Study Finds Chemicals that May Harm Health and the Environment in Wool Detergents
A recent investigation by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has found potentially harmful chemicals in almost one third of wool detergents. However, the study also found that safer options are available.
The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals scrutinised the ingredient lists of 33 wool detergents purchased from the Danish market. They ranked the products based on their chemical content.
11 of the wool detergents received the highest ‘A-rating’ because they did not contain potentially harmful chemicals.
However, 10 of the wool detergents received the lowest ‘C-rating’ because they contained suspected endocrine disruptors, allergenic chemicals, or environmentally problematic substances. One of the products contained a chemical that can harm aquatic organisms. This is concerning because detergent residues end up in our waterways, where they can impact aquatic animals and plants.
We can be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals in wool detergents because some of the product may remain on clothing after it has been washed. We are also exposed when hand-washing clothing.
The availability of products without potentially harmful chemicals highlights the unnecessary use of these substances in wool detergents.
Products containing potentially harmful chemicals can add 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 everyday 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’.
In the EU, a revision of the Detergent Regulation is underway. This provides an opportunity for decision-makers to introduce stronger laws to regulate the use of potentially harmful chemicals in detergents that are sold on the European market.
Alongside other NGOs, CHEM Trust is calling on the EU authorities to use this opportunity to address the use of hazardous substances, such as endocrine disruptors in detergents.
CHEM Trust is also advocating for EU authorities and the UK government to protect people and nature by introducing robust legislation to phase out the most harmful chemicals from consumer products by 2030.