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MADE SAFE’s Clean Sweep: Spring Cleaning Tips

8 Creative Cleaning Tips from the MADE SAFE Team

Spring cleaning blog image

Springtime is synonymous with a clean start, but our homes are especially in need of an annual freshening up this year after a seemingly endless “shelter-at home.” As a team, we’re always sharing nontoxic tips and tricks with each other, and we recently spent some time kicking around our favorite spring cleaning hacks. So today we’re sharing the highlights with you – bust out your mop and scrub brush and get down to business with these eight tips from our team!

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2021 Media

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2021

Relax In These Sustainable Pajamas That Do Good
DECEMBER 27 2021 – THE WELLNESS FEED
These sustainable pajamas stand for better products for people and the planet. With timeless designs and enduring quality they’re made through fair wages and with responsibly sourced materials…read more

Non-Toxic and Sustainable 2021 Gift Guide for the Home
NOVEMBER 12 2021 – BECAUSE / HEALTH
We’ve been spending so much time in our homes these last two years, which is why the products we chose for our gift guide for the home are the best of the best…read more

Non-Toxic and Sustainable 2021 Gift Guide for Teens
NOVEMBER 12 2021 – BECAUSE / HEALTH
Teenagers can be notoriously hard to shop for, especially now that social media is so prevalent…read more

Are Simple Plant-Based Formulas the Next Frontier in Skin Care?
SEPTEMBER 27 2021 – GQ
If you have even a passing interest in your grooming routine, you’ve probably heard of botanical skin care. It’s a term as opaque as it is ubiquitous, with its enticing promise of plant-based formulations and “all-natural” ingredients…read more

The 6 Best Flannel Sheets to Wrap Yourself In This Fall
SEPTEMBER 15 2021 – GEAR PATROL
Investing in sleep is one of the best things you can do. Not only is it important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, but you also need to make sure the bed you tuck into every night will have you getting the best sleep possible…read more

The 8 Non-Toxic and Sustainable Mattress Companies We Recommend
SEPTEMBER 13 2021 – ECOCULT
My husband and I had been sleeping on a memory foam mattress for seven years, which is about when the experts recommend you start thinking about a new mattress. I knew that this time, I wanted to find a sustainable and — more importantly — certified non-toxic mattress…read more

Your Guide to a Greener, Cleaner Home
SEPTEMBER 2021 – SHAPE MAGAZINE
We care deeply about living in a space that feeds our well-being and about protecting the planet. But the thought of doing a major overhaul to create an environmentally sustainable home can induce panic…read more / download pdf

It’s National Recycling Day—Here Are 25 Sustainable Brands to Shop Right Now
AUGUST 10 2021 – USA TODAY
When you’re in the market for a new or replacement product, try to find it from a sustainable brand, which begs the question: What is a sustainable brand?… read more

Top 14 Affordable Organic Safe Kids Mattresses
AUGUST 1 2021 – CITRUS SLEEP
For many parents, shopping for your kids mattress or kids twin mattress can be a daunting experience. You want a bed that’s free from toxins and is safe for your child, of course… read more

Clean Up Your Cleaning Products
JULY 8 2021 – TURNOVER BNB
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your health for a clean home. The cleaning products we use to clean our homes or prepare for guests should be safe to use, especially since these are products encountered in everyday life.… read more

The Essential Non-Toxic Baby Registry List
JUNE 14 2021 – BECAUSE / HEALTH
If you’re like us, one of the first questions you had once you found out you were expecting was “what do I need to get before the baby arrives?!” …read more

Healthy Home Cleaning Tips to Avoid Toxins
MAY 12 2021 – MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE
It has been a crazy year, so this spring I am especially ready to embrace my “spring cleaning” routine. I’m emptying closets and wiping down drawers… read more

These 6 Brands Are Leading The Charge In Sustainable Home Decor
APRIL 22 2021 – THE ZOE REPORT
When you’re trying to figure out how to reduce your environmental impact, it can sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders… read more

