/Roundups

We updated our sunscreen roundup for 2020 with the 10 best reviewed, non-toxic mineral sunscreens we could find. As always, we make sure that our picks are easy to find online and in stores.

Sunscreen in our minds is synonymous with summer and being outside! But there are so many choices, it's hard to know if what you're getting is something that actually works and that you will like. Not to mention that there are some questionable chemicals in sunscreens that are definitely horrible for coral reefs and might be endocrine disruptors that are absorbed through your skin and have been found to circulate in your blood. We'd prefer to stick with mineral sunscreens that basically act like a physical barrier to harmful UV rays.

These picks are great as everyday body and sport sunscreens. We always have one by the door so that every family member loads up before leaving the house. So look for one of our top 10 picks for non-toxic sunscreens the next time your tube is empty. Many of these brands have plenty of options in stick formats, with and without tints, and come in a variety of formulations for everyday wear, sweaty sports and beach days. Any of these are 10 options are safe for kids and babies too, but if you're looking for a specific baby or toddler sunscreen, be sure to check out our best 13 non-toxic baby sunscreen options. We also have a roundup of facial sunscreens that are formulated especially for everyday coverage that protects against wrinkles and spots but won't clog pores.


10 Best Non-Toxic Reef Safe Sunscreens


a) All Good Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 b) Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 c) Badger Clear Zinc Regular and Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 d) Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen e) Bare Republic Mineral SPF 50 Sport Sunscreen Stick f) Block Island Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 g) Jason Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Broad Spectrum h) Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen i) Thinksport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50 j) Two Peas Organics SPF 30 Unscented Mineral Sunscreen



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.

Roundups

A Selection of Better Nail Polishes

For those times you want to add a pop of color to your nails

Updated for 2020!

When most of us think of painting our nails, we picture the perfect color being shiny, glossy, even, and not fading or chipping for weeks. But, in order for nail polish to have all of those magical qualities, they must contain some very special chemicals. While we love a perfect mani-pedi, we know that some of the chemicals are not the best for our health. So, we rounded up a variety of safer nail polishes for you to check out.

You may be familiar with "three-free" polishes, which means the product doesn't contain toluene, formaldehyde, or dibutyl phthalate (DBP). But we wanted even better polish, which is why these products are all between five- and ten-free! But just remember, that these options still contain some basic chemicals common to typical nail polish, so be thoughtful about how often you apply.

We're also included some water based nail polishes. These are typically not designed to last for weeks, but rather a day or two. Water-based nail polishes are great if you are just looking to have polish for a special event or to use during great girls' night in without caring exactly how long they'll look pristine. Plus, some water-based polishes are kid friendly!

What are you waiting for? Pull out the cucumber water and bathrobe and get your salon on.



Better Nail Polishes

a) Aila b) Butter London c) Côte d) Ella and Mila e) Smith & Cult f) Tenoverten g) Zoya

Water-Based Nail Polishes

h) Acquarella i) Piggy Paint j) SOPHi


*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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Roundups

Baby Safe, Non-Toxic Paints for Your Nursery

Cute colors without toxic fumes or chemicals

Decorating a nursery is one of the best parts of waiting for a little one. Whether you're painting just one accent wall or the entire room in just the perfect shade, it's important to pick a paint that not only looks good, but is baby safe. Paint fumes and chemical additives can linger and baby's systems are especially vulnerable and sensitive. Luckily, there are safer paints on the market so that you can feel good about using them so close to where your baby will sleep (we hope!).

Best Practices While Painting

First things first- how to paint. Who paints a room and how the room is painted is super important in protecting your health. If you're currently pregnant, ask your partner or a friend to do the painting for you. You definitely don't need to be exposed to paint fumes while you're still growing a little person. You're doing enough as is! Also make sure there are no toddlers around while painting. Although having a little helper would be really cute, toddlers are in a critical developmental period and are especially susceptible to the negative effects of paint fumes. Plus you probably don't want anything with wet paint on it to become a messy toy!

It's also critical to ventilate as much as you can while painting. Have all windows and doors open and a fan running if possible. Even a box fan in the corner will help! When you're not using the paint (whether it's a small break or overnight), keep the lid sealed securely on the container. This will prevent emissions from escaping while the paint isn't in use.

