Harmful Chemicals Found in Consumer Products

A study by Silent Spring Institute reveals that consumer products contain hormone disruptors and chemicals linked to asthma that are not listed on the product labels.

The peer-reviewed study, published yesterday in Environmental Health News, tested both conventional products and their alternatives, which are marketed as being safer. Harmful chemicals were found in all the conventional products and in 32 of the 43 alternative products.

Here are some of the detailed findings:

• Vinyl products, such as shower curtains and pillow protectors, contain more than 10% by weight of the phthalate DEHP, an endocrine disruptor (anti‐androgen) that has also been associated with increased respiratory symptoms in some studies.

• Fragranced products – including air fresheners, dryer sheets, and perfume – and sunscreens had the largest number of target chemicals and some of the highest concentrations. Fragrances can trigger asthma and some have been shown to mimic estrogen, including making breast cancer cells grow in laboratory studies.

• In addition to the labeled ingredients, alternative sunscreens contained up to 7 target chemicals that were unlabeled, including estrogenic UV filters. The alternative sunscreen with the highest number of target chemicals was a product marketed for babies, children, and sensitive adults.

• A consumer who used the tested alternative surface cleaner, tub and tile cleaner, laundry detergent, bar soap, shampoo and conditioner, facial cleanser and lotion, and toothpaste would be exposed to 19 of the target compounds.

How can you avoid these chemicals?  For starters:

• Clean with vinegar, baking soda, a non-petroleum soap (like Dr. Bronner’s), and plain water.

• Avoid fragrances in all products, including laundry detergent and personal care products.

• Get rid of vinyl products like shower curtains and mattress protectors.

• Buy fewer products!

Read more at Silent Spring Institute.

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