Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is It Really Non-Toxic?

Check out this interesting report from Discovery News about "Non-Toxic" scented products that emit toxic chemicals.
"In an analysis of 25 of the most commonly used scented products -- including ones labeled "organic," "natural" or "non-toxic" -- scientists identified at least 133 chemicals wafting off of them. A quarter of those chemicals were classified as hazardous or toxic. Virtually none were listed on product labels.
Along with prior evidence that nearly a third of Americans develop headaches, breathing problems and other symptoms when exposed to scented products, the new findings suggest that efforts to smell nice threaten both your health and the health of people around you.
In sealed glass containers, the researchers meticulously measured all of the gaseous chemicals, called volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), that came out of each product. They recorded only emissions that appeared in significant amounts.
In total, the products emitted 133 different chemicals, the team reported in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review, with an average of 17 chemicals off-gassing from each one.
Twenty-four of the VOCs were classified as toxic or hazardous under at least one federal law. Eleven of the products emitted chemicals that are known carcinogens. Some of the chemicals are not safe at any level of exposure.
Results were exactly the same for both traditional and green products. In fact, all of the natural products emitted at least two VOCs that were hazardous or toxic. A third of them emitted at least one carcinogen.
Only one of the 133 identified chemicals appeared on any label anywhere. Just two chemicals appeared on safety data sheets. Some labels offered vague references to "cleaning agents," "softeners," "fragrances" or "essential oils." But many listed none at all, which by law, is OK.

Babies and children are especially vulnerable. And repeated low-level exposures appear able to trigger problems in people who were previously not bothered by smells."

Source: Discovery News

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