Gay’s Glossary of Green


ALKALINE: Alkaline solutions are basic and therefore possess the opposite properties of acids. Many ionic minerals found in natural water sources, such as magnesium (Mg2+) and calcium (Ca++) are alkalizing and raise the pH of water above seven. There is evidence to support that drinking ionized, alkaline water is beneficial to human health.

ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE: A western school of medicine that uses a systems-based approach to cure illness by addressing the patient’s symptoms.

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: Energy from sources that do not deplete natural resources, such as solar, wind, biomass, or geothermal energy sources.

ALTERNATIVE FUELS: Vehicle fuels that are non-petroleum based, including biodiesel, ethanol, electricity, and hydrogen.

ANTIBIOTIC FREE: Farmers have historically used antibiotics to prevent or treat existing disease in their livestock. However, the widespread, unnecessary use of preventative antibiotic treatment in livestock is increasingly threatening to public health. Products that are labeled “antibiotic free” or “raised without antibiotics” (several variations of this label exist) suggest to the consumer that the meat or poultry in question was never treated with antibiotics during its lifetime. While numerous labels may claim a product is “antibiotic free”, only one of these variations “no antibiotics added” is enforced or sanctioned by the USDA.

ANTIOXIDANTS: Natural or synthetic compounds that reduce human cell damage through neutralizing oxygen free radicals (a natural byproduct of cellular respiration). Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of antioxidants.

ARTIFICIALLY COLORED: Synthetic colors or dyes are often added to food products in order to make them more appealing, distinguishable, or to achieve a color similar to what the food looked like before processing. Artificial dyes can be found in many grocery store products, especially baked or processed goods, as well as fish and meat products. Color additives must be certified as safe to ingest by the FDA before being used commercially. Still the safety of several of these chemical additives is questionable and numerous color additives have been banned in the past for their carcinogenic effects such as Quinoline Yellow (Yellow #10) and Red #4.

ASPARTAME: An artificial sweetener (also known as Equal* and NutraSweet*) that is believed to be toxic in high amounts.

BIOACCUMULATION: The process by which toxins such as Mercury, pesticides, PBC’s, and dioxins build up in fish and other seafood products. When a larger fish eats smaller contaminated fish, it retains the toxins present in the smaller fish and the process continues on until the fish at the top of the food chain has accumulated a high density of toxins. As humans, we are at the top of the food chain, and therefore we ingest all of the chemicals that have built up in our seafood products.

BIOCIDE: Either a natural or synthetic chemical or microorganism used to control or render other biological means; a pesticide, antimicrobial, disinfectant, preservative, or others.

BIODEGRADABLE: Materials that are capable of being broken down by natural processes, such as decomposition by microorganisms and fungi, and reabsorbed back into the environment are biodegradable.

BIODIESEL: An alternative fuel derived from biological sources. Biodiesel is usually produced from virgin or recycled vegetable oils. Biodiesel is cleaner option than petrol-diesel because it releases less carbon monoxide, aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulate matter (soot) upon combustion.

BIODYNAMIC: A farming method whose modern practice began about seventy years ago that uses basic organic farming practices with the addition of special plant, animal, and mineral soil preparations. Bio-dynamic farmers strive to follow the rhythms of the Earth and its seasons in order to create a self-supporting, harmonic ecosystem.

BPA: BPA, short for Bisphenol A, is a chemical utilized in the production of plastics that have been found to have a toxic effect on the brain and nervous system. Research into the safety of exposure to BPA in small amounts is ongoing.

CAGE-FREE: The term “cage-free” is typically used in reference to the housing conditions of egg-laying hens that are utilized in mass production. Cage-free systems arose as a more humane alternative to the battery cage systems that have served as the industry standard for housing hens for years. When the public became aware of the cruel and torturous nature of battery cage systems, farmers began to adopt more humane cage-free containment models. While cage-free systems are not regulated by any governing agency and do not necessarily allow hens access to the outdoors, nor ensure the animals are treated without cruelty, the hens contained in cage-free systems are at least afforded enough space to stretch their wings, walk, perch, and otherwise act naturally.

