The Sweet Smell of Carcinogens

Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, shampoos, air fresheners, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and “odor neutralizing” sprays–all come in a variety of chemically created scents, and many of the chemicals are classified as toxic.

A study reported in ScienceDaily reported that 25 commonly used scented products emit an average of 17 chemicals each. Of the 133 different chemicals detected, nearly a quarter are classified as toxic or hazardous under at least one federal law. Only one emitted compound was listed on a product label, and only two were publicly disclosed anywhere. The frightening fact is that these toxic chemicals were included even in products labeled as “natural.”

“We analyzed best-selling products, and about half of them made some claim about being green, organic or natural,” said lead author Anne Steinemann, a University of Washington professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs. “Surprisingly, the green products’ emissions of hazardous chemicals were not significantly different from the other products.” [italics added by blogger]

Believe it or not, manufacturers are not required to disclose any ingredients in cleaning supplies, air fresheners, or laundry products…and all those products, as well as personal care products (such as soaps and shampoos), are not required to list ingredients used to create fragrances. But get this: Creating a single fragrance can require mixing several hundred chemical ingredients.

Of the 25 products tested, all–ALL–emitted at least one chemical classified as toxic or hazardous. Eleven products emitted at least one probable carcinogen. And the 25 products emitted a cumulative total of 420 chemicals and none of them were disclosed on the product labels. Why? The manufacturers claim that their scents are based on secret formulas.

The researchers, and many physicians who study chemical hazards, say that the best way to avoid potential toxic exposure is to use unscented products. If unscented isn’t a possibility, make sure you open windows to ventilate the area.

“In the past two years, I’ve received more than 1,000 e-mails, messages, and telephone calls from people saying: ‘Thank you for doing this research, these products are making me sick, and now I can start to understand why,'” Steinemann said.

To read the full article, click here:  Scented Consumer Products Shown to Emit Many Unlisted Chemicals

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