What to Look for in a Nursery Safe Paint

Now that you know how to paint, which paint should you use? There are a ton of paints on the market right now that all boast different features. Who knew there were so many different paint finishes?! But here's what you really need to be on the lookout for:

  1. Low or Zero VOCs. VOCs are toxic gasses that are released from solids or liquids. Basically they are released when paint dries. You know, the weird new paint smell? Well VOCs can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat but repeated and long term exposure can cause cancer and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system (1). Also, some colors of paint have more VOCs than others, particularly darker pigments, so generally lighter colors have less VOCs.
  2. Look for APE- free paints. Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) are a group of chemicals that are suspected endocrine disruptors (a.k.a these little guys mess up how hormones should normally work in the body) (2). You don't want those around babies or children or when you're breastfeeding. APE-free paint can be found easily, so just ask or look on the label. The ones we recommend are APE-free.
  3. Avoid paints that are advertised as antimicrobial. Many paints contain a preservative, but paints that are advertised as antimicrobial may have other additives that are really just not necessary and there are no standards for efficacy (like does it actually kill harmful germs? And for how long?) It might sound good, but in reality they are also harmful to humans and don't do much (3).

Our Baby Safe Paint Recommendations

Our recommendations will take the guesswork out of choosing a nursery-safe paint brand, although you'll still have to pick the color! These paints are all low or zero VOCs and are free of APEs. The Benjamin Moore Natura, ECOS paint, and AFM Safecoat paints are more traditional latex paints that have great user reviews. We also included 2 options for milk paint, which are made from milk proteins and pigments. Milk paints are a bit more work to use, but are easy to use once you get the hang of it and you can create antique or smooth finishes. They are also great for painting nursery furniture. No matter which paint brand you pick, you can feel safe about using these in a nursery. Just think, in a matter of months you'll have a sweet little one in a picture perfect nursery. So exciting! Let the nesting begin!


Non toxic nursery paints including ECOS, Old Fashioned Milk Paint, Benjamin Moore, AFM, and Real Milk Paint.


a) ECOS paint

b) Old Fashioned Milk Paint

c) Benjamin Moore Natura

d) AFM SAFECOAT® ZERO VOC

e) Real Milk Paint


Roundups

Non-Toxic Dry Shampoo Roundup

You don't have to sacrifice health for convinience!

If we polled a bunch of people on what the best beauty invention of the last decade was, we bet dry shampoo would come out on top. Dry shampoo has spared us from dreaded second day hair, allowed us to go straight from a sweaty spin class to brunch, and just makes getting ready a lot more convenient. Basically, we can't live without it!

But most dry shampoo contains some pretty harmful ingredients, including butane, propane, talc, and fragrance. Talc has been linked to cancer and fragrance can contain dozens of mystery chemicals. And why would we want to put gas we use to grill on our hair?! Gross.

Plus, almost all the dry shampoo you purchase from a big box store is in an aerosol can. Propellants from an aerosol can damage the ozone and can cause some serious environmental damage. And those tiny particles created by aerosol can easily be inhaled while you're applying dry shampoo.

We know it can be difficult to find a good replacement for traditional dry shampoo in an aerosol bottle. That's why we rounded up our favorite products! These dry shampoos are all made from better-for-you ingredients and come in a non-aerosol container.



a) Acure Dry Shampoo, Rosemary & Peppermint

b) Beauty by Earth Dry Shampoo & Volume Powder

c) Captain Blankenship Mermaid Dry Shampoo

d) Hair Dance Dry Shampoo Volume Powder

e) Innersense Organic Beauty Refresh Dry Shampoo

f) Primally Pure Dry Shampoo Light Locks

g) Rahua Voluminous Dry shampoo

Roundups

Non-Toxic Kids' Dinnerware

Alternatives to plastic dishes for your growing kiddos

We know getting kids to eat at meal times can be a challenge, and that a lot of kid-friendly dinnerware is made from melamine. Why is it so hard to find a fun kid dinnerware that isn't made from harmful materials?! We shouldn't have to compromise health for functionality, which is why we rounded up our top 9 melamine free children's dinnerware! These plates, dishes, and utensils are all durable enough to withstand a temper tantrum but are made from safe materials like silicone, stainless steel, or tempered glass. Your kids will love the fun shapes and colors, and you'll love how sturdy they are!

