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An app that tells you the health of the products you use

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  September 21, 2012 03:00 AM

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By Elizabeth Comeau
Boston.com Staff

Reviewing: Good Guide
By: The Good Guide
Available on: Android, iPhone
Price: Free
Should you get it? Yes

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Being the health and wellness producer here makes me keenly aware of the possible impacts harsh chemicals can have on your system (think the risks associated with BPA and things of the like.)

So when I found out that one of my favorite sources for checking the environmental and health impact of products on the web had developed an app, I had to check it out.

GuideAgain.jpgThe Good Guide rates products and companies on a 0-10 scale (0 being the worst for you and 10 being the best) based on various factors the company judges to calculate the rating, such as if the products are safe to consume and the companies are socially responsible.

The app's interface looks just like the web site - only on a much smaller scale. You can type in the name of the product to see its rating, or you can search by category to find the best of a certain type of product you are looking for (such as sunscreen). But by far the coolest feature of the app is the barcode scanner.

The scanner allows you to use your phone's camera to scan an item you are curious about. Once it has scanned the item, it will automatically pull up its rating.

So, for example, when I was recently looking for a new sunscreen for my toddler, I was feeling completely overwhelmed in the baby aisle. Which brand did I want? Which of the sunscreens had more natural ingredients?

I grabbed a bottle, flipped it over to find the barcode, scanned it, and up popped its rating: a 4.5 out of 10. Not bad, but not great. I moved on. When I found one that was a 7.7, I knew that was the one I was taking home.

Finding out all the data on the companies' green practices, the chemicals in the products, and the processes involved in making the products would have taken me hours at home doing all sorts of research. With the scanner, it took about two minutes.

Once you find the product you are looking for, you can see alternatives to that product, which is helpful if your store doesn't have the EXACT brand you want. You also can see a list of ingredients, and you can read about what made up the product's positive or negative rating.

I highly recommend this app for someone looking to learn as much data as they can about the products they use in an easy-to-digest way.

About Apptitude Test blogger Kathryn Cartini

Born to challenge the "status quo," with three older brothers Kathryn's first story was probably a tattle, a skill she managed to turn into a career in broadcasting. Now as a communications specialist and CEO of Peacock Media, Kathryn continues #SharingStories that grow businesses and inspire others to follow their hearts in work and life, herself included. More »

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