As observed from Rep. Eric Swalwell’s vantage point, it begins to seem forgivable that his fellow members of Congress have failed to develop an effective response to the student-loan and college-affordability predicament:
‘[O]ne, over half of Congress is made up of millionaires and, two, most of the people in Congress went to college at a time when it was affordable. … So they’re completely — or doubly — disconnected from the problem.’
A reason it’s a wider concern for society, in the Democratic presidential hopeful’s view, is that the financial burden causes college graduates to defer dreams of entrepreneurship and home ownership — to the extent that ”how big is your debt” is “like a first-date conversation now.”
His remedies? To (a.) bring the interest rate to zero percent on federal student loans, and (b.) allow employers to contribute tax-free, in the manner of a retirement-savings contribution, toward employee student-loan debt as part of a competitive benefits package. Further, community college should, per Swalwell, be tuition-free, and a four-year university education should be debt-free for those who engage in work-study during their undergraduate years and then fulfill a commitment to perform a prescribed number of community-service hours early in their careers. “So you work for college, [and] college works for you.”
Seeking to present his candidacy as one of “go big” ideas and goals, Swalwell went on, in the podcast interview conducted earlier this month, to pitch, for health care, a buy-in and, for the “national crisis” of gun violence, a buyback.
Rep. Eric Swalwell speaks with Tommy Vietor on the video version of the podcast Pod Save America.
A public-option buy-in for health insurance is, in Swalwell’s formulation, “Medicare for anyone who wants it.”
He has proposed an assault-rifle ban that’s coupled with a market-rate buyback, while supporting background checks and a national firearm registry and holding gun manufacturers legally liable. “I say, keep your pistols, your long guns, your rifles,” he said. Assault rifles, he said, “are just different” and represent “100% of the fear that a student has when they’re in their classroom.”
‘It is probably the only way my parents can see me on TV.’
Swalwell, who represents a California district in the House but hails from western Iowa, explained that his parents had been known to display a Trump-Pence magnet on their refrigerator. “I hope that’s come down since I announced,” he said.
A diet that helps people reduce high blood pressure or hypertension may also reduce the risk of heart failure in people under the age of 75, according to research published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and led by doctors at Wake Forest School of Medicine, which is part of Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C.
‘Only a few prior studies have examined the effects of the Dash diet on the incidence of heart failure, and they have yielded conflicting results.’
An observational study of more than 4,500 people over 13 years showed that those individuals under 75 who most closely adhered to the Dash diet had a significantly lower risk of developing heart failure than those who were least likely to keep to the tenets of the diet. (Dash is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.)
“Only a few prior studies have examined the effects of the Dash diet on the incidence of heart failure, and they have yielded conflicting results,” said Claudia Campos, associate professor of general internal medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Following the Dash diet can reduce the risk of developing heart failure by almost half.”
The study recommends cutting five things out of your diet: This Dash diet recommends fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products, while reducing consumption of three main components: salt, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. It is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, but the Dash diet recommends cutting out two more things: full cream (in favor of low-fat dairy products) and alcoholic beverages.
There are other ways to eat healthier too. People who eat slowly are less likely to become obese or develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart disease, diabetes and stroke risk factors, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017. They may be more conscious of what they are eating and drinking, and are less prone to overeating.
The Dash diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet but, unlike that diet, it recommends low-fat dairy products and excluding alcoholic beverages.
Dietitians also advise against snacking and takeouts. People have less control over what goes into their meals when they order in. Americans get most of their daily sodium — more than 75% — from processed food and restaurant food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People eat an average of 200 calories more per meal when they eat food from restaurants..
“Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart disease and stroke,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. “Together, heart disease and stroke kill more Americans each year than any other cause.” Americans get 71% of their daily sodium from processed and restaurant food. Cooking for yourself is the safest and healthiest option.