CARBON BLACK: A powder that may be found in eyeliner and other makeup products that is considered toxic and possibly carcinogenic. This compound also goes by the name of acetylene black, channel black, D & C black no. 2, and furnace black.

CARBON FOOTPRINT: Calculating the “carbon footprint” of an individual, family, or company is one way to quantify the amount of carbon waste that they produce in the form of greenhouse gases, primarily Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gas, both directly and indirectly on an annual basis. A “carbon footprint” is typically measured in tons of CO2 per unit of time and is a useful measure in considering our personal impact, or the impact of a larger entity, on the environment. Key contributors include transportation, electricity use, and diet.

CARBON MONOXIDE GAS: A tasteless, odorless gas that is highly toxic to human life and a natural byproduct of petrol combustion. Carbon monoxide gas is also used as an additive to commercially sold fish, because the gas slows the natural discoloration of the product, making the fish appear fresh for longer.

CARBON OFFSET: While modern daily life necessitates the production of a certain amount of carbon waste, one way to remediate the amount of carbon dioxide produced (also known as one’s carbon footprint) is to invest time and/or resources in projects dedicated to improving global environmental health. These environmentally-positive projects include such endeavors as rainforest restoration or protection, planting trees, or promoting the development of new renewable energy plants or resources. Investment in these projects with the aim of “making up for” carbon emissions is referred to as a “carbon offset” and is one way of moving toward carbon neutrality.

CARCINOGEN: A substance or chemical that promotes the development or growth of cancerous cells.

CASEIN: A protein found in milk.

CHLOROFLUOROCARBONS (CFCS): A class of chemicals frequently used in the production of aerosols among other commercial products. While these compounds are relatively safe as they are meant to be used, upon reaching the upper atmosphere, CFCs rapidly destroy ozone through a natural chemical reaction.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY: A new way of approaching economic growth that seeks to reduce the consumption and subsequent waste of precious resources by focusing instead on renewable energy, recycling or repurposing products that are already in circulation, and returning the planet to a more sustainable state.

COLD-PRESSED: The process of “cold-pressing” juice, nut butters, or oils is unique among processing or juicing methods in that it minimally alters the nutrient composition of the final product. Because a cold-press juicer or strainer gently grinds or “chews” produce, it is able to separate the plant fiber (which is tough and chewy) from the rest of the plant cell contents. This means that essential nutrients, enzymes, sugars, and vitamins originally present in the produce are far less likely to be damaged than if subjected to other common juicing methods (that require sharp blades or heat) and will remain in the final product. As the name suggests, “cold-press” methods do not use heat to extract additional juice or oil. Therefore the final product remains truly raw and its proteins are not subjected to heat, ensuring that enzymes are still “live” or functional.

CONVENTIONALLY GROWN: Produce that is grown with the use of pesticides, or other chemicals.

DEMETER CERTIFIED: Demeter International is a nonprofit organization that seeks to heal the environment by supporting biodynamic farmers and their products.

DIOXINS (POLYCHLORINATED DIBENZODIOXINS): A group of toxic chemicals that are byproducts of burning waste, as well as forest fires (as well as other processes), and are persistent in the environment (do not decompose). According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dioxins have a toxic effect on human systems and are known carcinogens.

DIRECT TRADE: Though not a formal certification, direct trade is a term often used when coffee roasters buy beans directly from farmers. Boutique roasters and coffee shops create these direct relationships in order to improve farmer profits and to gain better control of crop quality and farming methods.

EMFS: Electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, are invisible energy fields that arise as a natural consequence of using electricity. EMF radiation can be either non-ionizing (non-harmful to humans) or ionizing (harmful to humans).

ENDOCRINE DISRUPTOR: Any chemical that interferes with the endocrine system, which produces and regulates all hormones in the body. Endocrine disruptors come in many forms and can be found in food, plastic, and other products that we come into contact with every day. They have the potential to cause damage to human health as well as the health of wildlife and the environment.

ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP (EWG): A nonprofit organization that seeks to create a healthier world and environment through education, awareness, and research initiatives.

ENRICHED: When foods are “enriched” it means that certain essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, are added back into the product after its natural nutrients have been stripped away by processing. Despite enrichment, these processed foods often lack whole nutrition necessary for health. This method is often applied to wheat or other products made of grain, such as bread, cereal, or other flour products.

