Studies show that everyday consumer products — shampoos, sunscreens, laundry detergents — contain harmful chemicals such as hormone disruptors and chemicals associated with asthma, many of which are not listed on the products' labels.
In a 2012 study, researchers at the Silent Spring Institute tested more than 50 different types of products, including both conventional products and “alternative” products marketed as containing safer ingredients. Potentially harmful chemicals (parabens, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), antimicrobials, cyclosiloxanes, glycol ethers, and fragrances) showed up in all of the conventional products and in three quarters of the alternative products tested. Vinyl products such as shower curtains and pillow protectors contained especially high concentrations of phthalates, a chemical class that has been linked with both endocrine disruption and respiratory problems. Sunscreens and fragranced products—including air fresheners, dryer sheets, and perfumes—had the largest number of chemicals detected and some of the highest concentrations. Although consumers can avoid exposure to some harmful chemicals by reading a product's label, many chemicals can not be avoided because they are not listed.
For more information:
- “Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products”
- “Consumer Products Contain Potentially Harmful Chemicals Not Listed on Labels”