If you’ve seen a product stamped with EWG VERIFIED, you might be wondering what this means or if the EWG is credible.
One of the hardest things about cutting chemicals out of the products that you use for baby care is trying to understand ingredient lists. Many of the most harmful ingredients are hidden in products and not immediately obvious.
What the EWG does is help us quickly see whether or not a product contains harmful chemicals, their concentration and the potential impact of the human body.
Although their list is constantly growing, the EWG stamp is a good indicator that you’ve come across a product you can trust.
In this post, we’re going to discuss why you need to avoid chemicals in baby products, what the EWG is, and whether you can trust their stamp!
Why you need to avoid chemicals in baby products
Harmful chemicals can be found in diapers, baby shampoo, baby food, high chairs, bottles, and more.
That’s right. They are everywhere.
If the product isn’t verified as being harmful-chemical-free by a third-party company or group, you can bet that it contains something that you’d rather not have anywhere near your baby.
The problem with chemical ingredients is that they have been linked to developmental disabilities, hormone disruption, reduced fertility, cancer, and more.
Unfortunately, we’re coming into contact with harmful chemicals every day by simply going about our day-to-day lives. This is why it’s so important to reduce the chemicals that our babies come into contact with, whenever and wherever we can.
Babies are at a higher risk of problems associated with dangerous chemicals because they are smaller and will therefore receive a higher dose per unit size of chemicals than adults. They also have thinner skin that can more easily absorb the products that they come into contact with.
What is the EWG?
The EWG was formed in 1993 and stands for the Environmental Working Group.
But what does that have to do with diaper products?! We hear you ask…
The EWG specializes in tracking ingredients safety in products - including the products we put on our baby’s skin! They are the go-to resource for parents who are choosing to avoid chemicals and raise their babies away from harmful toxins.
The EWG provides you with a quick and easy way to tell whether or not a product is low or free of toxic chemical.
Let’s face it, reading product labels is time-consuming, confusing, and near-impossible to make sense of. But groups such as the EWG make this process much easier for us.
(This is especially good news for mums who have better things to do than decipher confusing ingredient lists!).
Who is the EWG?
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization run by activists who care about the planet and whose mission is to "empower you with breakthrough research to make informed choices and live a healthy life in a healthy environment".
They were established in 1993 and track chemical safety, and has called out bad chemicals and the companies that use them.
Their actions covers a variety of products including food (perhaps you heard of the "dirty dozen"), household goods, cleaning supplies and personal care products (which, here at La Petite Creme, we are the most familiar with).
When assessing the safety of a personal care product, EWG uses the 1 to 10 number scale with 1 being the safest and 10 the worst for the long term health of the user.
While EWG has a good database of personal care products, not every product is available there. But don't worry, you can get a rating for any product of your choice by using the 'build your own report" tool to check the ranking of a certain product.
There is also an additional rating over the 1 rank called "EWG VERIFIED" that is EWG seal of approval and the golden ticket to EWG highest ranking and standards.
What does it mean to be EWG verified?
To get an EWG VERIFIED seal of approval by EWG, companies (like ours!) need to submit an application for review, pay a fee and answer a strict process that involves producing proofs of the veracity of the commercial claims by the company.
Here are a few comments that we have read or heard about EWG Verified process and credibility that we would like to provide our personal experience to.
#1 "EWG rating is rigged because companies pay to get the EWG verified status?"
As a business you have to pay an application fee to get your product reviewed by EWG's team. That is to pay for the time the people at EWG spend scrutinizing your product, your company and your ingredients.
The fees depends on the yearly revenue of your business (small business pay a smaller fee than larger corporation). After the initial application and once the product obtain the EWG Verified status, companies must pay a renewal fee every year.
The outcome of EWG's investigation is not guaranteed when you apply. Companies can pay the application fee and never get EWG Verified if the product does not pass the EWG standards for ingredients list, quality and concentration.
#2: "EWG Verified does not mean anything because the same product in the 'build you own report' tool is ranked lower"
We (La Petite Diapering lotion and balms) are perfect examples of this. If you enter our ingredients in 'EWG build your own report" tool, our product score will be 2 with one ingredient being the main cause of the score.
Yet, the same product is "EWG Verified". How come? Well, when we submitted our application to the EWG team, they asked for the exact concentration of each ingredient in our product as well as third-party testing of each ingredient that had use restrictions in their book. After submitting the product's recipe along with request third-party testing (at our charge), they determined that our ingredients were of the desired purity, source and concentration to not be an harm to humans.
#3. "EWG warnings are 'alarmist', 'scaremongering' and 'misleading'".
EWG is one among multiple sources of information for parents to understand the ingredients and the quality of the products they use on their little ones. Is it THE unique way for all? Absolutely not. An EWG Verified product may be harmless for most but contains an ingredient that your child is allergic too and can cause severe damage.
At the end of the day, EWG database is a starting point and one tool in your parenting tool box. It is a great resource to narrow down a large list of laundry detergent options or baby essentials, but your ultimate choice can involve a lot more criteria such as personal preferences, manufacturing location, price, business size, value alignment, work condition of workers, and much more. As a parent, YOU make the decision that is right for you by crossing sources that you trust.
On that note, there is currently a list of over 2,200 products with the EWG VERIFIED mark, and we’re really proud to be one of them. For a small business like ours, the recurring fees and cyclical renewal resubmission is a big deal. So we hope that this green seal on our product brings you the additional peace of mind to dare to give our diapering products a try.
To see a full list of our EWG-verified products, visit our online shop.