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CHEJ: “So-called green products contain hidden toxic chemicals that are not on product labels”

Posted Mar 09 2012 12:00am
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Who can you trust?  Apparently no one!  Companies I have long trusted as green and natural have been exposed by the Center for Health and Environmental Justice  (CHEJ):

Shit.  Excuse my language, but I feel jaded.

In a peer-reviewed study published in  Environmental Health Perspectives , the  Silent Spring Institute  tested 213 consumer products.

RESULTS: We detected 55 compounds, indicating a wide range of exposures from common products. Vinyl products contained >10% DEHP and could be an important source of DEHP in homes. In other products, the highest concentrations and numbers of detects were in the fragranced products perfume, air fresheners, and dryer sheets, and in sunscreens. Some products that did not contain the well-known EDC phthalates contained other less-studied phthalates (also EDCs), suggesting a substitution. Many detected chemicals were not listed on labels.

EDCs=endocrine disruptor chemicals

I expect as much from Colgate, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble, but what about my favorite green brands?   Forbes explains:

Perhaps most surprising about the study’s findings was the use of various chemicals of concern in products marketed as “green” or “natural.” It’s not just that finding out their favorite non-toxic product actually contains potentially harmful chemicals is likely to make consumers angry, but also that manufacturers could feasibly be putting themselves at risk of legal action for being in violation of the Federal Trade Commission’s green guides.

The study used the following criteria for “alternative” products:

A product was classified as alternative if the label indicated that excluded chemicals were absent, or the label listed ingredients and did not list excluded terms. Many of the products that met our criteria for alternative products were marked as “green.”…

We purchased most alternative products at a nation-wide store specializing in natural products, so products met the store’s selection criteria, which favored non-petroleum- based, and especially plant-based, ingredients.

Skimming the study, here are some alarming findings from the “alternative” products:

What is most alarming is the combination of these chemicals, even if you are using only natural and green products, as my family does:

Labeled or unlabeled, I fear I can no longer trust the companies that I have touted for so long.  I could not find a list of the actual products tested, which I would like to see to know which ones to avoid.

CHEJ continues:

“This new study found PVC products, including a pillow protector and shower curtain, contained high levels of the toxic phthalate DEHP,” explains Mike Schade from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice. “Phthalates have been banned in toys, but are widespread in many PVC products children come in contact with in schools and even at home.  Phthalates have been linked to asthma, adverse impacts on brain development, and reproductive health problems in baby boys.  Thankfully, there are safer cost-effective alternatives to phthalate-laden PVC products for our schools and homes.”

“Many  products are targeted to women of color who suffer from high health disparities that can be linked directly to the endocrine disruptors found in these products. We can only hope that studies like this one inspire better policies and regulations of these dangerous chemicals,” saysJanette Robinson-Flint from Black Women for Wellness. “Mother shouldn’t have to be a biochemist to protect themselves and their families from toxic chemicals in everyday products.”

Via: EcoWatch

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