Avoid products made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) plastic. Safer alternatives to vinyl building products can be found at the Healthy Building Network. PVC-free products for your school and home have been identified by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.
Minimize your use of other plastic and foam products, when practicable.
NPEs are rarely listed as an ingredient on a product label. Since NPEs are widely used in large amounts in virtually all household paints, you should ask paint manufacturers to reformulate with safer alternatives.
Wash new clothes before you wear them to reduce exposure to NPEs in your home. (NPEs still need to be phased out of textile processing to protect the environment).
Avoid the specific cleaners and stain removers that contain NPEs, as reported to the State of Maine by consumer product manufacturers.
Reduce reliance on toys and games that use synthetic rubber, plastics and foams. Search the State of Washington database for specific children’s products that contain NPEs.
Urge Gap Inc. and other members of the footwear and apparel industry coalition to achieve their goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals, including NPEs, by 2020.
Don’t use pesticides inside your home. Avoid buying food packaged in plastics whenever practicable.
Check the label: avoid products with the words triclosan and triclocarban on the ingredient labels of personal care products, soaps and hand sanitizers. Triclosan may also marketed under the trade name Microban™ when used in plastics and clothing, and Biofresh™ when used in acrylic fibers.
Be wary of products like cutting boards that are labeled as "anti-microbial" or "anti-bacterial."
Stick to washing your hands with hot water and soap and alcohol based hand sanitizers when on the go.
Avoid stain-resistance treatments. Choose furniture and carpets that aren’t marketed as “stain-resistant,” and don’t apply finishing treatments such as Stainmaster®.
Choose clothing that doesn’t carry Teflon™ or Scotchgard™ tags. This includes fabric labeled stain- or water-repellent. When possible, opt for untreated cotton and wool. Check out this guide to greener rain gear.
Replace your non-stick cookware with stainless steel. If you choose to continue using non-stick cookware, be very careful not to let it heat to above 450ºF. Discard products if non-stick coatings show signs of deterioration.
PFCs can be found in dental floss and a variety of cosmetics, including nail polish, facial moisturizers, and eye make-up. Steer clear of personal care products made with Teflon™ or containing ingredients that include the words "fluoro" or "perfluoro."
Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission Website and search for toys and other products that have been recalled because of lead and other safety reasons.
Get rid of cheap children's jewelry and avoid buying new pieces because so many items are loaded with toxic lead and cadmium.
Labeling laws in some states may aid you in identifying which products contain certain toxic metals like mercury.
Refer to Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, which evaluates companies on efforts to remove toxics from their products, as well as on climate impacts and recycling.
Ask retailers and toymakers how they ensure their manufacturers have adhered to high standards. Use your purchasing power to support companies or products that are moving in the right direction.
Avoid Styrofoam cups and containers, which are usually labeled with the number 6 recycling logo.
When shopping for groceries, select items that are unwrapped, or wrapped in non-polystyrene materials.
Phthalates are found in most soft vinyl (PVC) products. Unfortunately, you can't tell if there are phthalates in personal care products without laboratory testing. If the label says "fragrance," it may have phthalates. To learn whether there are phthalates in your flooring, shower curtains, childrens’ lunchboxes, or other products, ask the manufacturer.
To find products with parabens, look for any ingredient on the label that ends with "paraben"). Some products that may contain parabens include cosmetics, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner and hair styling gel.
Flame retardants are often added to foam cushions in couches, chairs and mats; to plastics used in electronics and other products; and in foam insulation. Ask manufacturers to learn whether flame retardants are present in a particular product.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in polycarbonate plastic—usually marked with recycling symbol No. 7 and “PC”. Not all No. 7 plastic contains BPA, so look for products specifically labeled as "BPA-free." Most canned foods and metal jar lids have BPA-based linings, unless the company has indicated otherwise, and are thought to be a major source of current BPA exposure.
Bisphenol S (BPS) is found in some thermal paper cash register receipts, and appears to have similar health risks as BPA.
Many products release formaldehyde. To find personal care products with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, look for DMDM Hydantoin, Quaternium 15 or Bronopol on the ingredients label. Formaldehyde is also commonly released from resins used in building materials, and on wrinkle-free clothing and linens.
* The Hazardous 100+ list was updated on September 20, 2013 to reflect the European Union's naming of additional chemicals to the "Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern for Authorisation." As a result, one chemical class was added to the Hazardous 100+ list, namely nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs).