Chemicals of Concern Found in Green Beauty and Cleaning Products
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Chemicals of Concern Found in Green Beauty and Cleaning Products

A new study has exposed many beauty and cleaning products contain chemicals of concern. Even worse, the ingredients may not even appear on the label and even products marketed as green and safe have been found to contain these harmful chemicals. Learn how you can identify chemical ingredients when reading labels.

March 8, 2012 - Forbes.com reports questionable chemicals are not always labelled on beauty and house cleaning products and even the ones that claim to be 'green' can contain these chemical ingredients. Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a new study shows that there are many chemicals of concern found in beauty and cleaning products. While it may come as no surprise that many of these products contain ingredients that may have a negative impact on your health, what is alarming is that even some products marketed as "green" are found to contain them too and not all of them list the ingredients on the label.

Chemicals of Concern Not Even Labelled on Beauty & Cleaning Products

The study, funded by Silent Spring Institute, tested 213 consumer products including traditional products like Windex glass cleaner and Irish Spring Soap, along with alternative products like Seventh Generation and Tom's of Maine. It was expected to find chemicals of concern in the traditional products but the study uncovered two shocking surprises:

  1. Not all product labels listed the chemicals of concern
  2. Even some of the alternative products that are marked as 'green' and safer to use contained some of the chemicals

Chemicals That are Harmful to Health

The study was conducted by Battelle Labs and looked for 66 specific chemicals that were associated with either endocrine disruption or asthma. A few of the chemicals that were searched for were:

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Antimicrobials
  • Cyclosiloxanes
  • Glycol Ethers
  • Fragrances

Used for a variety of reasons, these chemical ingredients have been linked to endocrine disruption which can alter hormonal levels in the person exposed to the product. Chemicals that can mimic estrogen have shown to help breast cancer cells grow in laboratory studies. These ingredients can also cause respiratory illness and provoke asthma in individuals.

Study is Biased According to International Fragrance Association

Of coure, not everyone believes this study is accurate or credible. William Troy, Ph.D., is a scientific advisor for the International Fragrance Association North America and says the study is "simply wrong." Troy questions the methodology of the study and claims it uses older information.

Silent Springs admits there is still much work to do and many more products to test. One of the shorfalls of conducting such surveys is the limited lab trials on certain chemicals and their effect on human health. However, agencies like the Center for Disease Control (CDC), have verified these chemicals are being found in human bodies and lab studies have shown detrimental health effects.

Consumers Demand Safe Products

The green movement is showing consumers want safer products and government is being pressured to make changes to policies and protection acts. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act are both being updated to determine consumer safety. Both acts have not been updated in decades.

Companies are all too aware that many more consumers are reading labels to choose safer product for themselves and their families. Many companies have turned to 'green-washing' their products by uses images and phrases that mis-lead the consumer into believing the product is safer than the alternatives. Products that do contain toxic chemicals may simply not state the chemicals of concern on the label, leaving the consumer with no realistic way of knowing what they are exposing themselves to.

Consumers can look for two ingredients on labels that are required to be listed: Fragrance and antibacterials.  Fragrances can cause endocrine disruption and allergy responses. Antibacterials are not often necessary and are being investigated for helping to promote health concerns like Superbugs that are resistant to Antibiotics.

Since many of these chemical ingredients can go under a variety of other names, consumers can get familiar with ingredient names and variations by using guide books that cover the most common types of chemical ingredients found in everyday products.

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Comments (1)

Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

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