Does “Environmentally Friendly” Mean People Friendly?

When I had my first child, I did what many of us do and research the best and safest products to use. One of those choices was laundry detergent that I purchased from my local health shop which touted its “green” benefits and biodegradability.

If it’s safer for the environment, it’s safer us right?

Natural Products Aren't Always Safe for HumansMany years later, my sister was having her first child and was going through the same process. She asked me for a recommendation of a laundry detergent and I naturally told her the name of the product I’ve been using for years.

But this time, I had the added advantage of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaning, which lists out product ingredients and rates them according to safety for humans. I inputted the name of my trusted detergent and found that it was badly rated because of “respiratory effects, nervous system effects, skin irritation/allergies/damage”.

I was horrified! I had made the choice to use this product on my childrens’ clothes for years because of the assumption that “natural” or “green” or products sold in my health food store were safer for their young bodies.

Better Living Tips

Thanks to the work of the EWG and their Skindeep Database, showing us unbiased ratings of personal care products, and their Guide to Healthy Cleaning we don’t have to shop in the dark. Simply input the names of trusted brands to find their health ratings. Or, consult the databases before shopping to select other brands which have the same efficacy but safer ingredients.

You may be surprised at how the brands doing all the advertising for “green” and “safe” are rated…

Also see my Resources page where I list other valuable databases and links to trusted sources. This is a work in progress and I’ll be adding many more!

We have more power than we think – we can create change with our feet.


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