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Have you ever wondered about the safety of the products you use every day? The EWG’s Healthy Living app was developed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving chemical safety in the US, to provide you with answers. EWG pushes industries to adopt their standards and to say no to harmful chemicals. They also educate consumers with actionable information to inspire demand for safer products. Let’s take a closer look at how this app works and why it’s a handy tool for your everyday choices.

How It Works and Features

The app EWG’s Healthy Living is completely free and available for download on both the Apple Store and Google Play Store. The app rates personal care products, food, and household cleaners. They also have a special category called “EWG Verified” where products with the EWG Verified Mark are highlighted. This mark means that these products meet the strict criteria set by EWG, indicating they are free from chemicals of concern and meet their highest standards for health and transparency.

The app has over 120,000 ratings of products across all categories. You can either search for a product or scan its barcode. If the product is in their database, you will get a result along with its score. Taping on the product reveals its full list of ingredients. Tapping on an ingredient gives you more information about it. Each ingredient gets a score, and then the product gets an overall score based on all the individual ingredients and the amount of research available on them.

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 If you’re most interested in recommendations rather than searching for a particular product, you can browse by category. For example, if you are looking for good shampoo options (image below), you would select “Personal Care Products” then “Hair Care,” and further narrow it down to “Shampoo”. The recommendations will show the EWG Verified products first and gradually move down to products with lower and worse scores.

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In addition to these capabilities, the app also allows users to actively contribute by submitting products that aren't yet in their database for review.

Product Rating System

The EWG’s Healthy Living app rates each product considering factors like ingredient links to cancer, allergens, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, irritation, and developmental and reproductive toxicity. This rating process involves two components: hazard and data availability. The hazard score ranges from 1 to 10, reflecting the potential risks linked to ingredients. Products with an EWG Verified mark and those scoring 1-2 are considered low-risk, 3-6 are moderate-risk, and 7-10 are high-risk.

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Data availability assesses the amount of scientific research on the product or ingredient. The app calculates an overall score by considering ingredient hazards and data availability. The safest products have low hazard ratings and sufficient data support.

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Conclusions and Recommendations

The EWG’s Healthy Living App, stands out as a comprehensive and user-friendly tool for anyone looking for safer products. It goes beyond just providing information to consumers. Through its robust rating system and the “EWG Verified” category, the app actively encourages industries to adopt higher safety standards. By setting a gold standard for safety, the app creates a powerful incentive for companies to prioritize and adhere to these standards. The broad coverage of various categories reflects EWG’s commitment to holistic well-being. The app is for those who want more than ratings– it’s a trusted companion for cleaner, safer choices.

This review was written by Laura Custodio, ZBC Program & Digital Media Manager

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