Work can be crazy, and working through lunch almost feels expected at many offices. But, if you can actually take a break, even just a few times a week, it can make a big difference for your physical, mental, and social well-being. Here are some of the top benefits of not eating at your desk.
Breaking Down the Science and Ways to Limit Harmful Exposures
Trying to get pregnant should be an exciting time of planning for the next stage of your life, not one full of doctors visits, constant testing, and worrying about body temperatures. But, if you and your partner are struggling with infertility, you are not alone. According to the CDC about 12% of women have impaired fecundity, which is another way of saying that they are having difficulty getting or staying pregnant (1) [there are no statistics on infertility in men, but there is science showing that overall sperm count is decreasing(14)]. And, the science is clear, environmental factors definitely impact reproductive health - for both men and women. Some of the biggest impacts come from air pollution, pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemicals (2), which are in all sorts of products and affect the way hormones interact with your body.
Here's why chemicals might be keeping you from shedding those last few pounds
If you're eating healthy, getting lots of sleep, but just can't seem to hit a healthy weight, it might be something you've never thought about. Obesogens, a term coined in 2006 to refer to chemicals that cause us to gain and hold on to weight, and can influence weight loss. Now, we know that maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is influenced by what seems like a bajillion factors, and is a complicated issue with no easy solution. But, it looks like obesogens are a piece of the puzzle and definitely something you want to be aware about. Data shows that obesity is an increasing problem. Over one-third of both adults and children in the U.S. are obese or overweight (1, 5). Even for people who regularly work out or have superhuman strength to say no to desserts, obesogens are having an impact. Unfortunately, as obesogen research is in its early stages, we still don't know everything about these chemicals and how they affect weight gain, but as of now, here's what we do know.
Why a non-toxic crib mattress is really worth it
Setting up your nursery is one of the most fun (and adorable!) parts of nesting. It means you have the opportunity to design a whole room of tiny baby items that will be full of baby's firsts. While that's exciting, we also know filling a nursery with everything a baby needs can be tough on the budget. And on top of that, if you're trying to go non-toxic and eco-friendly, it isn't always easy on your wallet. So, if you are going to prioritize one thing to spend a little extra on that will dramatically reduce the amount of chemicals around your newborn, make it the crib mattress. We looked at the research and found that getting a non-toxic, crib mattress is definitely worth it.
Totally doable, even if you're sleep deprived
First of all, congratulations! You're probably more in love than you've ever been and also more sleep deprived than you've ever been. Don't worry. You got this. And we're here to help you.
You already know this, cause you're a parent, but research confirms that babies grow super fast and are sensitive to things in their environment. Because of that, there are some decisions that impact them more than they do us full size humans. So, we've narrowed it down to the 3 easiest changes you can make that will help you create a non-toxic environment and keep your baby safe during this special time. We promise that even on only 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, they are all totally doable and have been shown to positively impact the health of your growing baby.
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.
Which certifications to look for when buying electronics
We all know that it's smart to choose gadgets and electronics that use less energy, and EPA's EnergyStar label makes that easy to do. But what about the other environmental impacts of your electronics, which can contain toxic chemicals like heavy metals, flame retardants, and plasticizers? Many of the chemicals are enclosed and won't harm you, but some chemicals can escape out. Dr. Todd Whitehead, an investigator at UC Berkeley's Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE), says: "For a lot of people like me who work in an office all day, you're getting exposed to chemicals from the computer hardware that you are working with, like keyboards and the mouse. They have flame-retardants on them. People have done experiments where they have looked at the frequency of hand washing and levels of flame-retardants in people's blood. You can see that people who wash their hands more frequently have lower concentrations of those chemicals."
But don't worry! There are thousands of products available that contain safer chemicals that are better for your health and are also better for the environment. And, you can find them easily by looking for the labels below while shopping or by searching online databases, which we've linked to.When you're ready to ditch a gadget that no longer works and isn't repairable, remember to recycle it so that the chemicals inside don't end up polluting the environment. Many electronics manufacturers and retailers will take items back for free, and if that's not an option for you, you can find a recycler near you on Basel Action Network's e-Stewards website. These recyclers adhere to the highest global standard for environmental and social responsibility and are worth supporting. Good luck, and enjoy using products that you can feel good about because they are healthier for you and your family, workers, and the environment!
a) EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool)
What is it? Global rating system for greener electronics developed by the Green Electronics Council. Rated consumer products include PCs and laptops, displays, tablets, cell phones, printers, copiers, scanners, and TVs. Over 4000 products from over 60 manufacturers have been rated. You can read details on the criteria and find rated products on the site.
Environmental Health: For chemical components, products must comply with the European RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electronics), which bans certain chemicals, and there are additional restrictions depending on the type of product. Environmental criteria address the full product lifecycle, from design and production to energy use and recycling. Three levels of ratings (Gold, Silver, Bronze) depending on the number of criteria met.
What is it? Global certification system for IT products designed to drive social and environmental responsibility throughout the product life cycle. Certified products include laptops, desktops, displays, tablets, cell phones, projectors, and headsets. Over 2800 products from 20 brands are certified. Products showing superior performance in certain sustainability criteria can receive an additional "TCO Certified Edge" certification. You can read an overview of the criteria, dig deeper into the criteria, and find certified products.
Environmental Health: Chemical restrictions exceed that of the European RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electronics) and are specific to product categories. Social criteria include worker protections, public conflict minerals policies, and health and safety for users, including ergonomic factors and reductions in noise emissions. Environmental criteria address the full product lifecycle and include manufacturing, recycled and recyclable materials, availability of replacement parts, and take-back from manufacturers at end-of-life.
c) UL ECOLOGO
What is it? Global, primarily North American, certification system using life cycle–based standards for reduced environmental impact. Certified electronic products include cell phones, PCs, laptops, monitors, tablets, printers and printer inks, and copiers. There is a joint ECOLOGO/EPEAT certification for cell phones. (UL also certifies a wide range of products for safety and performance, not including environmental criteria. These are marked with a black circle containing the letters UL. For ECOLOGO, be sure to look for the green labels to the left.) Read details on the standards for specific product types (account creation required). Search for certified products (go to "view all" in "product category" and select Electronics).
Environmental Health: For chemical components, products must comply with the European RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electronics), which bans certain chemicals, and there may be additional restrictions depending on the type of product. Standards address criteria in some or all of the following: materials; energy; manufacturing and operations; health and environment; product performance and use; and product stewardship and innovation. Achievement levels (such as Platinum/Certified) vary by product type. Some standards include social criteria, such as for conflict minerals.
Congrats on making your next big #adulting decision! Your first foray into buying a real, large piece of furniture. Now come the big questions: where to look? How much does it really cost? How am I going to get it through the door (or up the stairs)? What color should it be?
One more thing to think about is what might be hiding in the couch. Things like chemicals or toxic substances that might sound like good things, but secretly aren't - like stain resistant fabric and flame-retardants. If you want to cut to the chase, look at our roundup of healthy modern couches you can buy online.