24 Clean and Sustainable Beauty Brands to Add to Your Routine
APRIL 21 2021 – CNN UNDERSCORED
When scrolling through any beauty website, you’re likely to be met with brands telling you their product is “clean,” “natural,” “organic” or “sustainable,” amongst other things… read more

8 Sustainable Shampoos to Switch to This Earth Day
APRIL 21 2021 – MANE ADDICTS
Happy Earth Day! Time to show the planet a little bit of love. Clean beauty is booming and sustainable shopping is easier than ever… read more

Where to Buy the Most Earth-Friendly Bedding On the Planet
APRIL 9 2021 – DWELL
It ain’t easy being green—but these bedding brands passed rigorous environmental certifications with flying colors… read more

Naturepedic Renews its Commitment with the MADE SAFE® Nontoxic Certification Program
MARCH 2 2021 – PR NEWSWIRE
The first certified organic, nontoxic mattress manufacturer supports industry programs that help consumers make safer choices… read more

Mom Detective: What to Do About Plastic Pollution?
MARCH 1 2021 – MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE
Every year the world produces more than 300 million tons of plastic, and 50% of it is single-use plastic. That figure is expected to double by 2034… read more

The Wellness Industry Is Coming for Your Mattress
FEBRUARY 24 2021 – VOX
Are mattresses toxic? And does that matter? I’m curious to find out whether we should truly be concerned with the ingredients in our mattresses, or if — as with the clean beauty industry — it’s a faux house of horrors designed to get us to open our wallets wider… read more

19 Nontoxic, Eco-Friendly Mattresses for Every Budget
FEBRUARY 22 2021 – ELEMENTAL GREEN
If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of the fact that conventional mattresses are made from unsustainable materials and harbor harmful carcinogenic glues, dyes, gels, and/or fire retardants, arsenic and formaldehyde… read more

Mom Detective: Covid, Climate and Chemicals
FEBRUARY 18 2021 – MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE
If I am completely honest, at the end of some days, after I’ve cleaned up from dinner and gotten the kids into bed, I sometimes wonder if civilization’s problems with exposure to toxic chemicals and climate change are just so vast that we won’t be able to solve them… read more

Mom Detective: What to Do About Laundry and Plastic Pollution?
FEBRUARY 1 2021 – MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE
Plastic pollution is a massive environmental problem, especially in our oceans. It turns out that 35% of primary plastic pollution is from the plastic fibers we wear and wash!… read more


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Hand Sanitizer

Toxic chemicals in hand sanitizer imageHand washing with soap is considered the first line of defense for hygiene, but when that option isn’t available, hand sanitizers are a big help. The first thing to consider when shopping for hand sanitizer is the active ingredient, which is the ingredient that performs the sanitizing.


Getting Started: Choosing a Safer Active IngredientEthyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol are deemed safer options for active ingredients. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC recommend sanitizers containing alcohol at concentrations of at least 60 percent.

Although ethyl and isopropyl alcohols are likely safer options, in 2017 the FDA deferred a final ruling on the safety of these alcohols (along with another common ingredient, benzalkonium chloride) in order to fill data gaps. This means that the FDA could still change this ruling in the future as more research is made available. It should be noted these products should never be ingested and children should use supervised.


Next Step: Choosing Safer Inactive IngredientsHand sanitizers contain additional ingredients beyond just the active ingredients – these are called inactive ingredients and may be listed separately on the label. Follow along with us as we explore the health concerns associated with some of the other ingredients commonly found in hand sanitizers and how to shop for better options.

