Life

Why You Might Want to go Organic for Marijuana

Here's what you need to know before your next smoke or special weed treat

With all the chill that marijuana is associated with, we hate to harsh your buzz, but you might not be getting exactly what you think when you pick up a joint or gummy. Because of the lack of regulation on marijuana, there is no governmental body watching what growers are putting on their pot - including the type and amount of pesticides. Yes, believe it or not, marijuana has its fair share of pesticides. Whether it's for recreational or medicinal use, the next time you reach for a smoke or some special treats, consider going organic.


Here's why...

You're probably thinking "here we go again, just another article about why you should spend half your paycheck on buying organic produce." Just hear us out! We promise this will be worth your time and money. Despite marijuana's effects ranging from calming anxiety attacks to increasing productivity, smoking or eating marijuana grown with pesticides poses a large health threat by exposing the body to lethal chemicals that should be regulated, but aren't. A Berkeley laboratory recently found that 84% of medical marijuana samples contained large amounts of pesticides (4). Myclobutanil, which is a key ingredient in the pesticide Eagle 20, was identified in more than 65% of samples tested in a month. When heated to high temperatures (like when you smoke), myclobutanil transforms into hydrogen cyanide which affects your oxygen-sensitive organs, including the brain, cardiovascular system and the lungs. It's extremely poisonous and can be lethal in high doses. Inhalation of pesticides directly into your lungs (which is basically what happens when you inhale a puff of smoke) also causes greater damage because detoxifying organs (i.e. your liver or kidney) can't get to work right away getting those chemicals out of your body. Yikes!

If you're whipping up some delicious meals or snacks with marijuana, the pesticides used during growing are of less concern. It's still not great, but it's not as bad as inhaling it because the body does a better job of clearing out toxins from the body if they are ingested (2). So if you are making special brownies, you might be okay. But don't forget, pesticides can also get into the water, soil and harm wildlife. Bottom line, pesticides aren't just bad for you, they're also bad for the planet!

Who invited pesticides to the party anyway?

It would be great if pesticides weren't part of the picture, but, unfortunately, despite some form of legalization of marijuana in 29 states, the government still hasn't put any regulation on controlling the growing of marijuana because it is still federally classified as a controlled substance (3). This classification makes it extremely difficult for third-parties like universities to get permission to conduct more research on marijuana safety! This means that marijuana regulation, whether inhaled or ingested, is up to the States themselves. California and Oregon are two states that have begun to mandate testing marijuana for pesticides and microbes and have laws in place to prevent failed batches from being sold retail. We can only hope that other states continue to follow suit!

How can I make the most out of my experience?

Since marijuana research, regulation, and testing is still backlogged everywhere, it's up to everyone to keep the supply safe, and we're here to help you figure out what you can do! There are currently two big organizations that are trying to grow and certify organic marijuana.

1. Cannabis Certification Council (CCC): Founded by two organizations in Oregon and Colorado, the CCC offers a national third-party certification program. Cannabis certified by the CCC will say Organically Grown and Fairly Produced.

2. Clean Green Certified: Founded in California in 2004, this is the only nationally recognized third-party certification program. Clean Green certifies cannabis using sustainable, biodynamic and organic standards. A list of its members can be found on its website.

Despite their expertise in growing marijuana, these two organizations can't take advantage of certified organic labeling (USDA organic), like the eggs or veggies you can purchase, since marijuana is technically illegal at the federal level. This does make it harder to differentiate between what's organic and what isn't. So, the best thing you can do is ask for information from growers or whomever you are purchasing marijuana from to ensure a quality product. Even if there is very little to no government oversight on the growing of marijuana, you can still keep yourself safe by going organic. And hey! By asking questions and advocating for safer marijuana growing standards, who knows, you might be the one to tip the scale in favor of regulations on organically grown marijuana in the future.

