The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an American non-profit organization that educates and empowers consumers to make safer and more informed decision about the products they buy and the companies they support. EWG has a team of scientists, policy experts, lawyers, communication experts and programmers working tirelessly to make sure someone is standing up for public health when government and industry won’t. They promote solutions and influence policy to raise the awareness of the public to create a cleaner, greener, healthier world. They hope in response to consumer pressure, companies will eventually give up potentially dangerous chemical ingredients in their products and improve their practices.
The comprehensive website and app catalogs nearly 70,000 products, ranging from cleansers, moisturizers, makeup, shampoo, sunscreens, and deodorant into three hazard ratings (low, moderate, or high concern) based on each product’s ingredient information.
EWG’s App is now called “Healthy Living” (previously Skin Deep) and not only includes cosmetics & personal care product scores but also includes food scores too. You can also look up scores on here. They are leading the industry in terms of resources and data to help consumers make accurate assessments about the safety of their products. Companies can apply to be EWG Verified, meaning they are free of EWG’s ingredients of concern, they fully disclose all ingredients and follow good manufacturing practices.
For every product and ingredient found and listed on EWG, there’s a two-part score – a hazard score and a data availability score.
The ingredient hazard score, from 1-10 reflects known and suspected hazards of ingredients.
The data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies in the published scientific literature and the number included in the Skin Deep database.
Ideally, it is good to find products with rating 1-2 or EWG verified. However, it’s is extremely difficult to find products that rank a 2 or lower. Products with rating a 3 and below are good choices and alternatives.
Good to note:
- Some products are not listed at all, you may not able to find ratings on some very popular, high-end brands.
- Sometimes products have a lower or higher hazard score due to limited availability of an ingredient’s safety.
- According to the FDA, “It is the manufacturer’s and/or distributor’s responsibility to ensure that products are labeled properly,” For the report to be completely accurate, the percentages of each ingredient in the product must be made know. The accuracy of the safety data is only as accurate as the manufacturer’s label.
Through their reports, online databases, mobile app and communications campaigns, EWG is doing their best to aid consumers in choosing safer products for their families. Download their app, it may not be totally perfect and has its downfalls but it serves as a good reference guide about product ingredients and safety. You can use this as a reference to make a more conscious choice when you are shopping for your personal care products.