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Seventh Generation

You may have heard of the Dirty Dozen — 12 chemicals that activists have identified as potentially harmful that we regularly come in contact with in our home, health, and beauty products.

Over the past decade, a lot of science and research has gone into figuring out the long- and short-term health effects of products we use in our homes and on our bodies. The jury is still out on most of them, but some of the findings are worth a closer look.

In 2010, Canada's David Suzuki Foundation did a study on the 12 chemicals and compounds they felt consumers should try to avoid. Since the study was published, some governments have banned some of the chemicals and some companies are reformulating their products so they don't contain them.

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Mozilla
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Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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