How to avoid dangerous chemicals in household products

Despite having names like “Fresh Rain” and “Linen,” everyday household products can actually harbor many chemicals that aren’t as safe as they sound.

According to the Environmental Working Group, 66 percent of those chemicals have never even been tested.

Terri Trespicio, a spokesperson from Seventh Generation, a company that manufactures natural household products, said chemicals could be lurking in any product you bring into your home or put on your body.

“We’re talking things you clean your body with, personal-care items, house-cleaning [items], air fresheners,” Trespicio told  “All that stuff is loaded with fragrances, and the reason they haven’t been tested is because of a….loophole in the federal law from 80 years ago that allowed companies to not have to disclose what’s in ‘fragrances.’”

When it comes to petroleum-based and synthetic fragrances, Trespicio said they can cause many adverse health effects, such as allergic reactions, contact dermatitis, headaches and asthma problems.  While these side effects are troubling, the more worrisome problem is that their long-term exposure has not been studied.

“What they are seeing is that they act as endocrine disruptors,” Trespicio said, “which means that these chemicals act like hormones and send messages to your body that your body doesn’t necessarily want sent.  That can throw of your metabolism big time.”

Trespicio warned consumers should also not be fooled by the term “unscented,” because often products use more chemicals to mask the smell of other chemicals.

According to her, the best way people can combat these unwanted health effects is to do their homework and purchase products without artificial fragrances.  Trespicio said consumers should go with trusted brands, whose mission is not to load their products with chemicals.

Seventh Generation just started a brand-new personal care line – without using synthetic dyes or artificial colors.

“Then you have Jason Brand, Burt’s Bees, Desert Essence – these are brands that if you go on their website, they’re very clear: ‘This is what we believe in; this is what we do,’” Trespicio said. “And look, you’re using these every day – on your body, your inhaling them, it gets in your mouth, it gets in your pores – so you really want to look at where you can cut back.”

For more information on how to shop for chemical-free products, visit