Artificially sweetened beverages may be linked to an increased risk of stroke and dementia, according to the American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal Stroke. Another 2015 study found that older women who consume two or more diet sodas per day are 30% more likely to suffer a cardiovascular event. Add that to more research suggesting regular soda is linked to obesity.
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And Landon Sanford, co-founder of travel app Rayka, notes that backpacks are great even outside of the airport: “For me, roller bags can be tricky when you’re quickly bouncing between hostels, countries, or new experiences.”
Of course, a backpack might get too heavy for some travelers, and you can only fit so many, say, pairs of shoes in it, but for many people, a backpack is all they need on a trip.
And Molly Fergus, the general manager of travel planning site TripSavvy, says that though her luggage preference varies depending on what she’s doing, “for a more rugged trip, backpacks are the most comfortable.” She loves the Tortuga Setout Backpack — which sells for about $200 on the company’s website. “I’ve opted for the Tortuga Setout Backpack, which opens like a suitcase but has strong foam shoulder straps, netted back support, and two detachable waist straps if you over-stuffed the carry on-sized bag a bit,” she explains.
The rich are getting richer. It is a refrain that has certainly been uttered before, and likely will again, as Deutsche Bank’s chief economist says the gap between the haves and have-nots in the U.S. is, indeed, widening. See full story.
What investors can learn from ‘Jeopardy’ phenom James Holzhauer
The Trump investment boom is gone. Businesses are now investing at the same slow pace that prevailed at the end of the Obama presidency. See full story.
Stocks close higher but Dow logs longest weekly losing streak since 2011
U.S. stocks close higher Friday ahead of the long weekend as trade-war fears receded somewhat following reports President Donald Trump may ease up on restrictions against Huawei Technologies Inc. as part of a bigger trade deal with China. See full story.
‘Aladdin’ expected to lead weekend box office, but estimates are lower after scathing reviews
The live-action “Aladdin” film starring Will Smith is expected to lead the box office over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but estimates for receipts have been scaled back following some bruising reviews. See full story.
An overwhelming majority of America’s private-sector workers in the next five years will have to undergo forced arbitrations to air their complaints, according to a new report.
By 2024, almost 83% or 95 million of the country’s private, non-unionized employees will be hashing out complaints like unfair pay and on-the-job mistreatment behind closed doors, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy released this week. That’s up from 56% or 60 million workers in 2017.
One of the EPI report’s authors, Heidi Shierholz, told MarketWatch her estimate was conservative. Companies view arbitrations in their financial best interest, said Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based left-leaning think tank.
Critics say forced arbitrations can close off workers from judges and juries, and confine decisions to arbitrators who might go easy on the companies.
There were over 155 million public, private and self-employed workers on average last year, Bureau of Labor Statistics show. Of that sum, more than 111 million were working in the private sector and not unionized, a spokeswoman said.
Critics say forced arbitrations can close off workers from judges and juries, and confine decisions to arbitrators who might go easy on the companies paying for their services. A 5-4 decision Supreme Court decision last May in the case “Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis” upheld mandatory arbitration agreement, which make workers give up their class-action rights.
When worker complaints surface “it’s in an employer’s best interest to have those disputes dealt with in the situation they totally control and favorable to their outcome,” she said.
Arbitration itself isn’t the problem, Shierholz noted. The problem is when it’s mandatory and the rules are controlled by the company, she said, adding, “It’s a kind of a rigged system.” Shierholz noted her calculations didn’t even account for the likely uptick in arbitration clauses after the recent Supreme Court case decision.
But just because the Supreme Court has cleared the way for forced arbitration, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee all companies will use it.
In November, Google workers walked off the job for several hours to protest the use of mandatory arbitration on sexual-harassment claims.
One attorney representing large companies in workplace lawsuits previously told MarketWatch that corporate boardroom and C-Suite executives don’t just rush into the use of mandatory arbitrations. The tactic could possibly depress morale and make workers look elsewhere — a worry for companies operating in a tight, competitive labor market.