EXTRA-VIRGIN: Oils that are cold-pressed, free of chemical additives, and haven’t been heated above 27 degrees Celsius during processing, are considered extra-virgin. Olive oils are held to additional standards in the US that require the free fatty acid content of the product to be at or below 0.5 percent.

FAIRTRADE: The fair trade initiative seeks to help farmers in the developing world get a fair price for their crops and helps to maintain humane working conditions, agricultural traditions, and ecological diversity.

FARM-RAISED (AQUACULTURE): In the context of modern food production, “farm-raised” most commonly refers to artificial cultivation of seafood for human consumption. In general, fish-farming operations cultivate a captive population of whichever species they intend to farm, among the most common are salmon and tilapia, by breeding, artificially feeding, and eventually harvesting the farmed species within a wired or netted area of coastal ocean or other large body of water. This method of farm-raising seafood products, also referred to as “aquaculture,” has grown in popularity in recent years due to the decline of natural and wild resources available to an ever growing consumer market.

FDA: The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a governmental agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that seeks to ensure a safe and reliable food supply for the United States, as well as to oversee the development and approval of new and existing pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

FORMALDEHYDE: A well-known human carcinogen that is found in many commercial products from nail polish to plywood.

FORTIFIED: Foods that are fortified have certain vitamins and minerals added to them that were not initially in the food before processing. Common examples of food fortification are the addition of Vitamin D to milk and folate to flour products.

FREE-RANGE: The term free-range (as it is used in food labeling) applies specifically to poultry raised in the United States, and is under the regulation of the USDA. In order to be free-range compliant, poultry farmers must allow their birds “access” to the outdoors. However neither the amount nor quality of “outdoor time” allowed to the birds is specified by the USDA. Because this definition is quite vague in its wording, free-range poultry can generally be considered more humane, although it is difficult to determine to what degree due to the lack of detailed regulation.

FUNGICIDE: A chemical compound which is also called an antimycotic; a substance used to kill the growth of fungi. See biocide.

FURAN (POLYCHLORINATED DIBENZOFURAN): A member of the dioxin family of toxins that is carcinogenic.

GLUTEN: A class of proteins found in many grains, and a variety of other foods, that help the plant maintain its shape. Common sources of gluten include, but are not limited to, bread, pasta, cereal, baked goods and food products made of wheat flour, barley, and rye.

GMO (GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM): Any organism that has had its genetic makeup artificially altered may be considered a “GMO” or genetically modified organism. However, this term is most commonly used in reference to produce or other food products that originate from genetically altered crops or seeds. One way that farmers and scientists have collaborated to promote crop yield over the past several decades is through the development of genetically modified seeds capable of resisting traditional plights, such as insect infestation. By inserting desirable genes into the seeds of the crops that are to be cultivated through recombinant DNA technology (or “gene-splicing”), such as resistance to a certain pesticide, these crops are able to survive the administration of pesticides that would otherwise kill the plant. In this way, farmers are able to eliminate pests that would potentially reduce their crop yield without damaging the produce itself. Among the most common GMO crops grown in the U.S. are soy, canola, and corn.

GRAINS: Members of the grains group include (but are not limited to) wheat, barley,rice, oats, and cornmeal. Grain products, such as bread, can be made with either whole grain (unprocessed, original nutrients intact) or refined grains, which have had their natural fiber, iron, and vitamins removed.

GRASSFED: According to the American Grassfed Association (AGA), the criteria for livestock to be considered grass fed are that the animals have eaten only grass after an initial weaning stage, have never been given artificial hormones or antibiotics, and have been raised with enough room to naturally graze and roam.

GRAY WATER: Any water that has been used in the home, except water from toilets, is called graywater. Dish, shower, sink, and laundry water comprise 50 to 80 percent of residential “waste” water that may be used for other purposes, such as landscape irrigation, and can significantly reduce the use of fresh water.

GREENHOUSE GASES: A collective term for gases whose chemical properties allow them to trap heat in the atmosphere as they absorb infrared light creating the “greenhouse effect.” Methane, carbon dioxide, and fluorocarbons are all common examples of greenhouse gases.