The Health Concerns

  • Artificial Dyes are commonly derived from petroleum and can be added to foods, cosmetics, and personal care products such as hand sanitizers. You may recognize dyes on the packaging of conventional products as one of the few words on the ingredient list you can recognize and pronounce! Examples are Blue 1, Red 40, and Yellow 5. Despite their friendly spelling, they have been linked to harmful effects including hastened dermal absorption in damaged skin, allergic reactions, and hyperactivity when ingested. Unfortunately, big data gaps remain in the literature on artificial dyes, so applying the precautionary principle (aka: skipping ingredients without enough information), it may be best to avoid them when possible.
  • Parabens are ingredients utilized to preserve products. Extending the shelf life of an item is a good thing, but unfortunately using parabens to prevent the growth of microorganisms also carries some toxicity concerns. For example, parabens are endocrine disrupting chemicals and have been associated with breast cancer and reproductive harm. They can be spotted on packaging by looking for the suffix “paraben” on the ingredient label (ethylparaben, isopropylparaben, etc.).
  • Polyethylene Glycol Compounds (PEGs) are utilized for their thickening, softening, and penetration-enhancing properties. They are found in a wide range of consumer products including hand sanitizers. PEG compounds are created by a process called ethoxylation, which means that they are likely contaminated with carcinogens like ethylene oxide and/or 1,4 dioxane. Since these contaminants are not intentionally added ingredients, but rather by-products of the manufacturing process, they will not be labeled on the ingredient label.
    • Compounding the contamination issue is the fact that the penetration-enhancing effect of some PEGs can allow increased absorption of other potentially harmful ingredients in any product’s given formulation.
    • The best way to avoid PEGs and their possible contaminants is to avoid products with “PEG” listed on the ingredient list, usually as “PEG” followed by a number (Ex: PEG-40). In case you’re an ingredient geek, the number after “PEG” correlates with the number of moles – a standard scientific unit of measurement – of ethylene oxide added to the compound during the ethoxylation process.
  • Undisclosed Fragrance – Companies are not required to disclose their fragrance formulations on packaging, which means that “fragrance” on packaging could potentially be a cocktail of  hundreds of ingredients. Though some ingredients may be harmless, it’s best to avoid undisclosed fragrances because some common fragrance ingredients are known to cause harm, such as phthalates and synthetic musks. Without the ingredients listed, we can’t know what’s inside.

Tips for Choosing a Safer Hand Sanitizer

  • Opt for alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain simple non-active ingredients such as water, plant oils, and glycerin
  • Avoid formulations containing PEGs – look for “PEG” on ingredient labels, typically followed by a number (ex: PEG-40)
  • Bypass products that contain parabens, ingredients ending in -paraben (e.g., ethylparaben)
  • Try to avoid products that use artificial dyes (e.g., Yellow 5)
  • Don’t use products that list “fragrance” or “parfum” 
  • Shop for products vetted by a trusted third-party verification such as MADE SAFE that requires full ingredient disclosure.
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Toxic Chemicals in Hand Sanitizer

Toxic chemicals in hand sanitizer image

Hand washing with soap is considered the first line of defense for hygiene, but when that option isn’t available, hand sanitizers are a big help. The first thing to consider when shopping for hand sanitizer is the active ingredient, which is the ingredient that performs the sanitizing.

(more…)

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What’s Inside Your Body Wash?

We spend a lot of time thinking about the ingredients in our facial products and hair care, but what about our shower routine? What are we cleansing our bodies with every day – and what’s washing down the drain? (more…)

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Body Wash: What’s in That?

 
We spend a lot of time thinking about the ingredients in our facial products and hair care, but what about our shower routine? What are we cleansing our bodies with every day – and what’s washing down the drain?


The Health Concerns

Contaminants – Contaminants are ingredients that are not intentionally added to a product, but can still be found in the finished product due to factors such as processing or sourcing. An example of a contaminant commonly found in body washes is 1,4 dioxane. Surfactants (a group of ingredients found in body washes to make them sudsy) can undergo a process called ethoxylation. For instance, ethoxylation of sodium lauryl sulfate to convert it to sodium laureth sulfate (a surfactant), can produce and contaminate the final product with 1,4 dioxane in the process.

1,4 dioxane has been identified as a known carcinogen. Due to its presence via contamination, 1,4 dioxane will not be listed on the label of a product. This can make it difficult to avoid. A good way to steer clear of 1,4 dioxane is by reading labels for the chemicals that tend to be contaminated with it: as a general rule that means avoiding PEGS and ingredients that end in “-eth”. Ex: sodium laureth sulfate.