References

  1. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/marijuana-organic-cannabis-industry-goes-green-energy-water-pesticides/
  2. https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/chemicals/toxic_substances.htm
  3. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jt/2013/378168/
  4. https://landing.steephill.com/pesticides/
Roundups

The 13 Best Non-Toxic Baby Sunscreens

Well reviewed, easy to find, and super safe for your little one

It's finally here! We've rounded up the best 13 non-toxic sunscreens baby sunscreens just in time for all your outdoor adventures. We took into account ingredient safety, as well as reviews from parents, and availability at major retailers. Trust us that these options will not result in a goopy disappointment. All 13 of these non-toxic baby sunscreens are safe for baby, toddlers, kids (and you!) and are free from harmful chemicals. They are all reef safe too! Many of these brands also make a stick that can be a lot easier for face application if your baby is extra squirmy, so make sure to check those out too. Hope this makes your summer to-do list just a bit easier!

a) Adorable Baby SPF 30 Sunscreen, b) All Good Kid's Sunscreen SPF 30, c) Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 50 d) Babo Botanicals Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, e) Badger Baby Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream SPF 30, f) Bare Republic Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50, g) California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, h) Coola Baby Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, i) Made Of Baby Sunscreen SPF 30, j) Sunblocz Baby and Kids Sunscreen SPF 50, k) Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50, l) Tom's of Maine Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, m) Totlogic Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30


Because Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program so that when you click through our Amazon links, a percentage of the proceeds from your purchases will go to Because Health. We encourage you to shop locally, but if you do buy online buying through our links will help us continue the critical environmental health education work we do. Our participation does not influence our product recommendations. To read more about how we recommend products, go to our methodology page.

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Food

Endless Ideas for Healthy Homemade Popsicles (No Recipe Needed!)

A refreshing family friendly treat, without added food colorings, cane sugar, or plastic packaging.

Popsicles are such a fun treat for adults and kids whenever it gets hot outside! We put together a fun graphic where you can make your own recipe for a healthy homemade popsicle, using whatever you have on hand. We make all sorts of popsicles from leftover fruit, veggies, juices that we have laying around. It's a great way to use up that half of a banana or browning avocado that your kid didn't eat. And instead of becoming food waste (which is a huge contributor to climate change), it gets new life as an amazing treat. We like these silicone or stainless steel popsicle molds, cause they are super durable and we generally try to avoid plastics and food. Making your own popsicles is a great way to have fun, while being non-toxic. Many store bought popsicles contain load of cane sugar, food colorings, other additives, and plastic packaging. So pick one up a popsicle mold, choose a combination of tasty ingredients, blend, freeze, and enjoy!

In case you need some ideas to get started, here are some of our favorites:

Chocolate Fudge: Cocoa powder, avocado (or banana), coconut milk, and honey/maple syrup

Watermelon Strawberry Mint: Watermelon, Strawberries, Coconut water, and Mint

Spinach Blueberry Yogurt: Spinach, Blueberry, Banana, and Yogurt

Creamy Zucchini Pineapple: Zucchini, Pineapple, and Coconut milk

*A special tip on mixing colors. Mixing leafy greens with red or orange fruits/veggies (like carrot juice or strawberries) makes for a pretty brown popsicle. It will still taste good, but might not look as appetizing!


Roundups

Non-Toxic Aftershaves

Cause who wants questionable chemicals on a freshly shaven face?

Whether aftershave is part of your shaving routine for the manly (and fabulous!) scents or to help your skin recover, you probably don't want an aftershave with questionable ingredients or preservatives. This is especially true because the main purpose of aftershave is to calm down any skin irritation and disinfect any small nicks (oops!) you accidentally gave yourself. We also included two options for witch hazel toners that are an all natural, affordable option that calms inflammation and disinfects. We found 7 non-toxic aftershaves and witch hazel toners that have good ingredients, good reviews, and are easy to buy at major retailers. So pick up one up and incorporate it into your morning routine and your skin will thank you!

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Family

5 Easy Changes to Protect Your Sperm from Harmful Chemicals

Keep your swimmers safe with these science-based tips

Hey, guys, yeah all you sperm producing humans out there. Hate to break it to you, but when it comes to different chemicals in our world, your little swimmers might not be as safe as you think. While it's true that you continually are creating new sperm, if you are exposed to some of these nasty things on a regular basis, chances are high that they are affecting both the quality and quantity of your sperm. Even if you aren't planning to have a kid right now, these things could make it harder for you to conceive a kid in the future and research has linked sperm health to overall health. But, hang tight. We have some super simple suggestions for ways to change up your routine that can protect your sperm for years to come.

