New Study Reveals Potentially Harmful Chemicals in Popular Shampoos
A recent investigation conducted by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals found potentially harmful chemicals in over 40% of shampoos. The study also highlighted the availability of numerous safer alternatives.
The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals examined the ingredients lists of 72 shampoos from brands such as Maui, The Body Shop, L’oreal and Redken, and ranked the products based on their chemical content. See the full list of products that were tested and their rankings here.
30 of the products received the lowest ‘C-rating’, because they contained chemicals such as suspected endocrine disruptors, allergenic substances, or chemicals that can be problematic for the environment.
Over half of the products contained perfume. Fragrances and perfumes can be problematic because they may contain harmful chemicals, but there is no legal requirement for the chemical components of perfumes and fragrances to be included on cosmetic’s ingredient lists. To reduce your risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries CHEM Trust recommends limiting your use of products containing perfumes.
One shampoo (curl shampoo from ‘Living Proof’) contained a PFAS ‘forever chemical’. PFAS are a family of chemicals used in a wide range of everyday products, however, their extreme persistence, and the ability of some PFAS to bioaccumulate (build-up in the bodies of wildlife and people) have raised serious health and environmental concerns.
The study found that 24 of the products did not contain concerning chemicals, which suggests that safer alternatives are available.
Products containing potentially harmful chemicals can contribute to our overall exposure to harmful chemicals. We are constantly exposed to a complex cocktail of known and suspected harmful chemicals from multiple sources, including air, water, food and consumer products. Current regulations fail to sufficiently protect people and the environment from this combined exposure effect. Read more about the cocktail effect in our report ‘Chemical Cocktails: The neglected threat of toxic mixtures and how to fix it’.
CHEM Trust is calling on the EU authorities and UK government to protect people and nature from harmful chemicals by introducing robust legislation to phase out the most harmful chemicals from consumer products by 2030.
For tips on avoiding potentially harmful chemicals in shampoos see the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemical’s article. You can find advice on reducing your risk of exposure to harmful chemicals in toiletries, cosmetics and menstrual product on our reduce your risk webpage.