Consider what happened with Google GOOG, -0.64% In November, the tech giant’s workers walked off the job for several hours to protest the use of mandatory arbitration on sexual-harassment claims. Soon after, Google said it would stop using mandatory arbitration for sexual-harassment complaints. In February, the company went a step further saying it would stop using forced arbitrations for all sorts of employee disputes.
But Shierholz said such developments could be the exception to the rule. “Companies have voted with their feet already,” she said. Worries about worker morale are “not their primary concern. Their primary concern is making sure money flows to corporate executives and people at the top.”
Cannabis entrepreneurs hoping to succeed in a sector that’s expected to be worth billions of dollars in sales need to understand the power of brands.
The industry is expected to follow one of two models as more U.S. states legalize cannabis for medical or recreational use. For some, that’s the alcohol model, in which branded product is distributed to retailers. Others are expecting a retail-brand model, in which the seller controls how the brand is produced and presented to the public.
For Smoke Wallin, president of Vertical Cos., a California-based cannabis company with some big ambitions including a plan to take its wellness unit public, it’s a no-brainer.
“Cannabis is going to evolve just like every other packaged-good category,” Wallin told MarketWatch in an interview. “There are dozens of form factors, including topicals, smokables, beverages, edibles, and within edibles there are baked goods, tinctures, mints — our belief is that with each form factor certain brand sets will emerge.”
Wallin should know. A former chairman and president of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, his long career in the alcohol business started at National Wine & Spirits, which he helped grow into a $1 billion company with more than 36,000 retail customers and a workforce of 1,500.
‘Cannabis is going to evolve just like every other packaged-good category. There are dozens of form factors, including topicals, smokables, beverages, edibles, and within edibles there are baked goods, tinctures, mints — our belief is that with each form factor certain brand sets will emerge.’
“Vodka has no taste or smell, so how do you persuade customers that one type is better, or even different, than another? It’s all marketing,” he said.
Vertical’s strategy is to create a portfolio of what it expects will be the biggest cannabis brands, once the burgeoning sector matures. The U.S. cannabis sector is expected to be worth about $20 billion by 2022, or up to $50 billion if cannabis were fully legalized for recreational use as it is in Canada, according to GMP Securities analyst Martin Landry.
Vertical already has more than 35 brands of THC-based products, and more than 50 brands of CBD-based products in development.
THC and CBD are ingredients found in the cannabis plant; THC is the psychoactive ingredient that creates the “high” associated with cannabis, while CBD is nonintoxicating but is widely held to have wellness benefits.
The Vertical portfolio includes brands such as Instant CBD Strips (InstantCBD); Trees by Game, the brand associated with West Coast rapper The Game; Taos; JSLV (Just Live CBD products); Kaviar; Evergreen Organix; and Nanosphere Evolve. The company’s strategy is for each brand to have a specific target customer, creating the next Bacardi, Grey Goose and Johnnie Walker in the cannabis space.
Vertical is currently active in three states, California, Arizona and Kentucky, and recently completed a grow facility in Ohio.
The California operation includes a 29-acre campus in the city of Needles in eastern San Bernardino County, with a 40,000-square-foot building, a 20,000-square-foot building, a 7,000-square-foot extraction and manufacturing building, a 5,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, a 10,000-square-foot distribution center and the space to add eight more buildings on the land.
Vertical Cos. facility in Needles, Calif.
The company’s outdoor grow facilities in California produced 20,000 pounds in the last 12 months. Its 60,000 square feet of indoor facilities are expected to produce 10,000 pounds a year. It recently purchased a 575-acre ranch in Santa Barbara County and expects the next grow on 50 acres, to produce at least 4 pounds per acre, or 200,000 to 250,000 pounds a year.
In Arizona, Vertical has a 52,000-square-foot indoor grow facility in Kingman. It has a 90,000-square-foot hemp manufacturing, production and processing facility in Cadiz, Ky., on 14 acres of new land. The hemp production is for the company’s Vertical Wellness business, which was spun out of the parent late last year following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp throughout the U.S.
