A class of synthetic dyes used to colour a variety of consumer products, of which a small proportion contain or can break down into aromatic amines. Certain aromatic amines are considered to be hazardous and have been classified by the World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogens.
An industrial chemical used to make certain plastics. Commonly found in polycarbonate plastics and the linings of food cans. Some evidence to show that it is an endocrine disruptor. Its use in baby bottles has been banned in the European Union and other countries including Canada and Sweden.
A common substitute for BPA (see above) as a plasticizing agent, following abandonment of the latter in the manufacture of plastics. Some evidence to show that it is an endocrine disruptor with similar in vitro estrogenic activity to BPA.
Substance that is capable of causing cancer.
Substances that interfere with the proper working of the hormonal system. Hormones are responsible for development, behavior, fertility and the maintenance of normal cell metabolism, hence disruption may lead to the development of learning disabilities, cognitive and brain development problems and sexual development problems.
Environmental Working Group (EWG):
A non-profit non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Engages in research, education and advocacy. Find out more about their important work here.
A global organization that offers an alternative approach to conventional trade, helping famers and workers secure a better deal and improved terms of trade. Aims to tackle poverty and empower producers to improve their lives and plan for the future. Products with the FAIRTRADE mark meet internationally-agreed social, environmental and economic Fairtrade standards. The requirements for certification can be found here.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC):
A global non-profit organization established to promote responsible forest management worldwide. Products with FSC certification come from well-managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. The requirements for certification can be found here.
The practice of misleading consumers into thinking one’s company or product is safer or more environmentally friendly than it is. Can take the form of vague and unsupported “green” claims (e.g. “natural”) or overstating how “green” the product/company is. Learn more about it here.
A heavy metal. Some evidence that it irreversibly impacts brain development, causing learning and developmental problems. Some evidence too that it is an endocrine disruptor. Listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen.
Independent certification system of the Nordic countries. Products with their Nordic Ecolabel meet rigorous environmental and often climate requirements. The requirements for certification can be found here.
International independent testing and certification system for textiles. Products with their “Confidence in Textiles” label have been tested for harmful substances according to the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and were produced in sustainable production conditions. The requirements for certification can be found here.
Ingredient used in a variety of consumer products to inhibit bacteria growth. Some evidence to show that it is an endocrine disruptor. Commonly found in cosmetics and personal care products.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC):
A type of plastic found in a variety of consumer products including food packaging and shower curtains. Made of vinyl chloride which has been identified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organisation International Agency of Research on Cancer. Usually contains toxic additives such as phthalates and lead. Its manufacture and disposal also creates and releases dioxins which have been associated with cancer and reproductive, developmental and immunity problems.
A family of chemicals used in plastics to soften and increase its flexibility. Not chemically bound to the plastics they are added to by design, they are continuously released into the air or food or liquid. May be found in plastic food containers and children’s toys, as well as included under the term “fragrance”/”parfum” in skin care products and cleaners.
Manufactured using waste materials. The use of recycled material reduces consumption of raw materials, energy usage and pollution.
Replenished by natural processes at a rate equal to or faster than its consumption. Examples include bamboo and hemp, while fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource.
Silicone-based compounds. Some evidence that it is an endocrine disruptor and possible reproductive toxicant that may impair human fertility.
Either causing minimal long-term impact to the environment, or made with materials that are rapidly renewable, responsibly harvested or require no new raw materials in their manufacture. Examples of sustainable materials include mechanically-processed bamboo, cork, organic cotton or sustainably harvested wood.
Triclosan:Ingredient used to inhibit bacterial contamination. Some evidence that it is an endocrine disruptor. May be found in antibacterial soaps and kitchenware. Also a pesticide.