Every day, we come into contact with hundreds of synthetic chemicals through the use of personal care and household products—cosmetics, sunscreens, laundry detergents, furniture, bedding, even shower curtains. Yet only a fraction of the chemicals in these products has been thoroughly tested for safety, and many of them are known to be toxic but are still in use due to weak chemical regulations. Thankfully, there are choices we can make to reduce our exposures to worrisome chemicals. Here are some tips to help guide you toward a safer and healthier life. We also put together a summary tip sheet on how to Detox Your Dorm.


  • Detox Your Dorm

    The problem: Dorm rooms are usually small spaces with a lot of furnishings, electronics, and other items that may contain flame retardants, highly fluorinated chemicals, phthalates, and other chemicals of concern. What you can do:  Detox Your Dorm! Follow our summary of tips on how to keep a toxic-free dorm

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    Looking Your Best

    The problem: Cosmetics and personal care products such as moisturizers, shampoos, makeup, sunscreens, hair styling gels, and shaving products, routinely contain parabens — a class of chemicals commonly used as a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria and increase the product's shelf life. However, parabens have been shown to

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  • tip_flame

    Flame Retardants Feeling the Heat

    The problem: Toxic flame retardants are found in a variety of consumer products, including upholstered furniture, textiles, and many electronic devices. The chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, decreased brain functioning, and thyroid problems, can migrate out of products and accumulate in dust. Originally, manufacturers added the chemicals to

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    Foul Fragrances

    The problem: Fragrances are often added to products such as perfume, scented candles, air fresheners, and dryer sheets to create a desired scent, or even to mask other scents. A single fragranced product might contain as many as 300 different chemicals, many of which are irritants and allergy triggers. Phthalates,

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  • detergent feature

    Dirty Detergents

    The problem: Cleaning products are a source of exposure to toxic chemicals. Studies have shown that alkylphenols, a family of chemicals used as surfactants in detergents, disinfectants, and surface cleaners, are abundant indoors. Widespread exposure to alkylphenols is concerning because the chemicals are known to mimic the natural hormone estrogen.

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  • tip_plastics

    Plastics: Handle with Care

    The problem: Plastics commonly used in food packaging can leach hormone-disrupting chemicals into food and beverages. For example, BPA is often found in the plastic lining of canned goods, as well as in hard, clear plastic items such as older water bottles. Phthalates are chemicals routinely added to make plastics

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  • tip_triclosan

    The Trouble with Triclosan

    The Problem: A widespread fear of bacteria in recent years has led to a whole suite of consumer products marketed as “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial.” Today, you can buy antibacterial soap, cutting boards, pencils, binders, scissors, yoga mats, you name it. One chemical that makes these products antibacterial is triclosan, which

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