The company is planning to take Vertical Wellness public in the third quarter and is aiming to list on the Nasdaq, raising the funds needed to develop a range of hemp-based CBD products. The wellness unit will be allowed to trade on a major exchange because it doesn’t “touch the plant,” meaning its activities are not subject to the federal ban on cannabis.
Vertical Cos. closed a $58 million Series A funding round in April to help it expand its footprint and brands, with much of that money coming from family offices and high-net-worth individuals, as institutional investors remain wary of the sector, because of the federal ban. Investors in the round included Merida Capital Partners, a private-equity fund with a focus on the cannabis sector, whose managing partner Mitch Baruchowitz is now on the Vertical advisory board.
The company is vertically integrated, meaning it grows cannabis, extracts ingredients, makes and distributes products, but it’s not planning to have a big retail network. Vertical will have a limited retail presence, with stores to be used “opportunistically and for R&D purposes. Retail is not a core business,” Wallin said.
The company is building a team of sales consultants and brand ambassadors to educate and develop relationships with retailers. It’s the Jack Daniel’s model — because Jack Daniel’s is wanted in all alcohol accounts, their distributor has to service all of those accounts, exactly what Vertical wants to achieve in cannabis.
The company is expecting revenue of $100 million in 2019. Vertical Wellness alone is expected to generate $28 million of revenue this year, growing to $400 million in 2020. The company expects the unit to be profitable on a net basis in 2019.
Wallin is unfazed by the current regulatory uncertainty about CBD, which was not legalized with hemp in last year’s Farm Bill. Instead, regulation of the substance was moved to the Food and Drug Administration from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The FDA immediately warned companies that it will not allow CBD to be added to food and beverages, because it is the main ingredient in the only cannabis-based drug to win FDA approval, GW Pharmaceuticals PLC’s GWPH, -0.58% Epidiolex, a treatment for severe types of childhood epilepsy. That makes it a drug in the eyes of the regulator. The FDA is planning to hold public talks on the issue of regulating CBD on May 31.
The FDA has been cracking down on cosmetics and topicals too, in cases where companies make claims to treat major illnesses. Last month, the FDA along with the FTC sent warning letters to three CBD companies, charging them with violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act for putting unapproved human and pet drugs into interstate commerce and making unsubstantiated health claims about them, according to Cannabis Law Report.
“We want it to be regulated, because there’s so much bad product out there, including many that don’t contain the CBD they claim,” said Wallin. “We need clarity on the rules, and we need visibility in the supply chain. Consumers are buying CBD online and don’t know what they are getting, so, yes, we would welcome regulation.”
Wallin is confident that the increasing acceptance of cannabis among Americans will help drive sensible legislation, including a lifting of the federal ban. In the current political climate, it “might be the only issue that we can all get behind,” he said. “We’re in it for the long game.”
The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF HMMJ, +0.81% has gained 40% in 2019 to date, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ, +1.27% has gained 35%.
Target Corp. says urban shoppers who take advantage of the same-day delivery service in small-format stores buy way more items than those who buy and carry out.
The retailer offers the option for shoppers to purchase their items and then arrange for delivery at a time of their choosing for a $7 flat fee.
“Once we solve the problem of carrying the order home, it frees them up to shop more, a lot more,” said John Mulligan, Target’s TGT, +2.73% chief operating officer, on the earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript. “Average basket size on these orders is more than five times bigger than the average for these locations, and they include a very strong mix of items from our home category.”
The home category was one of the areas where Target saw 3% same-store sales growth in the first quarter. Overall, same-store sales grew 4.8%.
Now that Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.43% has made a Prime member promise to delivery orders in one day rather than two, the competition have been even more vocal about the delivery options they offer that can match that convenience.
