Toxic worries? website helps find safer products

New website contains info on toxic chemicals in products, testing results

Information gathered by advocates investigating toxic chemicals in food, baby products, toys, furniture, construction materials and other consumer goods was unveiled on a new website today (Aug. 22) to help shoppers,  including families, builders, and others, learn how to identify potentially harmful products and find safer ones. reflects the work of many organizations that are working to remove toxic chemicals from the marketplace and promote an economy based on safe, sustainable products. 

“Our team has been looking into toxic chemicals in a wide variety of consumer products for some time,”  says Jeff Gearhart, research director for the Ecology Center. “We’ve found lead, phthalates, brominated flame retardants and other hazardous chemicals in products, which we have compiled online at We are glad to join with our colleagues  in the National Workgroup for Safe Markets (SMW) nationwide in linking our information on”

“People assume that if a product is on store shelves, that it is safe, and unfortunately that couldn’t be further from the truth. While we wait for urgent reform of our nation’s chemicals regulations, it has fallen on moms and dads to become educated on how to protect themselves and their families from toxic chemicals in our homes, schools and hospitals,” explains Mike Schade, work group leader for the National Work Group for Safe Markets and markets campaign coordinator with Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ). “We have been sounding the alarm on toxic chemicals in back to school products for several years now, particularly lunchboxes, backpacks and other items made from vinyl-- a type of plastic with many hazardous ingredients including  phthalates which are linked to asthma and reproductive harm. Parents shopping for their children’s supplies can find links to CHEJ’s 2013 safer school supplies guide on”

“This new website is a one-stop shop to provide information for consumers, retailers and manufacturers that are demanding safer products,” adds Beverley Thorpe, also a WSM co-leader and consulting co-director for Clean Production Action (CPA). “Here at CPA, we’ve  developed  the ‘GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals’ that helps manufacturers and retailers figure out how to choose safer chemicals for their products. This and our BizNGO Guide to Safer Chemicals helps companies adopt safer chemicals. This new site will help companies find these resources and more.

"With toxic flame retardant chemicals in so many things, including upholstered furniture, many baby products, and so many other common household items, even some brands of soda, it's hard to get through the day without being exposed to them. These chemicals have been linked to neurological problems, infertility, endocrine disruption, even cancer. That's why it's crucial for consumers to educate themselves before they buy. This new site really has what we know all in one place," says Kathy Curtis, National Coordinator of the Alliance for Toxic Free Fire Safety.

“People of color are disproportionately impacted by toxic chemicals," explains Michele Roberts with the Environmental Health and Justice Alliance, "So it is particularly important for us to have access to information about toxics in products marketed to us. is a good start for gaining information on many products in our homes. We look forward to information on personal care products marketed to ethnic markets to be included here in the future."

Jamie McConnell, director of programs and policy for Women’s Voices for the Earth, and member of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, comments: “We’ve tested household products and found carcinogens and other harmful ingredients in cleansers, detergent, room fresheners and other everyday items used in many homes. is helping to promote our reports and information and make them more accessible to consumers and businesses.”

Mia Davis, VP of Health & Safety at Beautycounter, who is expecting her first child, says "It is about time we have a one stop web page that helps parents find safer products for their families. More than ever, people understand how important it is to shop with companies they trust and to support businesses working to create truly safe products."

“This website is a great resource that helps consumers connect the dots between the choices they make every day to use healthier consumer products, and the choices they have when making big budget decisions about how to  build or renovate a healthy home, " according to Bill Walsh, founder and executive director of the Healthy Building Network (HBN). The new SafeMarkets site features a link to the Pharos Project, HBN's database for finding less toxic products used in building materials.”

By working to eliminate toxic chemicals in products we are helping to eliminate toxic chemicals in communities near and far. Hazardous chemicals in consumer products begin in factories where workers and surrounding communities suffer ongoing exposure to toxic emissions from manufacturing and eventual disposal of these products.

For more information, contact: Jeff Gearhart Research Director By phone: 734-369-9276 Or email

Published on August 22, 2013

IMPORTANT NOTE: ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical.