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Personal care product giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) recently unveiled a new preservative tracker, which lets consumers know which preservatives are included in various categories of P&G’s products, such as baby wipes, skin care, and hair care products. Consumers can search the tracker by ingredient or by product type.
This is a step in the right direction, but more should be done to ensure our everyday personal care products are toxic-free. P&G should make sure information regarding their preservative policy is well-publicized to the public by putting this information on product boxes and promoting their new preservative policy websites. P&G should also remove chemicals of concern from all product categories, and disclose fragrance ingredients.
Preservatives are often used in personal care products in order to prevent the growth of microbes in product containers. Common preservatives include parabens, formaldehyde, and phenoxyethanol. Many of these preservatives have been linked to negative health effects like cancer and reproductive problems.
One positive change that P&G made is phasing out the chemical phenoxyethanol from their baby wipes. Phenoxyethanol was used in Pampers baby wipes, and has been linked to nervous system problems in infants exposed orally. It is also linked to allergic reactions and eczema. P&G should completely phase out phenoxyethanol, which they currently use in certain skin care and hair care products.
P&G has also committed to phase out the use of triclosan/triclocarbon by 2017. Studies have linked triclocarbon to hormone disruption.
P&G does not use parabens in their baby wipes, but they still use parabens such as methyl-, ethyl-, and propyl-parabens in their skin and hair care products. These parabens have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive problems and P&G should remove them completely from all of their personal care products.
The ingredient “fragrance” or “parfum” refers to a mixture of scent chemicals and ingredients that are not disclosed. According to the International Fragrance Association approximately 3,000 chemicals can be used to make fragrance, some of which are linked to cancer, reproductive and respiratory problems, and allergies. P&G should take the lead and fully disclose to the public which chemicals are in their fragrances.
P&G’s new preservative tracker and policies are positive changes in the industry which other manufacturers should follow, but more should be done to ensure that our families are using safe, non-toxic products on their bodies.
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