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By Kayla Giacin
Friday, June 1, 2012

It seems like there’s always a new study coming out about what toxins or chemicals may or may not be in the products we use, the food we eat and in the air surrounding us.  I personally am very interested in what a lot of these studies and pro-health and environmental organizations have to say but it can be very overwhelming.  There is so much around us that is out of our control and so much information that it can be difficult to keep track of what is good and what is bad. 

It seems like people who have been through a serious illness are especially interested in this information.  Any recommendations for  changes that people can make to their diet or lifestyle that might help current medical issues or keep future ones at bay can be a great source of information to have.

Within the past year or so, I’ve been doing my own research on common household and beauty products and everyday items we use like shampoos, lotions, make-up and so on.  The list of chemicals used are usually a mile long and can be very intimidating!  Many websites will tell you how to make your own versions of these projects naturally.  This can be fun but also very time consuming.  I’m sure that many of you who are caregivers don’t have the time to concoct these creations at home and that is part of the problem with common products sold: we’re almost forced to use them out of convenience even if we are aware of some of the hazards associated with them.

Just the other day, I read about an organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  Their mission is to “use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.”  One of the ways that they do this is by offering an online database of over 74,000 personal care and cosmetic products.  This database gives the products a number according to how safe or unsafe they might be.  It also breaks it down into why this number is given.  For example, if it has a high level of cancer causing chemicals, it will be given a very high number.  I found this to be extremely helpful because not only does it make me aware of products that are very harmful but I’m also aware of some common names and brands that are actually not harmful at all!  For everyone that is overwhelmed by the amount of information out there and don’t necessarily have the time to do your own through research and create your own products, this is a great resource for  increasing your knowledge on common household products and use it to find the ones that suit your needs.

You can access EWG’s online database at:

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