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Chemicals used in Cleaning, Cosmetics and Construction

States are taking notice of the chemicals used in us, on us, and around us and are demanding that they be safer. Laws addressing cosmetics, cleaning products, and building materials are making these products safer and more transparent than ever before.

49 current policies in 15 states
24 adopted policies in 11 states
  • Current Policies
  • Adopted Policies
  • Both

What Are They?

Most people think that the chemicals used in cleaning products, cosmetics, and construction are evaluated for safety before they hit the market, but sadly that isn’t the case. Many of these chemicals contain deadly solvents, fragrances that cause allergic reactions, and antibacterial products that disrupt hormones and lead to bacterial resistance.

Salon workers, janitorial staff and construction tradespeople bear the brunt of the burden since they are surrounded by these chemicals on a daily basis. Many in these industries report increased rates of cancer, chemical sensitivity, and birth defects in their children likely due to the constant exposure to the chemicals they must work with every day.

We Eat Them

Like many chemicals, the solvents and plasticizers do not chemically bond to the product and settle on the food we eat.

We Drink Them

Chemicals used in cosmetics, cleaning, and construction are often washed down the drain, contaminating drinking water. While some are removed by local water agencies, many are not and can have devastating impacts on water quality.

We Breathe Them

Many of the chemicals in these products are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These chemicals off-gas into the air that we breathe which exacerbates respiratory conditions and in some cases can be deadly.

What More is Needed

We need more information about what is in our products. Recent policies mandating disclosure of ingredients in cleaning products is an excellent start, but we are still in the dark when it comes to many ingredients in cosmetics and building materials. Additionally, chemicals that are known to be deadly, including methylene chloride and NMP used in paint strippers, should be eliminated immediately from the market.

Bill Tracker for Chemicals used in Cleaning, Cosmetics and Construction

Current Policy

Adopted Policy

HB 6496: Requires local and regional boards of education to implement green cleaning programs for school buildings and facilities. (Adopted in 2009)