EWG: Our Best Resource To Inform Against Harmful Chemicals

For 20 years, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been the stalwart investigative organization scrutinizing unsafe chemicals and toxins in our food, water, cosmetics, and cleaning products.

Here in the U.S., unhealthy, cancer-promoting chemicals run amok in our food-processing chain, in our packaged foods, produce, sunscreen, cosmetics, cleaning products, and water. This will have a devastating impact on the future health of our population. Experts believe over-exposure to dangerous chemicals is growing.

To compound this clear and present danger, various governing agencies that are supposed to protect our health and the environment are headed in the wrong direction.

I am not turning this into a political post, but know this: if you and your family want to be best positioned to avoid cancer, to optimize an active cancer treatment regimen, or help ensure a long period of disease-free progression or remission… you must keep your total chemical exposure low.

During my cancer coaching consults, I always direct each client to EWG as a trusted, expert resource for the myriad vital areas covered in its various databases and guides.

EWG, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, is dedicated to protecting human health and the environment; its mission “to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.”

If you reside outside the U.S., EWG’s database of water sources will not be of help to you. In addition, many packaged foods and cleaning items may be rebranded and look different in your specific market.

I say ‘sorry’ in advance that EWG is not a truly global resource; that would take a lot more funding and collaboration for the process of collecting and investigating hundreds of thousands of products and utility sources worldwide.

However, where chemicals are called out as known or suspected carcinogens, you will get plenty of actionable data for proactive label-reading. In that case, forget brands and focus on ingredients. It is well-known that many chemicals used in products in the U.S. are prohibited for the manufacture of consumer goods and food processing in other countries. Alas, the U.S. is not a leader in this incredibly important area.

Below, I capture a number of key databases and guides that are freely accessible on EWG’s website.  I encourage you to spend time on this site, bookmark it, and generously share with others. Download EWG’s mobile app here. If you are in a position to support EWG’s work with a small donation, you will enable their quality work to continue and accelerate, in service to the human condition.

(Resource descriptions are primarily taken from the EWG.org website.)

EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning

U.S. law allows manufacturers of cleaning products to use almost any ingredient they wish, including known carcinogens and substances that can harm fetal and infant development. The U.S. government does not review the safety of products before they’re sold.

To fill those gaps, EWG’s staff scientists compared the ingredients listed on cleaning product labels, websites, and worker safety documents with the information available in the top government, industry, and academic toxicity databases, and the scientific literature on health and environmental problems tied to cleaning products. They used that information to create EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning, which provides you with easy-to-navigate hazard ratings for a wide range of cleaners and ingredients.

ACCESS THE GUIDE

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Many shoppers don’t realize that pesticide residues are common on conventionally grown produce—even after it is carefully washed or peeled.

EWG’s analysis of tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that nearly 70 percent of samples of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residues.

The USDA tests found a total of 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples analyzed. EWG’s analysis of the tests shows that there are stark differences among types of produce.

The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ lists the Dirty Dozen™ fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues, and the Clean Fifteen™, for which few, if any, residues were detected.

View the lists and download PDFs you can carry with you while grocery shopping.

ACCESS THE GUIDE

EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Access important health information about the cosmetics you—and your family—use daily. EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database provides product and ingredient safety ratings, health information about cosmetics ingredients, and smart shopping tips you can trust.

Learn what chemicals you may be applying to your skin, including your face, and what to look for in your go-to healthy products moving forward.

ACCESS THE DATABASE

EWG’s 2018 Guide to Sunscreen

Since 2007, when EWG published its first Guide to Sunscreen, many sun protection products sold in the U.S. have become safer; federal regulators have cracked down on some of the worst phony marketing claims. But EWG’s investigation of approximately 650 beach and sport sunscreens for its 12th annual guide found that serious concerns remain.

Two-thirds of the products EWG examined offer inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate (aka retinol palmitate), a form of vitamin A that may harm skin. And, despite scant evidence, the government still allows most sunscreens to claim they help prevent skin cancer.

With plenty of outdoor summer activities to come, and outdoor winter sports increasing in popularity, now’s the time to check out how the sunscreen in your cabinet rates, and whether it should be immediately replaced.

ACCESS THE GUIDE

EWG’s National Tap Water Database

According to a EWG drinking water quality analysis of 30 million state water records, since 2010, water utilities’ testing has found pollutants in Americans’ tap water. Input your zip code to check on the quality of your community’s tap water.

ACCESS THE DATABASE

Spend Time with These Resources—Invest in EWG

These guides, databases, and lists are a sampling of the high-quality resources EWG provides to protect you and your family from what can seem like an inescapable chemical onslaught found in our daily lives.

Spending time with these practical, comprehensive resources, over time, will enable you to make smarter decisions toward lowering the chemical toxicity load found in your personal environment.

Please consider making a donation to EWG to help support and grow their vital research, and their ability to effectively communicate their findings to the global population.