Julie Deardorff recently reported in the Chicago Tribune - "Study: 'Green' products emit hazardous chemicals".
Here is a reprint of that article:
Chicago - Widely-used scented consumer products that claim to be "green," "organic" or "natural" emit just as many toxic chemicals as other fragranced products, new research shows.
The study analyzed 25 scented products; about half carried green health claims. All the products emitted at least one chemical classified as toxic or hazardous.
More than a third of the samples gave off one chemical classified as a probable carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the research, published in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review. The EPA has set no safe exposure level for possible carcinogens.
Overall, the products tested emitted more than 420 chemicals, but virtually none were disclosed to consumers, said the study's lead author, Anne Steinemann, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington.
"Products with 'organic fragrance,' 'natural fragrance,' and 'essential oils' emitted just as many toxic chemicals," she said. "Basically, if it had any kind of fragrance or scent, it emitted toxic chemicals."
A single "fragrance" in a product can be a mixture of up to several hundred ingredients. But since manufacturers are not required to disclose all ingredients in cosmetics, cleaning supplies, air fresheners or laundry products, the majority of the chemicals are not listed on the labels.
The most common emissions the researchers found included limonene, a compound with a citrus scent; apha-pinene and beta-pinene, compounds with a pine scent; ethanol; and acetone, a solvent found in nail polish remover.
Brand names were not included in the data to avoid leaving the impression that products other than the ones reported in the study were safer. "We found potentially hazardous chemicals in all of the fragranced products we tested," said Steinemann.
While the study confirmed the ubiquitous presence of the chemicals, it doesn't look at whether the products are safe to use. Studies conducted by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials maintain that the ingredients are safe.
But previous research by Steinemann and a colleague showed that nearly 38 percent of Americans report adverse effects when exposed to some kind of fragranced products. Among asthmatics, such complaints were roughly twice as common.
The Household Product Labeling Act, currently being reviewed by the U.S. Senate, would require manufacturers to list ingredients in air fresheners, soaps, laundry supplies and other consumer products.
For consumers who want to avoid the chemicals, Steinemann suggests going back to basics: Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda, opening windows for ventilation instead of using air fresheners and using products without any fragrance.
But she cautioned that products called "fragrance-free" and "unscented" are not necessarily non-toxic. The chemicals identified in the study could have been part of the added fragrance, the product base, or both; product formulations are confidential so the researchers had no way of discerning the source.
Moreover, even if a product doesn't have a scent, it could still contain chemicals that are classified as toxic.
And as counterintuitive as this sounds, "even a 'fragrance-free'' or 'unscented' product can nonetheless be a fragranced product with the addition of a masking fragrance to cover the scent," she said.
For those of you who have been following this blog or our website at www.eatoils.com you will recognize this as another example of 'Greenwashing' - where someone claims to have 'Green' products and makes green claims yet they are only saying all the right words - not delivering the right products. If the Green product you are looking at does not include a Green APPROVAL - like GREENER-CHOICE™ then it is not Verified Green.
WorldWare Enterprises Ltd., Manufacturer of EATOILS™ GREENER-CHOICE™ APPROVED GREEN Cleaning products does not use any harmful chemicals in the production of its cleaning and treatment products. "Our Green cleaning and treatment products continue to be the standard in high performance, non toxic GREEN products by which all others are measured. If you are looking for a safe, green, yet highly effective cleaning product for your household or industrial application you should seriously consider trying EATOILS™ products - They are your Best Bet."
For more information about our EATOILS™ GREENER-CHOICE™ APPROVED GREEN products come to our website at www.eatoils.com or call our North America-Wide toll free number - 1-866-621-8244 - Customer Service Reps are always ready to answer your questions and to serve you - Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, EASTERN time.