Safer Products for Washington resources

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Most of us think products must be tested for harmful chemicals before they reach the shelf. Many of us also think there must be someone checking what companies can and cannot put into products. Unfortunately, for most products, this is not true.

Our Safer Products for Washington program works to make consumer products safer. Learn more about:

  • Types of harmful, unregulated chemicals in everyday products.
  • Products in your home that might have these chemicals.
  • How you can protect yourself from exposure.

Which toxic chemicals are unregulated?

These versatile, human-made chemicals are used widely and often and are testing as harmful to:

  • Human health: Cancer-causing, among other potential health hazards.
  • Environmental healthBuilding up in water, sediments, air, wildlife (i.e., persistent), and worsening as they move up the food chain.
  • Wildlife: Threatening the health of species like orcas, salmon, birds, seals, and others. 

Beaker icon. Click the image to read publication 20-04-043, Keeping your home and family healthy: Reduce your exposure to PFAS

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that manufacturers use to make products more stain- and water-resistant. Exposure to certain PFAS is tied to a range of health issues, including cancer.

Flame retardants

Flame retardant chemicals are most often applied to products to meet fire-safety requirements (i.e., to slow the progression of fires should they occur). Certain flame retardants are toxic and build up in our bodies and in wildlife.

Hand holds a bottle with question mark. Click to read publication 22-04-038, Reduce Your Exposure to Harmful Chemicals in Self-Care Products
Toxic chemicals in self-care products

Some self-care products, such as cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, nail polish, and hair products contain toxic chemicals. For example, adding phthalates to products can make scents last longer.


What else can you do?

Small changes have a compounding effect. Simple choices you can make are:

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