5 Must Visit Websites For Toxin-Free Living
There are so many untested chemicals and substances used in products in the U.S. that living a toxin free life requires research, but reliable information is hard to come by these days. On every side, we are surrounded by so-called “fake news” meant to push an agenda. Information from government agencies can be tainted by political leanings. Scientific research is often fueled by corporate interests. News and social media outlets are also beholden to their sponsors.
How can you find trustworthy sources of information on the nontoxic living topics you need to know about?
5 Must-Read Sources For News Non-Toxic Living
There is, however, information out there that takes a balanced look at the data and helps you make clean and healthy choices. The following websites are some excellent go-to resources that can help you select the best purchases for living a chemical-free life.
1. What To Buy:
Just a few years back, it was difficult to find healthy options outside of organic produce. Then the organic market took off. Today, there seems to be a cornucopia of allegedly “healthy” options. Items are marketed with terms like “natural” or “GMO free” yet contain many damagingingredients. Products for bath, beauty, and homecare are often “greenwashed,” that is, they are labeled as “eco-friendly” and yet contain many toxic chemicals.
That’s where Mamavation.com comes in. Led by blogger and food activist Leah Segedie, Mamavation investigates the harmful chemicals that consumers are exposed to on a daily basis and recommends brands you should buy. Some recent articles include:
- Best & Worst Crib Mattresses 2020
- Dangerous Shampoo & Conditioner Chemicals 2020: What Brands to Avoid and Our Must Use List
- Best & Worst Protein Powder Brands–LAB TESTED
Mamavation employs a team of researchers as well as an advisory panel that includes doctors, scientists, chemists and more, to fact check all their investigations. This blog is not afraid to list the brands you should avoid if you want to live a nontoxic life. Check it out at Mamavation.com.
2. Trustworthy Health Research:
If you are actively doing research on any topic, GreenMedInfo.com is the ideal place to start. In addition to maintaining a blog full of articles on a wealth of holistic health issues, this site contains a database full of research studies on these topics as well. You can use the “Research Tools” drop down menu to find different ways to search or get data on the latest topics.
Some peer-reviewed studies are available, but you’ll have to sign up for a membership to get full access to them. This can be helpful if you need this type of information, since many articles are not available to the general public without an individual fee.
Founder Sayer Ji is a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Advisor to the National Health Federation, and is also a CEO, author, speaker and activist.
3. Cosmetics and Personal Care:
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
Started in 2004, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has been advocating and educating the public about toxic chemicals in everyday products. You can search their “chemicals of concern” page by health concern (such as “endocrine disruptors”), product type, or segment of the population (i.e, “children”). For each toxic substance, they list:
- Product types that contain it
- What to look for on the label
- What it is, related health concerns and who is vulnerable
- Current regulations
- How to avoid it
Each page has documented references as well. Safe Cosmetics is a project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.
4. Toxic Chemicals:
MADE SAFE ® is a nonprofit organization that works with brands to certify that their products are nontoxic, from basic ingredients through each step of the way to final products. They certify all kinds of products, from skincare to furniture, that do not fall into any food categories.
In addition, the ™MADE SAFE Hazard List™ helps you to quickly search for chemicals in your products and gives a little bit of research on them. MADE SAFE also has chemical profiles, product profiles, and downloadable guides, such as The Healthy Baby Guide and DETOX YOUR SLEEP: Toxic Chemicals in Bedding, Safer Alternatives & Certified Products for Healthier Sleep.
Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State
Dr. Linus Pauling was a researcher who focused on the importance of vitamins and micronutrients. In 1973, he set up his institute, which moved to the campus of Oregon University in the 90s. In addition to ongoing research programs into nutrients, the Institute maintains the Micronutrient Information Center for consumers. Here, you can research various vitamins and minerals in depth, as well as health conditions, diets, populations and certain foods.
When you research a nutrient, you are presented with all the known data and research on a topic, such as how it is absorbed, what it does, what a deficiency looks like, what diseases it has been used to treat, sources, and the safety of supplements. You’re also given references and authors so you can see the data for yourself.
This is a must-use website for anyone using biomedical treatments or interested in supplementation for health and healing.
Nontoxic Living Sites: Honorable Mentions
The following resources are also excellent sources of data but not as rigorous as the ones above. They are a close second, so don’t avoid their data!
Honorable Mention 1:
Environmental Working Group (EWG)
EWG has been criticized in recent years for less rigorous data and outdated products on their site. That said, they have many buying guides that are regularly updated, such as their annually updated sunscreen guide.
EWG is most famous for their Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 produce guides. These help you avoid the most contaminated conventional fruits and vegetables and let you know which you can purchase without resorting to higher-priced organics.
EWG is still a very good resource for lots of information on contaminants in brands for nontoxic living. They also employ advocacy for safer products and foods.
Honorable Mention 2:
The World’s Healthiest Foods
The World’s Healthiest Foods is a nonprofit organization dedicated to informing the consumer on, you guessed it, the world’s healthiest foods! They state that they do independent research and their data is based on evaluating existing scientific research without bias or funding. I highly recommend you read their “Approach to Scientific Research” page, which can serve as a basic primer on looking at peer-reviewed studies.
The best way to use their site is to enter the food you are looking for and hit search. (Note this is all natural food, not brands or packaged foods.) You’ll get several results. Select the word under “Foods and Spices” to get the actual food item (i.e., “Aspargus”). Under each, you’ll get info on nutritional values, health benefits, history, how to select and prepare, concerns, recommendations, and more. All the scientific references are listed at the bottom so you can view them at your leisure.
That’s just one aspect of this site, though. The rest is full of information on cooking, eating habits, GMO foods, digestion, allergies, recipes, meal plans and so much more. This site is a must if you want to learn everything you can about fruits, vegetables, and other natural foods.
How To Find Data You Can Trust on Non-Toxic Living Topics
Of course, there are many other sources out there. These 7 sites are the basics that carry reliable info for the consumer who would like to improve their knowledge of toxins in food and products, and how to select healthy, life-sustaining choices. Once you are more comfortable and familiar with these issues, you may want to research other sites - and you should!
There are, however, precautions to take. Here are some guidelines on how to find data that you can trust:
Research the site’s primary funders and founders.
For example, one popular health and wellness site that many mistake as holistic accepts affiliate links, sponsored posts, and paid advertisement for different medical companies. While they do list peer-reviewed research, much of their information is in line with mainstream medical data and tends rejects holistic or natural approaches.
Understand the purpose of the source.
You have to be wary of other sources of funding besides sponsorship. Some websites are specifically set up to promote a product, drug, or medical service but are positioned as an information source for a particular disease or condition. Always research the “about” page and look at any pages regarding funding and financial data. Be aware if the management team leans all one way or another in terms of politics. Nonprofit organizations tend to be safe but can also have an agenda so always use caution.
Learn to read peer-reviewed science.
This can be a challenging proposition but you can start with a few low-key science documents. For example, if you don’t understand the title, don’t try to read it! Read a few abstracts first, that have comprehendible titles, using an online medical dictionary to look up terms like de novo.
A very good way to learn to read peer-reviewed science is to find an article that references the science, but is explained in plain terms for everyday consumers. Then read through the abstract and conclusion to see how it shapes up. Be careful, though. You don’t want to rely on research papers without really understanding the experiment and its flaws or biases!
Good, useful data is necessary to live a nontoxic but it can be hard to come by. These resources can get you started on your journey to learn more, helping you to create a safe and healthy lifestyle!