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Roundups

Non-Toxic Yoga Mat Roundup

So many om-azing choices!

If you're sheltering in place and want to take up a new hobby, why not try yoga? It's challenging, requires little space or equipment, and helps you relax! What more do you need!? Plus. there are a lot of free online yoga classes available right now for both kids and adults! We love that the whole family can practice together under one roof.

But what you may not know is that most yoga mats are made from harmful, synthetic material. Our other article goes into more detail about this topic, but to sum it up: yoga mats are made from PVC and PU. And yoga mats break down over time and little bits of harmful material can end up all around your house. Some companies claim to be eco-friendly but still use harmful chemicals like PER, which contains PVC. Nama-stay away from that!

Our yoga mat roundup only features mats made from natural materials (with the exception of recycled water bottles) like jute, cotton, cork, and natural rubber. None of these mats contain harmful chemicals derived from fossil fuels.



a) Jade Yoga Harmony Mat
b) Maduka Eko Yoga Mat
c) Merrithew Natural Rubber and Cork Yoga Mat
d) Repose Yoga Mat
e) Design Lab Yoga Mat


*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.


Roundups

Air Purifier Roundup

Keep your air quality healthy while staying indoors!

Being inside our house for days on end has us thinking a lot about indoor air quality. How do I keep myself healthy while sheltering in place? If you're also worried about indoor air pollutants, it might be a good time to consider buying an air purifier! But there are so many choices out there, how do you know which is best for your house? We did some research and picked our top 6 air purifier choices.

Air purifiers are an easy way to help maintain a healthy indoor air quality. If you experience seasonal allergies or asthma, live in the middle of a big city, are exposed to wildfire smoke, or cook at home a lot, an air purifier might be right for you! Air purifiers are a great tool at protecting your indoor air quality against small particles you can't remove with vacuuming and dusting alone like smoke particles, pet dander, dust, and pollen. Purifiers with a HEPA filter provide even more protection- they're "99.97% efficient for removing particles less than 0.3 microns" (1). Some air purifiers even have a substrate that absorbs VOCs (volatile organic compounds) too! VOCs are released when your gas range is turned on and can also be released from consumer products and furniture. Some VOCs are harmful to your health causing irritation, headaches, damage to organs, and some are carcinogenic.

There are a few things to consider before choosing an air filter, including:

- Make sure the air purifier doesn't generate ozone. While these machines were thought to be effective, they actually cause more indoor air pollution.

- Determine the number of air purifiers and size you need. The product description of an air purifier should say the square footage one purifier can cover. Some larger rooms may need more than one purifier or a purifier with a larger capacity. Many of our picks are offered in models that cover a larger or smaller square footage.

- Check how long one filter lasts. Every air purifier is different, and some filters may last longer than others! It's also a good idea to check filter prices before committing to a specific model.

- Follow manufacturer instructions to clean or buy new air filters when necessary to ensure that your air purifier continues to work properly.

Below are our top air purifier picks:



a) Austin Air Healthmate

b) Coway AP 1512 Mighty

c) Blueair Blue Pure 411

d) Alen Breathesmart Classic

e) Honeywell HPA300

f) AirDoctor

*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.

References:

1. https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/acdsumm.pdf

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9 Veggies You Can Grow Indoors

Gourmet dinners with fresh veggies and no more plastic herb packets are in your future

What's better than having an indoor plant baby? How about one that gives you food? Since we are all spending more time at home these days and making less trips to the grocery store, it's a perfect time to try your hand at some indoor veggies that you can grow in your windowsill. Plus this is a great project to do with kids if you are homeschooling them due to COVID-19 school closures. Some ideas include helping plant and water the seeds, writing down weekly observations, measuring and drawing the vegetables as they grow, and finally learning to cook with them. Here are our suggestions for 9 veggies and herbs that are easy to grow inside and are useful to have on hand.

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