brand could vary so much on what chemical composition it had and whether it was harmful or not!
Those three guides are the three that I have spent the most time navigating around. However, there are several others guides to explore through The Environmental Working Group’s Guides. The main things that I learned after doing some exploring myself is. Even if something is the same exact brand they are not all created equal when it comes to chemical make-up. I also learned that just because you buy it at a store that specializes in “organic and natural” it does not mean it is the best option – although they often do carry good options. For me I started with one area and as I switched things over then moved to the next. This worked well for me. I also refer to these websites when planning to buy new products. I hope they are as helpful for you as they were for me!