Undisclosed Fragrance – An umbrella term used on product labels that may contain upwards of 100 different ingredients. Common fragrance ingredients, such as phthalates and synthetic musks, can be toxic to human health. Because companies are not required to disclose fragrance components, it’s best to avoid fragranced products unless they are entirely disclosed. It always helps to have the product vetted by a trusted third-party verification such as MADE SAFE® that requires full ingredient disclosure.

Toxic Preservatives – Preservatives, as the name suggests, are used to “preserve” products for long periods of time, preventing the growth of microorganisms and resulting expiration. They can come in many forms, but a few examples are: parabens (ethylparaben, isopropylparaben, etc.), quaternium-15, and glyoxal. Preservatives are designed to kill things, so it’s not surprising that many conventional preservatives have been linked to a range of toxicity issues. For example, parabens are hormone disruptors and have been associated with breast cancer as well as reproductive harm.

Note that preservation of products is important – especially when water is present in the formulation – so make sure the products you use do contain preservatives and they are safer options. The shortcut to knowing your product has been preserved with safer options? Look for the MADE SAFE seal.

Harmful Surfactants – Lathering agents are added to products to create foam and bubbles and to wash away dirt and oil. Shoppers love the action of surfactants, but what you may not know is that many surfactants can be problematic for the environment – especially aquatic life. We often think of our own health first when we choose products, but with something like a body wash that stays on our own skin for a very short time but washes down the drain during our shower, it’s important to consider toxicity to aquatic animals and our environment. That’s why when MADE SAFE certifies a product containing surfactant, we zero in on biodegradability and toxicity to aquatic life.

Common examples of problematic conventional surfactants include sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate. These foaming ingredients have been found to cause contact irritation in users and are also harmful to aquatic life.

Because numerous surfactants are problematic for our environment, we recommend choosing body washes with the MADE SAFE seal.


Tips for Safer Body Washes

  • Avoid PEGs and ingredients ending in -eth
  • Avoid products that contain parabens, ingredients ending in -paraben (ex: ethylparaben)
  • Use products that disclose 100% of ingredients
  • Avoid products that list “fragrance” or “parfum”
  • Look for the MADE SAFE® seal

Find MADE SAFE® Certified Body Washes.

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10 Ways to Live Less Toxic in 2021

Live less toxic blog post image2021: A brand new year to live a less toxic lifestyle. To start, we are kicking off the year with 10 ideas to begin this commitment right now. In your own home. We recommend starting this new year by picking one or two items that you can work toward immediately and then pace yourself in working toward the others.

Living a healthier lifestyle is not a quick fix. What matters most is taking consistent steps where you can and as you are able.

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MADE SAFE New Year’s Revolution – Cookware

  Let’s talk cookware. With chillier months and the holiday season ahead, you may be spending a little more time in the kitchen. You probably invest time, energy and money seeking out the best ingredients for the foods you’re preparing. But have you ever considered what the best options are for nontoxic cookware? Join us in learning about what to look for and how to find safer cookware options.

With love, from our kitchen to yours. 
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Mouthwash: The Unsung COVID-19 Hero?

 
Lumineux mouthwash blog graphicAn unlikely potential hero in personal hygiene amidst the coronavirus pandemic? Mouthwash. A recent critical review of available research suggests that some ingredients in mouthwashes may help decrease oral SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) viral load and transmission.

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MADE SAFE’s Complete Guide to Transitioning to Clean Deodorant

BY SYDNEY COOK

Guide to deodorants image

“Clean deodorant just doesn’t work for me. Trust me, I’ve tried.”

I’ve heard this countless times in what seems like hundreds of conversations about clean deodorant. Which deodorant I use is typically the first question I receive when new acquaintances find out what I do for work.

People are desperate for deodorants that are clean and that stop the stink. But the truth is the equation isn’t just about the deodorant itself – it’s about the transition process too.

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