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What All Those Certifications on Mattresses Actually Mean

Label Education: Decoding what GOTS, GOLS, Greenguard, Organic, and more mean

Choosing the right mattress is so important for sound sleep and health, yet with so many options the shopping can be confusing and stressful! Obviously you want to take comfort and pricing into consideration, but there are some chemical ingredients you might want to consider too. Standard synthetic foam mattresses can contain various harmful chemicals we don't want to be sleeping on. And these chemicals can evaporate into the air, or collect in house dust, which is yucky and no good for your family's health.

The great news is that there are a bunch of healthier alternatives, and these labels below can help you find them. We also have a roundup of 12 non-toxic mattress brands if you just want a quick guide to organic mattresses and natural mattresses you can buy.

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Life

Introducing the Label Education Series

We wandered stores looking for labels and certifications and tell you what they really mean

Have you ever seen labels, certification, and statements on everything from your eggs and coffee to your mattress and clothing and wondered, what does that mean? Things that say organic might feel pretty common, but what about things saying they are grass fed, or GOTS certified What about packaging saying it's biobased? Should that be something you care about, or maybe not? It can all be overwhelming and a little confusing. Don't worry, we've got you covered.

We spent hours shopping at stores like Safeway, Target, Trader Joe's, Walmart, Whole Foods, and a Co-op store to look for what labels are out there. We looked around quite a bit. We turned boxes upside down, looked under cushions, and checked products you might not think to examine like carpet cleaner, canned tuna, baby products, and even toilet paper. Seriously, we've got you covered.

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Home

Label Education: Cleaning

Natural, organic, safer choice, we break it all down for you

When it comes to household cleaning, we are big fans of creative ways to use baking soda, vinegar, and liquid soap. But, we get it, sometimes you might need to buy a cleaning product (because it's just more convenient, or serves a more specific purpose). With so many confusing all natural and green claims, how can you be sure that what you're buying is really better for your health or the environment? Quick answer: check out our healthy cleaning products roundups like for all purpose cleaners or bathroom cleaners, or look for products with the certifications below! More products than ever, including from common brands like Seventh Generation, Method, and even Green Works from Clorox, are certified and are easy to find.

If you want to learn more about common claims and terms you'll see on cleaning products (like biodegradable or plant-based) and what they mean, we've decoded them for you too. A quick tip is to always look to see if the bolded signal words Caution, Warning, Danger, or Poison are on the label. Opt for Caution, or even better, no scary words at all, for products that are least likely to cause irritation or harm during use.

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Food

Label Education: Eggs

Helping you determine if you should really be shelling out the big bucks

Eggs are a wonderful thing. They are super versatile and often are a cheap source of protein - not to mention delicious. But, have you ever been super overwhelmed looking at all the claims your egg cartons make? Cage-free, free range, organic...What's the difference? Are some claims better than other?

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Food

Label Education: Dairy

clearing up the difference between grass fed, organic, and California milk

Whether you are just picking up a gallon of milk to pour on your morning cereal or selecting the perfect cheese for your weekend dinner party, knowing what those different labels on your dairy products means can help you make the best choice. And not just on products that come from cows, we looked at the popular milk alternatives and vegan products too. So, no matter what you're grabbing from dairy aisle, we've got you covered.

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Food

Label Education: Seafood

what does it all mean from fresh to frozen to canned seafood

Buying seafood can be tough to navigate. There are so many varieties and many different considerations to make when it comes to choosing the right one: health warnings, how it's caught, if it is sustainable or not. To try and make you next trip to the fish counter a little easier, we pulled together a list of common labels and certifications or programs that can give you a bit of insight into what you are buying.


None of the labels or certifications we talk about here are taking into account things like mercury levels or other toxics. If you are specifically interested in choosing the best seafood to avoid these health concerns, check out this calculator from EWG.
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Food

Label Education: Meat

decoding all those stickers that come on your package of burgers

We know looking at labels can be tough. The meat aisle is always one that is a little confusing. Some cuts of meat have like 15 stickers and certifications on them, others have basically nothing. Do all of those little badges really make a difference for what you are bringing home? We went through FDA definitions (not the most fun job, but someone's gotta do it!) to figure out what each label really means and break it down for you.

You might have to prioritize which labels are most important to you, but now you know what each one means and they are all written down in one place. When we are looking at meat in terms of how what we eat can impact our health, we personally think no nitrates/nitrites and organic or no hormones and no antibiotics top the list.

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