About Us

About Us

Because Health is a non-profit environmental health site, bringing you everything you need to know about how the places we live, work, and play impact our health. Through a combination of science-based tips, guides, and expert advice, it's our mission to show people simple ways to create a healthier future for themselves and their communities.

This is a site for people who care about their wellness and health, and recognize that pollution of our air, water, and soil, toxic chemicals in our products, and other environmental risks like climate change, are just as important as working out and eating right. We do the research, read the reports, interview the experts, find the safe products, and make it interesting so that you can live your best life. We are a place for real people, who don't have time to DIY everything, but want to make informed choices and advocate for the things they care about, because health.


Staff

Karen Wang, PhD, MSc

Karen knows how confusing environmental health can be. She's a mom, and when she was pregnant and trying to find out what "natural" and "healthy" really mean, it was easy to get overwhelmed. That's why she started Because Health. She wanted a source that is based on science and not the latest fads, and that makes the connection between wellness and the environment.

Karen is the editor-in-chief for Because Health content and is the Director of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. Karen completed her PhD in Strategic Management, a quantitative social science discipline grounded in applied economics and social psychology, at the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. Karen also holds a MSc in Earth Systems and a BA in Economics from Stanford University.

Favorite Because Health Routine: Starting the day by filling up reusable water bottles for myself, my hubby, and my kid. karen@becausehealth.org

Emma Zang-Schwartz, MPH

Emma is master of tone and official quizmaster for Because Health and a gladiator for environmental health. Her passion for this project came from her studies. She recently graduated from the Mailman School of Public health at Columbia University where she focused on health education and helping people learn to become agents of change. She also worked with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind Sesame Street, specifically focusing on providing water, sanitation, and hygiene lessons to children and teaching them how to share those messages with their families and friends. While most of her efforts supporting agents of change was focused on kids, the skills are transferable - fewer board games and story books, more quizzes and top ten lists here at Because Health. She is excited to be at Because Health getting people amped about simple swaps they can make that will have a great impact on their health and the health of the people around them, be it through their Insta feed or IRL.

Favorite Because Health Routine: Packing all the snacks in jars and reusable bags because #adulting is hard, and I don't want to get hangry at work

emma@becausehealth.org

Maria Williams

Since 2003, Maria has been learning about toxic chemicals hiding in everyday products, and how to avoid them. Starting as an outreach educator for King County's collection program for hazardous household waste, she then spent six years at Toxic-Free Future, where she ran a Toxics Hotline, wrote publications, and conducted original scientific research that revealed harmful chemicals found in toys and helped pass Washington's landmark Children's Safe Products Act.

Maria loves having so many opportunities to help spread the word on how our environment affects our health, and what we can all do to create a safer, healthier future. She completed her BA in Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. She also holds a Professional Certificate in Editing from UC Berkeley.

Favorite Because Health Routine: Opening the windows as often as possible (even on rainy Seattle days!) to keep the air in her home healthy and fresh.

maria@becausehealth.org


Mission

To improve individual and collective health by sharing knowledge, providing resources, and building a young community around a shared concern for how environmental risks can impact health.

Vision

A world where all people live free from environmental risks that harm human health

Values

We embrace what's practical, celebrate everyone's imperfections, accept trade-offs, and always strive to be relatable. Everything we do is positive, actionable, science-based, bite-sized, and approachable.


1% for the Planet

We are proud to say that we are a 1% for the Planet non-profit partner. Learn more about the 1% for the Planet movement.


Because Health is a project of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment(CHE). CHE is a program of Commonweal, a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Please refer to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Food

Say No to Non-Stick Without Saying No to Eggs!

Why the extra effort to cook without non-stick is worth it

Ugh, and there it goes, your non-stick pan just can't survive another round of frying up your favorite eggs for brunch. You've avoided this for as long as you can, but you just can't put it off any longer. Yup, you have to go shopping for pots and pans. If the thought of choosing between the seemingly hundreds of different brands promising different things scares you, we get it! I mean, who wants to try and figure out the difference between non-toxic and toxic cooking pans between running errands and going grocery shopping? We're here to help you cut down on your shopping time and anxiety!

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Family

Non-Toxic Travel Cribs and Playards

No need to worry about flame retardants or other scary chemicals here

Whether it's your first weekend away from home as a family or you just want them to be able to play near you in the kitchen while you are cooking, you can breathe easy knowing your little one is safe in one of these non-toxic travel cribs and playards. We made sure they were all free from unsafe chemicals and that they were well reviewed in the parent community.

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Home

Holiday Decorating without the Plastic

Zero waste, better for your health, and timeless

With Halloween solidly in the rearview mirror, the Holiday season is officially upon us. This also means that decorations are popping up everywhere. No matter where you go, stores are full of aisles stuffed with holiday decorations. While all of these cute baubles and tchotchkes might help you set the scene for your big family dinner, after the fact they are probably going to end up in the trash. If you are good about organizing, they might end up in a holiday box for next year, but chances are you will forget you had them and just get new ones again. To help you overcome the cycle and still fill your home with some adorable, fun, easy to reuse holiday decorations, we created a list of some of our favorite plastic-free holiday decorations.

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Life

Summer Recap: Here's What's Up with Wildfires

i.e. another way climate change is screwing with our health

Remember how bad the wildfires in the western United States were this year? Maybe you're worried that summer is never going to be the same with the constant air quality warnings? If you're like most people, you're probably a little concerned. And rightfully so! For instance, even if you weren't in California during the wildfires this year, you might have still felt the effects of the wildfires. While it doesn't seem the most direct, wildfires that occur far away still affect the environment you are living in. Climate change is playing a huge role in the number of wildfires and the length of the wildfire season that we're seeing and will be seeing - here's why.

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Life

Gifts! Gifts! Gifts!

Plastic-free, zero waste, and full of heart

As the holidays start to sneak up on us, we have been pulling together some of our favorite homemade gifts. All of which happen to be plastic-free, zero waste, edible (because food!). Bonus, they are all delicious and help cut down on both the plastic you and your loved ones are exposed to, plus how much ends up in the environment. Not to mention they look really awesome and a homemade gift is a unique way to show you really care. One more benefit, you can pull them together super last minute, get pretty much everything you need at the grocery store (most of it in bulk even) and avoid the heinous parking scene at the mall.

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Cleaning is important, you should definitely do it. While it can be a not very fun chore, unless you relate to Monica on a spiritual level, it really is something that should be done regularly. Besides germs, cleaning removes all the yucky (and potentially chemically laden) dust and dirt that can collect in your home over time. While it might seem like you should also disinfect your surfaces when you clean to kill any crazy germs that might be hanging out, it's not as necessary as you might think. And, using a strong, commercial disinfectant is definitely not needed or advised. Do you really want to use something all over your home that comes with a huge caution or warning sign on it?

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Roundups

9 Non-Toxic Men's Hair Gel Options

get the perfect tousled look without the unnecessary chemicals

Whether you use gel every day or just on special date nights, getting the perfect 'do shouldn't introduce a slew of crazy chemicals to your hair. So, we poured over the databases to find which companies are creating some non-toxic hair gel options. Then, we made sure you could actually get your hands on them and that they got good reviews before collecting them into our final roundup.

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