If you're someone who values well-being, both for yourself and the planet, then the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a powerful ally you'll want to know. With its wealth of information and resources, EWG empowers individuals like you to make informed choices, avoid harmful chemicals, and embrace a truly healthy lifestyle.
At the heart of EWG's mission lies a commitment to transparency and consumer safety. By shining a spotlight on the chemicals and toxins found in various foods and consumer products, EWG helps you navigate the often murky waters of product safety. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently choose products that treat your body with the goodness it deserves, leaving behind the hidden hazards that may be sabotaging your health.
But the impact of EWG goes beyond just your personal well-being. As someone who values the environment, you'll appreciate how EWG's efforts contribute to a healthier planet. By supporting eco-friendly practices and sustainable companies, you're not just taking care of yourself; you're actively participating in the collective movement toward a greener, cleaner future for all.
What is the EWG?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been advocating for a healthier and safer world since 1993. They shed light on the presence of toxic chemicals in products like sunscreen and pesticides on vegetables, as well as pollutants in water from agricultural and industrial sources. This means they’re working to make products cleaner for our safety and health.
Their dedicated team of scientists, policy experts, lawyers, and data professionals work to reform outdated legislation and harmful practices that jeopardize our health and the environment. EWG covers various areas of research, including food and water, farming and agriculture, personal care products, household items, energy, family health, toxic chemicals, and regional issues.
The EWG strives to influence various industries to adopt safer standards. They also strive to inform consumers with actionable information in order to drive demand for safer products.
Despite having an annual budget that is only a fraction of other major national organizations, the EWG's influence reaches tens of millions of people through its extensive social media channels and mainstream media coverage. By leading entire business sectors away from dangerous chemicals, the EWG plays a significant role in shaping policy conversations on public health.
The EWG’s Impact
EWG's success is rooted in its reputation as a scientific leader in addressing environmental exposures. This credibility has turned critical issues into national priorities, making them part of mainstream discussions.
As a result, manufacturers and policymakers are prompted to take action that genuinely protects public health. This is in part because they need to meet the expectations of informed consumers who are demanding safer products.
With EWG's scientific leadership, the ultimate goal is to achieve a future where the concept of "legal" aligns seamlessly with "safe," ensuring a healthier and safer environment for all.
What does EWG-Verified mean?
“EWG-Verified” is a mark that is given to personal care products that meet the strict criteria set forth by the Environmental Working Group. Products bearing the EWG-Verified mark have been assessed to meet their standards for transparency, ingredient safety, and adherence to good manufacturing practices.
How to qualify as EWG-Verified
To be eligible for the EWG Verified mark, cosmetics, and personal care products must meet certain criteria. These criteria include:
- Full transparency: The product must disclose all its ingredients, including fragrance ingredients (which are often kept undisclosed in traditional product labels).
- Limited use of hazardous chemicals: The product must avoid using ingredients that have been identified as potentially harmful to human health. This includes certain parabens, phthalates, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
- Adherence to industry best practices: The product must follow good manufacturing practices and avoid contamination with harmful substances.
- Use of EWG's Skin Deep data: The product's ingredients are evaluated based on the latest research and standards provided by EWG's Skin Deep database. You can read more about EWG’s Skin Deep database below.
The EWG Verified mark provides consumers with a quick and easy way to identify products that are considered safer choices from a health and environmental perspective.
What is EWG Skin Deep?
The EWG's Skin Deep database is an online resource where consumers can find safety information about cosmetics and personal care products. It contains ingredient assessments, product ratings, and potential health concerns associated with specific personal care products.
Many people believe that the government makes sure that personal care products are safe, but that's not entirely true. The rules for regulating cosmetics and personal care products are outdated, and the government doesn't require safety tests on these chemicals before they are sold. This means that many of us are unknowingly using products with ingredients linked to serious health issues like hormone disruption, developmental problems, and cancer.
From a third-party perspective, the organization conducts thorough comparisons of the ingredients listed on personal care product labels and websites with data from around 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. Based on this research, they assign a two-part score to each product and ingredient in their database – one for hazard evaluation and another for data availability.
This process allows them to provide consumers with valuable information about the safety and potential risks associated with the personal care products they use. Anyone can access the Skin Deep database for free online, helping make this information accessible to the masses.
What is the EWG’s rating?
The EWG provides a rating system for cosmetics and personal care products on its Skin Deep database. This rating is based on an analysis of the ingredients listed on the product's label and their potential hazards to human health. You can find the product ratings on the online database, and make your shopping choices accordingly.
What is the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen”?
Do you know what's in the food you eat? The "Dirty Dozen" is a term created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to show us the produce items with the most pesticides found on them each year. In 2023, “more than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and grapes tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.” These produce items are all listed on the 2023 “Dirty Dozen.”
It's surprising that almost 99% of the chemicals and pesticides found on these fruits and veggies were approved by food and chemical companies themselves, without thorough review by the Food and Drug Administration.
This approval process has serious consequences because many of these chemicals can be harmful to our health. They may increase the risk of cancer, cause developmental problems, and disrupt our hormones. This leaves consumers unsure about what food is safe for their families to eat.
With this lack of oversight, potentially harmful chemicals make their way into the food we eat, posing serious health risks. The EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Chemicals identifies the worst offenders in the market and helps consumers make more informed choices to protect their health.
Among the hazardous chemicals highlighted in the Dirty Dozen, one significant concern is nitrates and nitrites used as preservatives in cured meats. Not only do these chemicals keep the meat looking fresh, but they have also been linked to stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and possibly brain and thyroid cancers.
With these health risks lurking in the foods we eat regularly, it's important to pay attention and stay informed about the Dirty Dozen. By avoiding these harmful chemicals and supporting organizations like the EWG, we can put pressure on the system to prioritize safety over profit and ensure a healthier food supply for everyone.
A Chemical-Free Future
By showing us the dangers hidden in things we use every day, like our skincare or cleaning products, the EWG encourages us to question the status quo and to ask for improvements from the companies that make these products. They want us to be aware of what we're using and to push for safer and better options.
By adhering to scientific research and advocacy through information, the EWG is working so that manufacturers and policymakers take effective actions to protect public health and meet consumer expectations.
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