Target, like Walmart Inc. WMT, +0.80% , is leveraging its network of stores, with drive-up, which makes digital orders available to customers without leaving the parking lot, order pickup from stores, and same-day delivery through Shipt. The retailer said same-day fulfillment options drove more than a quarter of first-quarter same-store sales.
Target reported a 42% increase in comparable digital sales, with more than 80% of the digital volume fulfilled in stores, which, the company emphasized, drives down costs.
Last year, digital accounted for $5 billion in sales, Mulligan said, and about two-thirds of that volume was filled in stores.
“Despite the success we’re already seeing, we continue to hear questions about the long-term viability of keeping our stores at the center of fulfillment,” he said. “Our answer is empathic: we are confident that this is the best long-term solution for Target.”
With traffic heading to stores, Target Chief Executive Cornell talked about the continued remodels that are taking place nationwide: 53 in the last quarter with the company on track for 300 this year. Seven small-format stores opened during the quarter as well.
“One of the success stories at Target has been the revitalization of physical stores, many of which have been refurbished and are providing a much more pleasant and engaging shopping experience,” said Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail.
“This along with improvements to the ranges put into stores – particularly in apparel and beauty – have made them more compelling destinations leading to an increase in shopper traffic.”
Traffic growth was 4.3% for the quarter.
Target’s focus on these same-day options are giving it an edge.
“As much as this model is advantageous for driving sales, it is also very positive for margins as store-based fulfillment is more profitable than delivery to home,” Saunders wrote. “This is one of the reasons Target has been able to engineer better bottom line numbers.”
Taken together, Charlie O’Shea, Moody’s lead retail analyst, thinks Target will be a top U.S. retail performer, even as the threat of tariffs looms.
“Target hit the bull’s-eye in Q1, with every meaningful measure demonstrating the soundness of its revamped strategy and its successful execution,” said O’Shea. “The continued rollout of exclusive brands is driving both store and website traffic, and despite a brutal pricing environment due to the ongoing Walmart/Amazon market share battle, margins are holding steady.”
Like Walmart, Target has warned that higher tariffs will lead to higher prices for customers.
“As a guest-focused retailer, we’re concerned about tariffs because they lead to higher prices on everyday products for American families,” said Target’s Cornell. “Our team continues to monitor trade negotiations and develop contingency plans to help mitigate the impact of tariffs on our guests and on our business.”
Quo Vadis President John Zolidis is also bullish.
“We feel confident that Target is well-positioned to continue to win, especially as many other financially constrained competitors fold up shop including Toys ‘R’ Us, Gymboree, Payless ShoeSource and Dressbarn just to name a few recent liquidations,” he said. “We believe investors have looked past Target’s recent sales momentum due to its modest overall growth profile and perceived inability to avoid further margin contraction.
“Post 1QFY19, we think Target’s outperformance on the top line is harder to ignore,” said Zolidis.
Target shares soared 7.8% in Wednesday trading, and have rallied 20% for the year to date outpacing the SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT, -0.02% , which is up 1.4%, and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.14% which has gained 12.6%.
My mom is an otherwise sane, smart and independent woman. At 60 years old she has worked for over 40 years, has been a home owner in New Jersey for over 40 years as well and has always been on top of her bills, credit and responsibilities. About 5 years ago she became involved in a relationship with a man who I can only call a con artist.
This man has a history of theft, deception, bad credit and bad decisions. He has deceived a few employers and the Internal Revenue Service. He has been living with my mom in her current home, which she owned for about 15 years before they met. He does not pay his share of the bills, often giving her only $100 to $200 a month, but often times borrowing much more than that throughout the month.
He has made statements to her during arguments such as, “I have a legal right to this house and should be on the deed” and “I legally have 30 to 60 days to leave if you try to kick me out.” I believe both of these statements to be a crock of bull, but I am just curious to know what his true “rights” are.
