Choose Safe, Healthy Lip Products

best lip products feature

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the most vulnerable skin on our body is found on our face. Typically left exposed to the elements, the skin our face and lips is an important place to take special care of.

Lip products have long evolved from the days of the original tubs of Vaseline and Carmex. Now packed with products from tints and sunscreens to gloss and moisturizers, the lip care product aisle can get confusing quick.

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Clean Up Your Laundry Routine

laundry day

How “clean” can your clothes get when the soap you are using may contain potentially hazardous chemicals, or fragrances that you may be allergic too?

Cleaning products are among the most significant sources of exposure to toxic chemicals in the home. Many of the products we use to scrub, whiten and soften our loads of laundry are made with ingredients that raise concerns for human health and our environment. Continue reading

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Behind the Ratings: Baby and Kids Personal Care

Behind the Ratings Kids Personal Care ProductsThe average American is said to use nine personal care products containing more than 126 different ingredients every day. When choosing products we use on and around us, is it best to choose the product with less ingredients? Or the product with the most natural ingredients? What about simply choosing a product based on the packaging claims, like “hypoallergenic”, “all natural” or “dermatologist recommended”?

 

The importance of choosing the right product increases exponentially when making the choice for our children, and — let’s be honest — reading the label of any product can be dizzying. GoodGuide is here to help.

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Healthy Handwashing

tips-for-healthy-hand-washing

A recent article published by WebMD reported 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch. Good handwashing, then, is still one of the best ways to avoid getting sick.

We all know we’re supposed to wash our hands, right? But how often do we skip it?

In 2013, researchers at Michigan State University conducted an undercover study to see how many people actually washed their hands before leaving a public bathroom. What they found was … kind of gross. While only 7 percent of women and 15 percent of men skipped washing their hands all together, a whopping 95 percent of people didn’t wash their hands properly. Which, as it turns out, can be as bad as skipping it all together.

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Halloween Candy: What you need to know before you shop.

halloween_cropped

Spooked at the thought of shopping for Halloween candy? GoodGuide can help.

Are all those super-sized bags of miniature chocolates, rolls of sweet tarts, sacks of candy corn, and lollypops by the dozen taunting you in the supermarket aisles? Us too. If the sheer number of choices isn’t enough to make your eyes glaze over, then the minuscule list of cryptic ingredients certainly is: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil; Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors (Red 40 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 2 Lake)…

Don’t despair. GoodGuide’s 1,187 candy ratings and our candy buying guide can help you better understand the health and environmental issues so you can narrow your choices and delight those Trick-or-Treaters with purchases that reflect your values.

An Overview of the Issues

Several social and environmental issues come into play around chocolate, the #1 candy choice for Halloween, so we’ll focus on the issues related to cocoa cultivation. Grown close to the equator in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, cocoa is a global commodity. The most important impacts associated with cocoa cultivation include:

  • Child and slave labor — Wide ranging human rights abuses and exploitation, including child trafficking and child and slave labor particularly in West Africa, are still a common problem in cocoa production.
  • Traceability and fair pricing — Companies rarely purchase cocoa from farms directly. Cocoa is mostly grown on small family farms, which rely on a complex series of intermediaries to transport the crop to processors. Chocolate is also a multi-ingredient product containing cocoa components such as cocoa butter and cocoa solids as well as other components, all potentially coming from a variety of sources. Because product traceability is difficult, farmers often don’t have the ability to maximize their crop’s value, and commodity prices paid can be far lower than market value.
  • Ecological impacts — Older crops produce less yield, resulting in farmers using additional pesticides to keep production high. Cocoa also grows best when under a protective shade canopy of a tropical forest.
  • Health — With respect to the health benefits of chocolate, most products are made with sugar, milk, and several other additives – the dietary problems associated with the sugar and fat content of candies will compete with the potential health benefits of the anti-oxidants in cacao.

GoodGuide’s recommendation: Look for these product certifications that ensure the chocolate has been produced under industry leading labor and environmental conditions:

1931_FairTradeCertifiedUSAChocolateThe Fair Trade Certified™ Label guarantees consumers that strict economic, social and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product. Fair Trade Certification is currently available in the U.S. for coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, flowers, sugar, rice, and vanilla. TransFair USA licenses companies to display the Fair Trade Certified label on products that meet strict international Fair Trade standards.

rainforest-alliance-certified-seal-164by147Product environmental rating indicates whether a product is Rainforest Alliance Certified. Under the auspices of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), an international coalition of leading conservation groups, the Rainforest Alliance works with farmers to ensure compliance with the SAN standards for protecting wildlife, wild lands, workers’ rights and local communities. Farms that meet these rigorous standards are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.

