A new website launched recently that allows you to lookup the “greenness” of various household products. The GoodGuide has over 61,000 products in its database. The products are all rated on a 10 point scale, with 10 being the best, using a variety of factors.
So, I tried it out. I was impressed with the number of products included, and liked that you could sort by “top ranked” to pick out those products you might buy in a particular category. I found a lot of products I really liked from smaller companies, such as Earth Mama Angel Baby (one of my faves) and erbaviva (another fave).
I also liked that you could get the product certifications and listings, with links to what the certifications meant, with a click of the mouse. All in one place.
But I also found the site a little frustrating. Not all products are rated in all of the criteria. For example, Johnson and Johnson’s Lavender Baby Oil Gel was given a 7 out of 10 (10 being the “greenest”) based upon one product fact – health performance. Which means it is “good” in the site’s criteria (although average in baby care products). The information is pulled from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic safety database, which rates this product a 3 out of 10 on its hazard scale (with 10 being the most hazardous).
But what is even more frustrating is that the GoodGuide doesn’t give more information on the product – such as the ingredient list – to explain the rating. It just references the EWG’s database.
And for the Johnson & Johnson Lavender Baby Oil Gel, the ingredients are: mineral oil, hydrogenated ethylene/propylene/styrene copolymer, fragrance. And what is fragrance? Well, we don’t know since manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients in their fragrance, but we do know that it probably contains hormone-disrupting phthalates. Fragrance gets a “8” on the EWG’s hazard scale. Most parents are trying to avoid hormone-disrupting phthalates in baby products, which means that it would be nice if it were identified in the information. And, in the description of “Things to Consider for Baby Care” on the site, phthalates are called out as something to avoid. But it would be nice if you didn’t have to search for that information. And there is no mention of the very, very limited study about lavender containing products perhaps causing breast tissue growth in baby boys.
For those products for which it does have ingredients, it doesn’t explain the ratings either – just references to other database and identification of the certifications.
So, I think it is a great start, but isn’t all the way there yet.