There are other ways he is emotionally abusive as well. He has never changed his residence on his driver’s license to my mom’s house and the only thing connecting him to the property is a cable bill. I am hoping to sort this out on her behalf, as she seems to be blinded from the truth. Since becoming involved with him, her credit has worsened and she seems to be struggling financially.
This is not the woman I remember.
Your mother may need a financial adviser or an advice columnist to weigh in on her affairs, at some point. Today, she needs an intervention.
Even at 60 years of age, she is a prime candidate for elder financial abuse. She is alone and she has money. That’s an attractive combination for a would-be predator. And while most of this kind of abuse comes from family members, it also happens disproportionately to people with no spouse. Your mother hasn’t married this man, which is a small mercy. It’s not too late to act.
You need to assemble of team of trusted family members and friends, alert your mother’s bank, and hire a lawyer who may decide to do a background check. As a group (and when her boyfriend is out of the house, of course) you should sit down with your mom to explain that you’re all worried about her but that you are there to support her as she severs ties with this man.
It sounds like your mother has made efforts to remove him from her house and her life. That’s a good sign. On some level, she knows that this man is bad news. Contact your mother’s lawyer, bank and/or adult protective services in your state. If he is not on the deed and her safety is an issue, you can also contact local law enforcement (and a lawyer) to ask advice.
If he is not on a lease and is not paying any rent or contributing to bills, then he is mistaken about his rights to live there for the next 30 to 60 days. He may believe he is a tenant, but he is merely a guest. He has far fewer rights as a potentially unwelcome guest who is helping himself to your mother’s funds, and bullying her into a such a state that she dare not ask him to leave.
If she asks him to leave, and he doesn’t he could be guilty of “defiant trespassing.” You can read more about that here. In New Jersey, you can file an eviction lawsuit without any advance notice if they have refused to pay rent.
Why is your mother living with a man who treats her badly? It’s the same reason other people let ne’er-do-wells into their life, and allow them to take control: Fear and loneliness. A recent survey of 20,000 U.S. adults found that nearly half of people suffer from feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is both a health and social issue. It can also lead to difficult and upsetting situations such as this.
It could be worse. (Usually, but not always, it could be worse.) A member of the Moneyist Facebook Group posted this harrowing story about a manager at a financial firm in Hong Kong who gave 14 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.78 million) to a man who she met on a dating site. He pretended to be a British film director. But here’s the most unbelievable part: They never actually met in real life.
Some people will allow the wrong person into their life, even if a loving relationships still eludes them and the companionship they think they have is just an illusion.
Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you live (no full names will be used).
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Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills, divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own thoughts. I receive more letters than I could ever answer, so I’ll be bringing all of that guidance — including some you might not see in these columns — to this group. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.
Think carefully before choosing sunscreen for you and your family this Memorial Day Weekend.
In a report released Wednesday, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group analyzed the chemicals and effectiveness of more than 1,300 sunscreens and found that over 60% of them would not pass safety rules proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
More than half of the sunscreens — 60% — that EWG reviewed either don’t adequately protect against sun exposure or have potentially harmful chemicals in them. But the organization says there are ways to check the ingredients to help make sure sunscreens are safe.
“Based on the best current science, the safest and most effective sunscreen active ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide,” said Nneka Leiba, director of Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Healthy Living Science program. “It’s long past time that the chemicals used in sunscreens were tested to show that they will not harm our health.”
Watch out for these ingredients
The EWG advises against sunscreens containing the chemical oxybenzone. “Oxybenzone is an allergen that is absorbed by the skin and can be detected in the bodies of nearly every American,” it says. “It is also a potential hormone disruptor still used in 60 percent of non-mineral sunscreens.”
Earlier this month, the FDA published a peer-reviewed study in the medical journal JAMA that found that several active ingredients, including oxybenzone, enter the bloodstream at levels that far exceed the agency’s recommended threshold for requiring additional safety tests.
In another study published in Environmental Health Perspectives 2016, American adolescent boys with higher concentrations of oxybenzone in their bodies had lower levels of testosterone. Those scientists recommended further studies to confirm and elucidate on their findings.
