Labels don’t list questionable ingredients in conventional and alternative soaps, diapers and make-up

Nature Boston took a walk down the aisle of Whole Foods and  Rite Aid with Ruth Rudell to talk about the new study from Silent Spring Institute

From the press release:

Investigators tested products for the presence of hormone disruptors that raise concerns for breast cancer, growth, and reproduction, as well as chemicals associated with asthma. They found the highest concentrations in vinyl products, such as shower curtains and pillow protectors, and fragranced products, such as dryer sheets, and sunscreens. Of the alternative sunscreens tested, the product with the highest number of target chemicals was actually one marketed for babies and children.

Silent Spring Institute’s earlier research, as well as the Centers for Disease Control’s biomonitoring studies, have found many of the study chemicals in people’s homes and bodies.  Now this study adds information about where the exposures are coming from in everyday products.   

Rudel pointed out that the exact impact of these chemical on human health remains unclear. Lab and animals test have linked endocrine disruptors to breast cancer, but critics say there is no proof the same thing happen in humans. They argue that the the risks of the chemicals — which hit the mainstream  with the 1996 publication of the book Our Stolen Future — have been overstated.

Here’s Rudel’s response:

Most of these endocrine disruptors are very, very difficult to study in humans,” Rudel said.  “There are so many different chemicals, we don’t know how to measure all the exposures, we don’t’ know how to add them up or which ones are acting together.”

It may be years before the full impact of hormone disruptors is well understood. In the meantime, Rudel thinks that some people may not want to take their chances. There are ways to avoid them – by using soap and water instead of chemical cleaners. And in some cases, like triclosan, they don’t offer much of a benefit, so it won’t be much of a loss.

If you want to getyon that plan, SSI has some suggestions about how to avoid these substances.

More at Nature Boston

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