HEAVY METALS: Dense, metallic elements that are naturally found in the Earth’s crust but are toxic or poisonous to humans in relatively low concentrations. Several common heavy metals that humans may be exposed to through water, food products, and the environment are mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), arsenic (Ar), chromium (Cr), and lead (Pb).

HERBICIDE: A chemical agent used to kill or inhibit the growth of vegetation. (See biocide.)

HOMEOPATHIC: A holistic approach to medicine that aims to treat the whole person, as opposed to only treating the area exhibiting symptoms, with natural remedies.

HORMONE FREE: Another farming practice that has come under scrutiny in recent years is the administration of hormones to livestock in order to increase their rate of growth and, in the case of dairy cows, their milk production. While the USDA prohibits the use of hormones in raising poultry and pork, cattle and dairy farmers in the United States are still allowed to administer synthetic hormones, the most common being rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin), also referred to as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), to their livestock. There is growing concern that the presence of rBST in milk and beef can be detrimental to both human health as well as the health of the livestock. Several federal certifications such as organic, humane, and grass-fed ensure that certified producers do not use hormones during the animal’s lifespan. It is important to note that “hormone free” milk and meat products do not technically exist, as there are many natural hormones produced by the livestock still present in the final product sold in grocery stores, such as estrogen. However, according to the USDA, products may be labeled as “no hormones added” if no hormones are administered to the livestock during their lifetime.

HUMANE FARM ANIMAL CARE (HFAC): A nonprofit organization created to promote the humane treatment of livestock that provides a Certified Humane certification to farmers who verifiably meet their high standards for animal care. They also independently certify labels such as “free range” and “pasture raised.”

LACTOSE: A sugar naturally found in milk.

LED (LIGHT EMITTING DIODE) LIGHTING: An alternative to incandescent and fluorescent lighting that is more energy efficient, produces less waste, and is gentler on the environment.

LOCALLY GROWN: While “locally grown” may be a subjective definition, locally grown products are generally associated with a greater level of freshness, a decrease in greenhouse gases due to fewer transportation miles and less refrigeration, and supportive of local economies and small businesses. However, neither the USDA nor FDA define or regulate the use of the terms “local” or “locally grown” in food labeling. It is also important to note that, while “locally grown” foods are generally considered healthier and more responsible purchases, this label does not speak to the use of pesticides, GMOs, hormones, or any other methods of food manipulation during the production process. Therefore, it is important to consider the methods of food production separately from where they are produced.

MELANOMA: A cancer of melanocytes, or human pigment cells, usually found in the skin.

METHANE: An organic gas that is composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms produced by bacteria present in the digestive tract of many animals (such as humans and cows).

NATURAL: The term “natural” is not formally defined by the FDA in its use in human food labeling, therefore it can essentially be used and interpreted at the discretion of the manufacturer. While the FDA does not formally regulate the use of “natural” in labeling, this agency has indicated that they consider the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial has been introduced to the food product.

NOAA: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a sector of the US Department of Commerce that manages weather forecasts and emergency storm warnings nationwide, in addition to the economic and ecological health of our nation’s fisheries and coastline.

NON-GMO PROJECT VERIFIED: The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit foundation created to combat the spread of GMOs in agriculture and protect the non-GMO crops that remain. Products bearing the label “non-GMO project verified” have been vetted by a third-party administrator that has verified that they do not contain any GMOs.

NONTOXIC: We can generally assume that the “nontoxic” products that we put on our skin or use in our home are free of chemicals and substances that are known to be harmful to human health.

OCHRONOSIS: A disorder of the skin that manifests as blue and black discoloration and may be caused by the topical application of creams or other substances that contain hydroquinone.

ORGANIC: For products to be labeled “organic” they must meet certain federally regulated criteria. Organic regulations are among the most strict in our national food system and are constantly under scrutiny from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) which seeks to ensure that all organic produce is grown without pesticides, artificial fertilizers, genetically modified seeds, or detriment to the soil and water sources. Additionally, organic livestock, poultry, dairy, and eggs must be free of added hormones and antibiotics. Farmers are inspected by the USDA to ensure that they meet all criteria.