260 sunscreens meet EWG safety standards
The good news: Researchers found more than 260 sunscreens that meet the EWG’s criteria for safety and efficacy and would likely meet the proposed FDA standards. Check them out here. “Even the biggest brands now provide mineral options for consumers,” the report said.
The FDA oversees how sunscreen manufacturers label their products, and the safety and efficacy of their ingredients. It says products with SPF or sunscreen protection factor values of 15 or above should be labeled with an SPF corresponding to the lowest number in a range of tested SPF results.
”Sunscreens testing at SPF 15 to 19 would be labeled ‘SPF 15,’” the FDA says on its website, outlining the rules for these products. “Those testing at 40 to 49 would be labeled ‘SPF 40.’” There are some 12,000 sunscreen products on the market. The EWG has its own recommendations.
How to choose a safe and effective sunscreen
The FDA identifies sunscreen dosage considered “eligible or ineligible” under its sunscreen standards. It invites comments and reports on the safety and efficacy of spray sunscreens. It recommends applying sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and reapplying every two hours.
It also has detailed instructions on how to choose safe and effective sunscreen. “Not all sunscreens are broad spectrum, so it is important to look for it on the label. Broad spectrum sunscreen provides protection from the sun’s ultraviolet UV radiation,” it says.
“There are two types of UV radiation that you need to protect yourself from — UVA and UVB. Broad spectrum provides protection against both by providing a chemical barrier that absorbs or reflects UV radiation before it can damage the skin,” the FDA adds.
Some sunscreens are also bad for the environment
In February, the FDA released a proposal for updated sunscreen regulations, which the EWG says is a big step toward cleaning up a poorly regulated industry, “with much-needed reforms that would better protect public health.”
Last year, Hawaii passed a bill to ban the sales of over-the-counter sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone or octinoxate, which are considered to be harmful to coral reefs, making it the first U.S. state to do pass such a bill. The legislation will go into effect in 2021.
An estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen flow into coral reefs every year. Craig Downs, executive director of Clifford, Va.-based Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, told MarketWatch, “Sunscreen pollution is also sewage pollution.”
“You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a mattress,” said Haniya Rae, a writer at Consumer Reports who researches mattresses. “You can get a crappy mattress for thousands of dollars and a great one for less than $1,000.”
Here’s what to consider when purchasing a mattress according to sleep experts:
• The material doesn’t matter. Despite all the hype surrounding memory foam and latex mattresses as compared with traditional mattresses that feature inner springs, the components of the mattress don’t make a huge difference in terms of quality of sleep.
“Despite manufacturer’s claims, studies have shown no substantial differences in sleep — total sleep time or sleep stages — between various mattress types,” said Dr. Gary Zammit, executive director of the Sleep Disorders Institute in New York City. The only exception is that memory foam mattress tend to run hotter than traditional mattresses.
• Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. While it may be tempting to forego the extra cost of a box spring, consumers should buy them when recommended. “Depending on how the mattress is designed, the box spring could be night or day in terms of support,” Rae said.
• You may not need an adjustable mattress. Advertisements portray adjustable mattresses as a God-send for couples who can’t agree on the firmness of a mattress. But that’s likely just hype — Rae recommended testing them in person to see how much the mattresses actually adjust. In most cases, it’s not a whole lot.
• Firmness may be overrated. Some studies have shown that firmer mattress are better for people who experience back pain. Ultimately, everything comes down to what’s comfortable for you, said Neil Kline, a sleep physician and representative for the American Sleep Association.
• Don’t feel rushed when shopping. Experts recommend testing a mattress in person. When doing so, take your time and to recreate how you sleep as much as possible. That means, yes, kicking off your shoes and laying on the mattress in different positions for at least 10 minutes or more. Zammit even recommends wearing ear plugs to drown out the noise of other shoppers and sales associates so you can better focus on the mattress’ feel.