Coming Clean

Environmental Hall of Shame




From shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste to laundry detergent and window cleaners, hundreds of chemicals of unknown origin and effect can be found everywhere in our daily lives. Some are regulated by government agencies, but many are not; some cleaning products, for example, are not even required to list their ingredients on labels.

The research team at the nonprofit consumer watchdog Environmental Working Group has released a new Cleaners Hall of Shame database (Tinyurl.com/CleanerHallOfShame) that ranks more than 2,000 household cleaners by how hazardous their ingredients are and how much information is on their labels.

Many products contain ingredients known to cause asthma or are contaminated with carcinogens. Even so-called “green” products aren’t necessarily any better. Many of them boast of ingredients made from plants, rather than petroleum, but there is little or no safety data for some plant-based ingredients. A truly green product poses few risks to health or the environment and transparently informs users of its content.

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