OSTEOPATHIC: Osteopathy, or osteopathic medicine, is a western model of medicine that is in most ways identical to the allopathic model except for the additional training Osteopaths receive in hands-on diagnosis and treatment called osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) and a focus on overall wellness.

PARABENS: A family of organic preservatives commonly used in cosmetics and food.

PASTURE RAISED: Pasture raised animals are allowed access to the outdoors, however there are no current federal standards for the quantity of time spent outdoors nor the quality of the pasture available to the animals. Term is not synonymous with “grass fed” as these animals may be fed grain or other animal feed.

PASTEURIZATION: A method of partially-sterilizing liquids, most commonly dairy products, with heat high enough to kill pathogenic microorganisms, but retain the original quality and taste of the product.

PATHOGEN: Broadly speaking, a pathogen is any agent that causes disease. Microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria that cause infection and/or disease are considered “pathogenic.”

PERFLUOROOCTANOIC ACID (PFOA): A toxic, environmentally persistent chemical utilized in the production of teflon.

PESTICIDES: Chemicals that are designed to protect commercial crops by repelling and/or killing insects, microorganisms, or any other pests that might eat or damage the crops.

PH: The pH scale was created to measure the acidity or basicity of a substance. The scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acidic value and 14 being the most basic. Pure, distilled water has a pH of 7 and is the neutral midpoint of the pH scale.

PHOTOVOLTAIC: A solar power technology that uses solar cells to convert light from the sun into electricity.

PHTHALATES: A group of chemicals frequently used in the production of flexible plastics, as well as personal products such as shampoo, cosmetics, and nail polish.

PHYTOCHEMICALS: A broad term for chemicals that are naturally found in plants. Phytochemicals may be helpful or detrimental to human health, depending on the nature of the chemical in question. Several examples of innocuous phytochemicals that we commonly ingest include carotenoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.

PHYTOESTROGENS: A group of phytochemicals that weakly mimic the effects of human estrogen. Phytoestrogens are most commonly found in soy products, and can act as endocrine disruptors.

POLYTETRAFLUOROETHYLENE (PTFE): A compound, also known as Teflon, that is highly inert, which is why it is often used as a non-stick surface for cookware.

POLYVINYL CHLORIDE (PVC): PVC is commonly used to produce plastic pipes and outdoor furniture. It is seldom, if ever,recyclable and its synthesis creates toxic byproducts, such as dioxins. Additionally, PVC plastics often contain phthalates, another toxic group of chemicals that make plastics soft and flexible.

POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL: A solvent commonly used in personal care products including cosmetics, sunscreen, moisturizers, and antiperspirant that may have a toxic effect on human organ systems.

PRESERVATIVES: A group of chemicals that slow or delay the natural decomposition of commercial products and foodstuffs. Common preservatives include sodium benzoate, sodium sulfite, propyl paraben, and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

PROBIOTICS: Healthy gut bacteria that positively interact with the human host by promoting digestion and improving immune strength.

PROCESSED: As a rule of thumb, the more processed a food product is, the farther away it is from its natural, whole state. In general, foods may be referred to as “processed” if they have undergone physical and/or chemical alteration.

PROPYLENE GLYCOL: A synthetic compound that absorbs water and is commonly used as an antifreeze agent.

PROJECT DRAWDOWN: A movement created to reverse climate change by implementing existing methods of reducing carbon waste and actively investigating new, practical ways to heal our environment.

RAINFOREST ALLIANCE: A private, non-profit organization that promotes sustainable agriculture, responsible forestry, and eco-tourism through its certification and labeling system.

RAW: Produce that remains uncooked or unheated. In the context of the raw food movement, a food is “raw” if it has not been cooked or heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

RECOMBINANT BOVINE SOMATOTROPIN (rBST): A synthetic hormone based on bovine somatotropin that is administered to commercial dairy cows in order to promote milk production, as well as to cattle intended to be sold as meat in order to increase their rate of growth. This hormone is also referred to as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH).

RENEWABLE ENERGY CERTIFICATE: Also known as renewable energy credits, these tradable commodities certify that one megawatt hour of electricity has been generated renewably and fed into the power grid.

