Found in: bathroom cleaners and possibly some laundry detergents (more common in industrial formulations). Health Risks: Rated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen. In an assessment of nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), a related chemical that is analytically identical in solution, Health Canada concluded that the concentrations of NTA/trisodium nitrilotriacetate in drinking water […]


Found in: dish soaps and disinfectants, as well as a wide range of other household products. Look for it listed as an “active ingredient” in antibacterial products. Health Risks: Toxic and a suspected endocrine disrupter that can mimic or interfere with the function of hormones. The European Union classifies triclosan as irritating to the skin and eyes, and […]


Found in: dish soap, liquid laundry detergents, cleaning towelettes, and toilet bowl cleaners Health Risks: Sodium lauryl sulfate is a skin irritant and Environment Canada’s preliminary categorization of this chemical indicates that it may be toxic to the environment. Sodium laureth sulfate is the “ethoxylated” form of this chemical, which is less harsh. However, the process of […]


Found in: Abrasive cleaning powders. Health Risks: Rated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a known human carcinogen. This natural ingredient (made from finely ground quartz) is hazardous as a dust if inhaled.


Found in: Dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners. Health Risks: Perc is a neurotoxin, according to the chief scientist of environmental protection for the New York Attorney General’s office. And the EPA classifies perc as a “possible carcinogen” as well. People who live in residential buildings where dry cleaners are located have reported dizziness, […]


Found in: It is used in mothballs and some washroom deodorizers and urinal blocks. Health Risks: This highly volatile registered pesticide is in the same chemical class as DDT.  It is a suspected carcinogen, and may cause lung, liver and kidney damage.


Found in: shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants Health Risks: Parabens are hormone disruptors. Parabens are chemicals with estrogen-like properties (estrogenic activity in the body is associated with certain forms of breast cancer) that are added to countless cosmetics and personal care products as preservatives and to inhibit bacterial growth. They have been detected in […]


Found in: liquid laundry detergents, stain removers, all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, degreasers, and car wash products. Health Risks:  Degrade into nonylphenols (NPs), which can mimic the hormone estrogen. In laboratory experiments, NP has been shown to stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells and cause adverse reproductive effects in fish and other […]


Found in: mothballs, and some other pest repellants, as well as in deodorizers. Health Risks:  This registered pesticide is listed as a suspected carcinogen in California. As a reproductive toxin, it is transported across the placenta and can cause blood damage.  It can cause liver and kidney damage, and corneal damage and cataracts.  Skin exposure […]


Found in:  Used in a wide range of products, including some furniture polishes. Formaldehyde may be released by other chemicals, eg.quaternary 15. Health Risks:  In lab tests, formaldehyde has caused cancer and damaged DNA.  Formaldehyde is also a sensitizer, with the potential to cause asthma. Several laboratory studies have shown it to be a central […]