Rubbing lotion on your cracked heels, suds-ing up with your favourite soap, styling your Justin Bieber haircut with the latest pomade – these are all things we likely do dozens of times a week. And perhaps thousands of times a year. And yet, we hardly ever stop to reflect on some of the potential effects it may have on our health.
But a new study has examined consumer attitudes when it comes to the dozens of products we use each day. And it suggests there is a high number of Americans concerned about the potentially harmful chemicals that may be lurking in these products.
Nearly two-thirds of all Americans (64%) say they are “concerned” or “very concerned” about potentially harmful chemicals and petroleum-based ingredients found in everyday personal care, household cleaning, laundry and baby care products. Top concerns of petroleum-based products are “long term health effects” (75%) and “absorption through the skin” (71%).
The worries were reportedly similar across age, gender and other demographic categories.
The study, released today, was commissioned by Seventh Generation. The company makes renewable household and personal care products. The team questioned 1,000 Americans to gage awareness, attitudes and concerns about ingredients found in products they use daily.
“The level of concern voiced by the American public represents a mandate for immediate, sweeping systemic change,” said Seventh Generation CEO John Replogle. “It’s a big issue with consumers. And it’s getting bigger.”
Dr. Deepak Chopra is a recognized expert in the field of wellness and sustainability. He says the study suggests Americans are undermining their wellness through daily exposure to toxins: “The elimination of toxins awakens the capacity for renewal.”
The study questioned respondents on a slew of issues. These issues included awareness of “biobased” products. Biobased means that the “products are made with renewable agricultural content such as plant, animal, marine or forestry materials”. Respondents were also asked about attitudes toward the use of petroleum-based products and petro-chemicals in many common consumer products.
According to the study, Americans are concerned about potentially harmful chemicals in their household cleaning (66%) and personal care products (65%), as well as laundry (63%) and baby care products (60%). Note: percentages combine “concerned” and “very concerned” responses.
When asked specifically about petro-chemicals in personal care, home cleaning, laundry and baby care products, top concerns of “long-term health risks” (75%) and “absorption through the skin” (71%) were followed by “potential skin irritation” (69%), “inhaling toxins” and “negative impact on the environment” (both 60%).
In fact, researchers say more than half (54%) went so far as to agree “brands should be required to post warning labels on their packages if their products contain petro-chemicals.” Nearly two-thirds (60%) reported that they are “likely” or “very likely” to seek biobased products the next time they shop.
“This study shows that people understand what the science is telling us — that exposure to toxic chemicals in our everyday products increases risk for many diseases, including breast cancer,” said Jeanne Rizzo, president and CEO, The Breast Cancer Fund. “As more and more people begin to connect the dots between toxic exposures and disease, they say, ‘Enough! No more toxic trespass! We want safer products!'”
Although Americans may have a small sense of worry in the back of their minds, the study suggests nearly half of them (50%) are unaware that many personal care, household cleaning, laundry and baby care products contain petroleum-based ingredients or petro-chemicals.
According to study researchers, the focus on ingredients in everyday products has increased in recent years. They note that three weeks ago, Johnson and Johnson announced plans to remove carcinogens and other toxic chemicals from its personal care products by 2015.