test tubes in the Healthy Stuff Lab

Healthy Stuff Lab Develops Rapid Screening Methods for Detecting Chemicals of Concern

What hazardous chemicals are lurking in everyday products? The government, non-profit, and private sectors are heavily invested in addressing this question as many toxic chemicals found in consumer products are increasingly being tied to adverse health impacts–from disruption of hormones, cancers, to impaired brain development and more. 

Traditional methods in place to test products for such chemicals, although precise, are expensive and time intensive. This potentially dissuades product makers, retailers, NGOs, and government agencies from large-scale testing of products. The lack of testing puts all who come in contact with or use such products at greater risks from chemical hazards.

Gillian Z. Miller, Jeff Gearhart, and colleagues from our Healthy Stuff Lab at the Ecology Center have developed testing methods to help with this conundrum.

Using an infrared analyzer, we can rapidly test a wide variety of consumer products for hormone-disrupting chemicals whilst minimizing chemical and material waste. 

This is a tool for product makers who want to ensure their products are free of hazardous chemicals, and for researchers and professionals in NGOs and allied sectors, who work on reducing exposure to chemicals that increase disease risk.

We are pleased to announce that a peer-reviewed paper describing this work has been published in the prestigious Journal of Environmental Health. 

Miller and Gearhart, “A Rapid Screening Method for Detecting Hazardous Chemicals in Consumer Products, Food Contact Materials, and Thermal Paper Receipts Using ATR-FTIR Spectroscopy,” Journal of Environmental Health (November 2022), v. 85, no. 4, p. 8-15