1936_FairForLife2Product environmental rating indicating whether a product is Fair For Life certified. “Fair for life” is a brand neutral third party certification program for social accountability and fair trade in agricultural, manufacturing and trading operations. The Fair for Life Social & Fair Trade Certification Programme offers operators of socially responsible projects a solution for objective inspection and certification by a highly qualified external verifier. It combines strict social and fair trade standards with adaptability to local conditions.

1271_CertifiedUSDAOrganicCertified USDA Organic indicates that a product is produced using organic methods or made with organic ingredients. Organic farming systems rely on ecologically based practices such as cultural and biological pest management, exclusion of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones in crop and livestock production. Certification is conducted by entities that have been approved by the US Department of Agriculture, using national standards that define organic production.

 

How We Rate Candy

Our scientific ratings range from 0 to 10 — the higher the score, the better the product.

Our summary rating combines product- and company-level information reflecting a product’s health, environmental and social impacts. The best products rate 8 or above; the worst rate 4 or below. We also provide sub-scores for Health, Environment and Society:

  • Health ratings for candy are based on the nutritional value of the food. We use a standard method of nutrient assessment called the “Ratio of Recommended to Restricted Nutrients” (RRR). The RRR calculates the ratio of “good” to “bad” nutrients to provide an overall picture of a food’s nutrition profile. For most types of food, the list of recommended nutrients includes protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. The list of restricted nutrients includes calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium. For more on how the RRR is calculated and scored, see GoodGuide’s Food Methodology.
  • Environment and Social scores are assigned to candy by combining product-level environmental indicators with company-level environmental indicators. We look at these relatively comprehensive certification programs: FairTrade, USDA Organic, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair For Life. Our summary Environmental scores and Social scores are then weighted 50% product-level and 50% company-level.

You can learn more about how we rate candy and other products on GoodGuide’s Ratings page.

 

Our Top Picks

Now that you understand our ratings system, here are our top five highest rated candies:

Mama-Ganache
Peanut Butter Cups
G/G Score: 7.6

Equal Exchange Organic
Dark Chocolate Minis
G/G Score: 7.4

Equal Exchange Organic
Milk Chocolate Minis
G/G Score: 7.3

 


 

YummyEarth Organic
Gummy Bears
G/G Score: 6.7

Endangered Species Organic Milk Chocolate Bug Bites
G/G Score: 7.2

 


Candy Alternatives

Of course, candy is not the only treat you can hand out this Halloween. Here are some alternatives that are sure to please the neighborhood ghosties and ghouls:

Clif Bar Mini
Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch
G/G Score: 7.9

Luna Bar Minis,
S’mores
G/G Score: 7.9

Snickers, Marathon Low Carb Energy Bar, Peanut Butter
G/G Score: 7.6

Hannaford Seedless
Raisins
G/G Score: 7.4

Sunrich Kettle Valley
Fruit Bars
G/G Score: 7.2

 


We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Good luck with your shopping and have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Behind the Ratings: Labor Rights

Fair TradeHere at GoodGuide, it’s our goal to give you meaningful information about the health, environmental and societal impacts of products and companies so that you can vote with your dollars by making purchases that reflect your personal values. The GoodGuide rating — now available for more than 220,000 everyday products – is made up of data from over 1,000 different sources, including scientific institutions, governmental agencies, commercial data aggregators, non-governmental organizations, media outlets and corporations. Once collected, our scientists apply rigorous methodologies grounded in the sciences of informatics, health and environmental risk assessment, life cycle assessment and social impact analysis. When all is analyzed, we generate the official GoodGuide rating, with best performers receiving higher scores.

One dimension of the GoodGuide rating is Society, which tracks the social impacts associated with the manufacture and sale of a product, including management practices, transparency, consumer safety, community partnerships and policies related to its workforce. It’s this last dimension we want to highlight in this post, in honor of Labor Day in the U.S.A. The GoodGuide Worker Score rates company performance on such issues as occupational safety and health, diversity and equal opportunity, and human and labor rights. We’ve been advocates for improving worker conditions for a long time — check out GoodGuide co-founder Dara O’Rourke’s comment in April 2014 to the New York Times on the efforts to improve worker conditions following the tragic factory fires in Bangladesh. We applaud those companies that are taking action to implement positive change throughout the supply chain, and today shine our spotlight a just a couple of category leaders who are actively making a difference both through their practices and disclosure of Labor and Workers Rights policies.

MaggiesOrganicsCompany: Maggie’s Organics
Category: Apparel
G/G Worker Score: 9.4
G/G Society Score: 8.2
G/G Overall Score: 7.8
Certifications: Green America Seal of Approval – Gold Level
Behind the Ratings: Maggie’s Organics social policies, practices and performance place it among the best 5% of companies rated by GoodGuide. A recipient of the Gold Level Seal of Approval from Green America (formerly Co-op America) indicates that the company is leading the industry by embedding social responsibility in to their corporate DNA, operating in ways that solve, rather than cause, both environmental and social problems by adopting principles, policies, and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, their employees, communities, and the environment. Maggie’s Organics’ commitment to Fair Labor is transparently communicated on the company website.
Where to Buy: www.maggiesorganics.com

NewmansOwnCompany: Newman’s Own Organics
Category: Food (Coffee, Drinks, Packaged Food)
G/G Workers Score: 7.8
G/G Society Score: 5.9
G/G Overall Score: 5.9
Certifications: Fair Trade Coffee Certification
Behind the Ratings: The Fair Trade Certified™ Label guarantees consumers that strict economic, social and environmental criteria were met in the production and trade of an agricultural product. To display the Fair Trade Certified™ label on their products, companies must buy from certified farms, pay Fair Trade prices, and submit to supply chain audits. Fair Trade USA certifies coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, flowers, sugar, rice, honey, nuts and oils, vanilla, spirits and wine, personal care, apparel, and sports balls
Where to Buy: www.newmansownorganics.com/stores/index.php

SeventhGenerationCompany: Seventh Generation, Inc.
Category: Personal Care
G/G Workers Score: 7.7
G/G Society Score: 7.1
G/G Overall Score: 7.9
Certifications: Leaping Bunny Certified; Member of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); PETA Animal Treatment Assessment; Green America Seal of Approval – Gold Level; B Corporation; EPA Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative – Champions; GRI Sustainability Reporting
Behind the Ratings: Adopted a Supplier Code of Conduct in 2013, revised supplier audit protocols and terminated ties with one supplier for non-compliance.
Where to Buy: http://www.seventhgeneration.com/where-to-buy

DrBronnersCompany: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
Category: Personal Care
G/G Workers Score: 9.7
G/G Society Score: 8.3
G/G Overall Score: 7.8
Certifications: Safe Cosmetics Pledge; Coming Clean Campaign Endorsement Status; Leaping Bunny Certified; PETA Animal Treatment Assessment; Green America Seal of Approval – Gold Level; IMO Social Responsibility Certification
Behind the Ratings: Product sourcing is fully disclosed to the public on the company website. Since 2006, the company has sourced 95% of raw materials from certified Fair Trade suppliers. With regard to it’s internal compensation policies, the total pay for the highest paid employees is capped at 5x that of the lowest paid employee.
Where to Buy: https://www.drbronner.com/

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Sneak Peek: the new GoodGuide.com

In just a few days, GoodGuide will unveil a new website design. Here’s your opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes look at what we’ve got in store. We hope you’ll check it out and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

A New, Streamlined Homepage

Homepage

GoodGuide.com Homepage

In addition to a new look and feel, we’re streamlining our navigation to make made it even easier to search and find scientific ratings on over 200,000 consumer products. Speaking of our ratings, we’ve increased visibility into our methodologies, so you can better understand how we evaluate products, companies and their impact on our health, the environment, and society. We’ve also highlighted the highest rated products across our categories.

Improved Product Filters

Product Filters

Product Filters

The new GoodGuide.com features improved filtering options that let you find products that meet your specific concerns and criteria. With our new, simplified filters, you’ll no longer need to use the Purchase Analyzer to customize your personal shopping preferences — simply refine your search to narrow your product selections. (Note: If you connected your Amazon, Safeway, Diapers.com, Soap.com, or Wag.com accounts to the Purchase Analyzer, please be assured that these connections will be safely revoked and permanently removed from our system).

New Product Page Layout

Product Page

Product Page

You’ll find all the ratings details you’ve come to expect from GoodGuide in a simpler, more intuitive page. Drill down to learn what’s behind each rating and get detailed information about ingredients of concern. Use our “buy now” buttons for the products that meet your personal criteria.

GoodGuide Mobile

Mobile

Mobile

Take GoodGuide with you wherever you go! We’ve also streamlined our iOS app, making it even easier to scan product barcodes, search or browse for products when you are in the store. Download it from the app store today, and see why iTunes, the New York Times and Lucky Magazine have recommended us to their readers.

Let us know what you love, and what you think we could keep improving.

Sincerely,
The GoodGuide Team

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