RESPONSIBLY SOURCED: Foods that are generally produced and sold by sellers, growers, and companies that believe their practices are socially and environmentally conscious. Foods that are considered to be “responsibly sourced” have numerous economic and environmental benefits, however these benefits are not guaranteed by any regulating entity.

SATURATED FATS: Fats that are solid at room temperature, such as butter and animal fat, are generally saturated fats. Because the hydrocarbon chains of these fatty acids have no double bonds (i.e. are completely “saturated” by hydrogen atoms), they stack tightly against one another causing them to be more rigid and maintain their shape. Ingesting high amounts of saturated fats over time is generally associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, among other chronic health challenges.

SILOXANES: Silicon-based compounds that can be found in toothpaste, moisturizers, hair products, deodorants, cosmetics, and lubricants. Siloxanes are known endocrine disruptors and may also be reproductive toxins.

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING/INVESTMENTS (SRI): An approach to investing that seeks to maximize financial returns alongside social and environmental benefits.

SOLAR PANELS: Panels constructed of photovoltaic cells that capture and utilize the sun’s energy to heat homes, pools, or otherwise provide energy.

SPROUTING: The process of soaking seeds, legumes, nuts, or grains in water for several hours and then repeatedly rinsing them until they begin to sprout, or grow. By sprouting seeds before they are eaten, the amount of available nutrients is increased and their mildly toxic components, such as lectins or saponins, decrease in concentration.

SULFATE: A chemical group used commercially in strong detergents that strip away oil or grease, most commonly in the form Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS can be found in many personal products that produce a “foam,” such as shampoos and facial cleansers.

SUPERFOOD: Food products that are believed to have an exceptionally positive impact on human health.

SUSTAINABLE: In general, a sustainable practice is one that can be maintained over time at a constant level or pace.

TOLUENE: An organic solvent used in paint, nail polish, adhesives, plastics, and rubber (to name a few) that is toxic to the human nervous system. Prolonged exposure to toluene can cause symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, and impaired coordination.

TRANS-FATS: Trace amounts of trans-fats are naturally present in red meat and dairy, but the trans-fats present in most grocery store products are artificially synthesized from vegetable oils through a process called “hydrogenation.” That is why trans-fats are also referred to as “hydrogenated fats/oils.” These fats are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and the development of diabetes.

TRIPHENYL PHOSPHATE (TPP/TPHP): A chemical found in “non toxic” nail polish that aims to replace the original three toxins used in nail polish (toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate). However, new data suggests that TPP is similarly toxic and acts as a potent endocrine disruptor. Preliminary studies performed in animal models have shown that TPP exposure can lead to obesity, anxiety, and other health problems.

ULTRA-HIGH TEMPERATURE (UHT): An alternative method of pasteurizing dairy products that utilizes higher temperatures (greater than 280 degrees Fahrenheit) for a longer period of time (>2 seconds) than traditional pasteurization techniques, which is thought to kill a greater amount of bacteria.

UNSATURATED FATS: Fats that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil and other plant-derived oils, are generally unsaturated fats. Because the hydrocarbon chains of these fatty acids have double bonds (i.e., are not completely “saturated” by hydrogen atoms), they are less tightly packed against one another, which allows these fats to be more fluid. Unsaturated fats are generally regarded as a healthier choice than saturated fats or trans-fats.

USDA: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a governmental body that came into being in 1862 and continues today to utilize new scientific data in order to inform public policy in regard to agriculture, food, and nutrition.

VEGAN: A lifestyle and/or diet that involves avoiding foods, clothing, and other daily items that are derived from animal products.

VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCS): VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs are especially hazardous indoors, where concentrations may be up to ten times higher than outdoors. New carpet, paint, and interior finishes are common sources of VOCs in the home. Look for products labeled “low-VOC,” “no-VOC,” or “zero-VOC.”

WATERKEEPER ALLIANCE: A nonprofit organization that strives to hold water polluters accountable for their actions and unite clean water rights activists around the world to achieve their goal of “drinkable, fishable, swimmable water everywhere.”

WILD CAUGHT: Fish that are wild caught are caught by commercial fishermen in their natural habitat. They may or may not be responsibly sourced, but they are often a healthier option than farmed fish because their diet and lifestyle are natural throughout their lifetime.