If you see the 'Safer Choice' label at your local market, now you can know what it means.
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Seventh Generation

Bad news, folks. Your house? It's kinda dirty.

But you're not alone. The world is a dirty place, and every time we step into it, we bring home morsels of its muck.


GIF from "Chappelle Show."

As do our housemates.

Image by Nikolas J. Britton/Wikimedia Commons.

And all that dust? That's the dirt we track in, our hair, fibers from carpet, bedding, clothing, and upholstery, food crumbs, dander, bug poo, and who knows what else.

GIF from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

And sometimes we're just clumsy, messy, germ-y people.

Maybe just ... get used to hard-boiled.

That's why we clean. But we don't just do it to keep our homes sightly. It's also good for our health.

There are billions of bacteria living in our homes — some potentially harmful. And they love gettin' cozy on the surfaces we come into contact with the most.

Photo by Rachel Zack/Flickr.

Cleaning doesn't just protect us from disease-causing germs — it can even boost our health.

An Indiana University study revealed links between home cleanliness and physical fitness. Researchers found that the tidier the participant's home, the more likely they were to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

Ironically, a lot of the products we use to clean are potential health hazards.

It can be hard to determine at times because under current law, companies that make cleaning products don't have to print full ingredient lists on their packaging.

Photo by Maz Ali/Upworthy.

You can squint your way through tinily printed precautions, but vague references to "other ingredients" aren't very helpful with choices about our health or the environmental impacts of our cleaning products.

The EPA thought we needed a better way to find safer cleaning products. So they started their own label.

Yes, like the Berry Gordy of the cleaning aisle, they scouted top talent from both environmental groups and conscious companies in the industry to launch Safer Choice.

Image via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/YouTube.

The Safer Choice label means every single ingredient in the product was reviewed by EPA scientists and cleared as being safer for public health and the environment.

They don't only evaluate products for chemical toxicity. The agency's criteria also covers labeling transparency, energy- and water-saving potential, packaging sustainability, and even products' ability to make a long-term positive difference.

Image via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/YouTube.

Oh, and seeing as how they're cleaning agents, they also test them for performance so consumers can get exactly what they expect.

Sure, cleaning's a chore. But if we can do it without potential risks to our health or the planet, well, that's worth a little jig.

So fresh. So clean.

Watch a quick primer on the EPA's Safer Choice label:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Jimivr / Flickr and Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Actress Billie Lourd paid tribute to her late mother Carrie Fisher on Tuesday by sharing a photo of her son Kingston watching Fisher as Princess Leia in 1977's "Star Wars: A New Hope."

Kingston was born last September to Lourd and her fiancé, actor Austen Rydell. The infant is pictured wearing a knitted hat with buns on its side and a Leia-themed onesie.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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