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Early 2015 Update

Date posted: 2014-12-09

EWG will be adding new data to the Guide to Healthy Cleaning in February 2015. The new data is based on a published analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ToxCast data, which includes information about chemicals that may disrupt hormones. The new data may or may not affect product scores.

Babyganics Update

Date posted: 2014-08-26

EWG is updating the Guide to Healthy Cleaning to reflect new information from Babyganics.

March 2013 Update

Date posted: 2013-03-27

EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning has been updated to include more products and brands. Search now to learn how your cleaning products rate and if there are safer alternatives.

"Natural" Extracts Can Trigger Allergies

Date posted: 2013-02-08

By Johanna Congleton, EWG Senior Scientist

Allergies are an increasingly serious health issue for millions of Americans, especially children.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  estimates that the number of American children and teenagers reported to suffer skin allergies more than quadrupled, from 2 million reported cases between 1999 and 2001 to nearly 9 million between 2008 and 2010.   Another 12.6 million children and teens were estimated to suffer from respiratory allergies in 2008 to 2010, the CDC said, almost triple the estimate of 4.4 million in 1999 to 2001.

EWG to review formaldehyde releasers

Date posted: 2012-12-03

The Environmental Working Group has launched an investigation of ingredients added to cleaning products in order to release formaldehyde. Manufacturers of cleaners compound their products with these chemicals knowing they will break down in a gradual time-release manner to generate small amounts of formaldehyde that serve as a preservative to retard the growth of bacteria.

This industry practice may pose health risks for consumers.

The U.S. government and World Health Organization classify inhaled formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. Skin contact with formaldehyde may cause an allergic reaction. Formaldehyde is a skin sensitizer: repeated exposures increase the chance of having an allergic reaction.

People daily encounter background levels of airborne formaldehyde from vehicle exhaust fumes and other air pollutants. Still, we believe it is prudent for consumers to avoid additional exposure to formaldehyde via cleaning products and personal care items because there is no known safe level of the chemical.

Cleaning product manufacturers can switch to other preservative methods that do not rely on formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals.

While we take a close look at the human health risks posed by the presence of these chemicals in cleaning products, we continue to advise consumers to read labels carefully and seek out products free of formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing substances.

The formaldehyde releasers found in many cleaning products include:

  • DMDM hydantoin (trade name Glydant)
  • Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol)
  • Quaternium-15
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Hexahydro-1,3,5-tris (2-hydroxyethyl)-S-triazine (trade name Grotan)

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About the ratings About the ratings
EWG provides information on cleaning product ingredients from the published scientific... continue reading →
EWG provides information on cleaning product ingredients from published scientific literature, to supplement incomplete data available from companies and the government. The ratings indicate the relative level of concern posed by exposure to the ingredients in this product - not the product itself - compared to other product formulations. The ratings reflect potential health hazards but do not account for the level of exposure or individual susceptibility, factors that determine actual health risks, if any. (Hide)
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