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Home

What to Know Before Your Next Big DIY Project

Protect your health without sacrificing creativity!

Whether you're inspired by a recent Etsy binge or are a Weekend Warrior who practically lives at Home Depot, DIY projects can be super fun and fulfilling. Before you get started on your next project, we have some tips on what chemicals to avoid, the safety hazards they pose, and ways to keep yourself safe.




Avoid Methylene chloride

It's always fun to spruce up furniture with a new coat of paint but methylene chloride, a seriously dangerous chemical, is found in paint stripping products. In the body methylene chloride turns into carbon monoxide (1), and too much carbon monoxide can cause dizziness, confusion, and asphyxia. Methylene chloride fumes quickly accumulate and are heavier than air, which means workers bending down over projects in poorly ventilated areas are easily susceptible to the dangers of this chemical (2). There have been many accidental deaths from Methylene chloride, so you should completely avoid paint strippers that use it. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has created a great reference on safer alternative for paint strippers.

Paint

Before you pick up your paint brush to tackle that dresser revamp, make sure the paint you're using is low VOCs. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that are emitted as gasses from products like paint and can cause headaches, eye irritation, and nausea (3). VOCs are part of the reason paint can be so smelly when it's drying! Look for a paint that says low or no VOCs on the packaging and make sure to keep the windows open while the paint is drying!

Wood Stains

Updating your wood table or decking? Reach for a water-based wood stain or finish! Traditional wood stains can contain harsh chemicals and emit a ton of VOCs. Luckily a lot of brands have a VOC rating on their label, which makes choosing a product a lot easier. We recommend choosing a stain with low VOCs (under 250 g/l) that is also Green Seal 11 (GS-11) certified (4).

Always Have Proper Ventilation

This is key for any DIY project. Chances are, you'll probably use some chemicals that are not great for you during your project. The best place to work on your project is outside but if you have to work indoor, make sure to open windows and doors, and use a fan to ventilate the area.

Wear a Protective Mask

DIY projects can expose you to a TON of dust, which is why it's a good idea to always wear a protective mask. Dust is bad for you in general, and can also contain particles containing toxic chemicals, which is why we recommend using an N95 mask while working. Normal masks can help protect you, but they don't protect you from all dust. N95 masks filter even the tiniest particles (0.3 microns) (5), which can keep you safe during those extremely messy projects.




  1. https://saferchemicals.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/methylene-chloride/
  2. https://prheucsf.blog/2017/11/14/risky-paint-stripper-will-continue-to-kill-while-epa-delays/
  3. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality#Levels
  4. https://www.ewg.org/healthyhomeguide/wood-stains-a...
  5. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/masks-and-n95-respirators

Now that you've invested in some glass and stainless steel food storage containers, maybe you're wondering if you should Marie Kondo all the plastic ones you used to use? Instead adding them to the landfill, what if we told you that all those plastic containers can help you achieve a new level of organization zen? While we don't recommend storing food in them anymore (for those of you who haven't heard: these plastic food storage containers often have BPA or phthalates in them, which can leach into your food over time and cause all sorts of health problems), we also don't think you have to throw them away.

So, what can you do? We have 6 great suggestions for you to repurpose those containers throughout your home.



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Roundups

6 Non-Toxic and Plastic-Free Shampoos

We found 5 shampoo bars and 1 refillable option

We've had a lot of asks for products with sustainable packaging. We heard you! Sustainable, non-toxic, well-reviewed products are actually harder to find than you think. Who knew? But we did a ton of research and found some great options! We searched high and wide and found these 5 non-toxic shampoo bars and one refillable shampoo that comes in an aluminum bottle. These shampoo products are a great way to reduce your plastic consumption without compromising on safe ingredients. A win-win in our book for the planet and your health!

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