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“Green” household items may contain harmful chemicals

Items in your household carrying the “green” tag may contain dangerous chemicals that could potentially harm your health and affect the environment, a new study found.

Scientists from University of Melbourne, Australia tested 37 air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry products and personal care products, including baby shampoo and found 156 volatile compounds, 42 of which are classified as toxic or hazardous under US law.

Even worse, almost none of the compounds were placed on the label or the data sheet, according to Dr. Anne Steinemann, study leader and professor in the school of engineering.

“The public lacks full and accurate information on the ingredients in these products,” she said.

Dr. Steinemann said Australian law did not require makers of household products to list all their ingredients.

The cosmetics and personal care products however, must list all the ingredients. Whatever is listed as a fragrance does not have to disclose what ingredients it uses. Therefore, a fragrance can be a mixture of several dozen to several hundred chemicals.

Dr Steinemann said the seven “green” products tested contained similar volatile compounds to those in the regular products.

The names of the products tested have not been released, but she said they were commonly used in the home, schools, hospitals, workplaces and hotels.

Some of the most common chemical in fragrances were terpenes, such as limonene and alpha-pinene.

Based on the findings, Dr. Steinemann estimates more research is needed to evaluate the potential risks of the chemicals involved.

“Green” household items may contain harmful chemicals

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