A Silent Spring Institute study has recommended that chemicals in air fresheners, carpet cleaners, sunscreens, and other household and consumer products be identified on labels, especially when products contain multiple chemicals that may interact with each other. Robin E. Dotson, et al., “Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products,” Environmental Health Perspectives, March 8, 2012. Researchers analyzed concentrations of nearly six dozen chemicals in 213 “conventional” cosmetic, personal care, cleaning, and other products, and concentrations of those chemicals in 43 “alternative” products, many of which were advertised as “green.”
According to the study, chemical concentrations ranged from low to substantial. Among the chemicals analyzed were parabens, phthalates, bisphenol A, triclosan, fragrances, and the ultraviolet-light blocking compounds used in sunscreens. For most samples tested, chemical levels were below the equipment’s detection level of 1 microgram per gram, but the researchers found 26 chemicals at levels above the detection limit. The detected chemicals were found in conventional as well as alternative products. Some chemicals were detected in products even though they were not listed on product labels, and many product labels did not list chemicals.