The Ins and Outs of the Think Dirty App and Other Similar Apps
If you are an avid shopper, you know that it can sometimes be difficult to tell just from looking at a product, whether it is good for you or not. Many companies use clever tactics to grab your attention and make it seem like you are getting a great and healthy product, when in fact you are not. That is where the Think Dirty App comes in. This app will allow you to scan the bar code of any product and give you the run down of whether or not this product is good for your body. But are the results it gives you really accurate? Or is this just another fear mongering app designed to make it seem like everything you touch is bad. Let's find out.
How It Works
How the Think Dirty App works is pretty cool. You can scan any product that they support and it will give you the run down of what that product is made of. There are three sections that it gives you. The dirty meter, ingredients, and cleaner options. The dirty meter outlines 3 major areas of concern. Carcinogenicity, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity, and Allergencity and Immunotoxicity. It will give you a 0-10 score, with 0 being the cleanest and 10 being the most toxic to your body.
The second section of the Think Dirty App is the ingredients. Here it will focus on the chemical ingredients and gives you a color coordinated rating system to tell you whether it is clean or toxic. Green being the cleanest, yellow being half n half, and red being dirty. The app gives you the list and places the red ingredients at the top and the green ingredients at the bottom. This way you can easily and quickly tell if the product is going to be safe to use.
Lastly, you have the cleaner options, or "you may also love" section. This section easily lays out a list of cleaner products like the one you just scanned in. This way, you can keep an eye out for the products that are great for your body and the ones that are not.
Besides the core operating features of the Think Dirty App, there is a bunch more that you can do with this app. It's main feature is the ability to scan the bar code of a product and lay out the quality of the product right in front of you. However, you can also search for specific products as well. Say you are scrolling through your social media and you just saw an add for a new green shampoo. You can search Think Dirty's database for that product. If they have it, it will give you the same information as it would if you scanned the product. This way you can quickly check out if that new product is safe or if it is just marketing gimmicks.
Along with the search option, after you either scan or search for a product, there are additional things you can do from there as well. If you find the product to your liking, you can like that product and each product will have a certain number of likes on it so you can tell how many people like that specific product, list that product, which adds it to your list of products you want, and "my bathroom shelf" which allows you to save products that you currently own. All of these features are great because it allows you and others to easily maintain which products they have, want, or others really like. Basically a simple way to resource manage on the fly. It also saves you the hassle of trying to remember which products you have tried already and which you have not.
Think Dirty App's Database
There are a lot of products that the Think Dirty App has in its database. While I could not find an exact number, new products are being added all of the time. Not to mention, you can even add products yourself. If you are using the app and come across a product that they have not checked out yet, you can add that into their database and someone behind the scenes will get to work on that product.
As for the products they do have in their database, it is pretty expansive. You can search for any product in the range of makeup, perfumes and fragrances, cleansers, shower and bath products, toothpaste and oral care, nail polish and care, eye care products, men's products, and mother and baby products. And of course, all of them have their own sub categories and so on and so forth. Overall, you can trust that the Think Dirty App is, well, getting their hands dirty and reviewing all of the products you hold near and dear to you.
Where does Think Dirty App Get Information?
This is probably one of the most important questions to ask from a smartphone app. Where do they actually get all of their information? According to their FAQ on their website, they get their information from manifacturers, product packages, and their websites. That is fairly obvious but what about the information regarding the ratings? Well, they have an answer for that as well. They cross-references ingredient information with lists of prohibited ingredients from government and non-profit health and environmental groups. Unfortunately, due to lack of government regulations, most of the lists are guidelines only and are backed by scientific studies with abstracts which are available to the public. So basically, the people behind the scenes at the Think Dirty app look through whatever information they can find, scientific information, and give you an easily accessible version of the results they find.
Issues with the Think Dirty App
No product is absolutely perfect. While this app tries to do its best, it has a few shortcomings that should be addressed.
- There is lack of context about the company policies.
- Information isn't accurate because of the current scoring methodology.
- Brands that fully disclose ingredients are compared with some companies that are not disclosing all of their ingredients.
- Some of the ingredients in Think Dirty score high (the range is 0-10, 10 being a “high hazard”) because of one or more studies indicating that they may be allergens. While individuals with allergies may have reactions to certain ingredients, that doesn’t mean those ingredients are necessarily 'unsafe' to the general population.
- Other ingredients score high because they may contain impurities. But companies can obtain certificates of purity from suppliers to ensure that ingredients are not contaminated- which isn't taken into account in the Think Dirty score.
- Preservatives also score high, and to some extent this is understandable, as preservatives are meant to kill microorganisms. But companies that use water in their products have to use preservatives, usually in very small amounts (about 1% of each total product). Think Dirty doesn't take into account the percentage and functional need for these ingredients in some products. (After all, not using preservatives poses a health risk.) It also unintentionally incentivizing cosmetics companies to hide the high-scoring ingredients from ingredient lists. This does not protect consumers’ health or move the market toward safer, more transparent ingredient choices.
The Think Dirty App is not the only one of its kind. There are many other apps that try to do the same thing. Some focus on different products, others focus on a select group of products, and some are just general search apps. Here are five similar apps that can also give you an edge on your health.
- Dirty Dozen- This app focuses on fruits and veggies. Using this app, it will help you figure out which fruits and veggies are most important to buy organic. Because with some food products, it does not matter whether or not they are organic.
- Cosmetifique- Ever want to really find out if your beauty products are good for you or not? This app will help with that. Cosmetifique will help you see what ingredients are in the cosmetics you buy and whether or not they are good.
- Detox Me- Here is an app that helps you to make daily, small changes at home to help you reduce the chemicals you and your family are exposed to each day. The various topics that Detox Me includes are clothing, personal care, cleaning, food, and home.
- EWG's Healthy Living- This app works relatively the same as the Think Dirty App. You can scan a product and see how EWG rated it. The EWG database consists of more than 80,000 foods, 5,000 ingredients, and 1,500 brands.
- Good Guide-This is a fast and easy way to find safe, green and ethical products. You can scan any product you find and this app will help you find a greener product, or tell you if this product is green enough for you.
While these apps may not be 100% accurate all of the time, the intentions are good. The Think Dirty App is one of the best and most trusted green product apps on the market. If you think it may help you, you can find it on either Google Play or the App Store. For more information, check out the rest of Green and Growing.
Image Source: Elite Physiques