EWG News and Analysis
The latest from EWG’s staff of experts >>
Fourth of July Made Fun and Safer With EWG
Does your family head to the beach every Fourth of July? Host friends and family for a picnic? Watch the sunset until the fireworks start? Whatever your particular tradition, EWG has you covered when it comes to celebrating the holiday safely and in good health.
Check out our tips below and take advantage of the resources put together by our experts, so you and your family can have fun without the worry.
Firing up the grill? Before you head to the grocery store, check out EWG’s resources on the healthiest foods, the cleanest produce, and the safest and most humanely produced meat and dairy. While you’re shopping, pay special attention to a barbecue staple: hot dogs. To avoid nitrates and nitrites, which can cause cancer, choose natural hot dogs, or select a different protein. You can also make safe, healthy menu planning even easier with EWG’s Healthy Living App, which lets you check right in the store how well a product rates.
Ensuring that your holiday meal is safe as well as fun doesn’t end with the menu planning. Avoid charring meat to decrease your risk of cancer, and use a food thermometer to make sure it’s fully cooked so you keep safe from food-borne illnesses such as E. coli.
Soaking up the sun? Your first defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation is to limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., wear protective clothing and stay in the shade as much as possible. It’s also essential to choose the right sunscreen and apply it according to the directions. The latest science says the safest and most effective sunscreen active ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Pick up one of EWG's best-rated sunscreens, which all meet our criteria for safety and efficacy and would likely meet the new standards from the Food and Drug Administration. Stick to lotions instead of sprays, and a liberal amount every two hours and whenever you come out of the water.
If you’re headed to a lake, make sure to follow the guidelines above for sun protection, and beware too of algae blooms. They’re actually bacteria that can quickly take over a lake, and although they can be harmless, there are also toxic varieties. Check out EWG’s algae bloom map or research the lake before you go, and follow the guidelines in this video to recognize and avoid potentially toxic algae blooms.
Visit from friends or family
Who doesn’t do a little last-minute cleaning to impress dinner guests or out-of-town family? Visit EWG’s guide to cleaners and air fresheners to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. If you’re picking up a new product, use our database to help you find a healthier option.
Like a lot of people, you may be taking advantage of the holiday and skipping town. Whether you head north to beat the heat or south to the beach, check the quality of the local tap water. Use EWG’s Tap Water Database to learn which contaminants are detected in the water above EWG’s health standards, and make sure you also check out this tip sheet on water safety while traveling.
Catching the fireworks? Hiking? Just hanging out in a park? This holiday, avoid annoying bites from ticks and mosquitoes, which are potential carriers of disease. Use EWG’s advice for keeping the bugs away from you and your family, and pick out a safe and effective bug repellent using our guide.
Using EWG’s resources and easy tips, you and your family can celebrate the Fourth of July your way – without the stress. Have a fun, safe holiday!