Could some of our most common household products be slowly poisoning us? That’s a question currently being researched by the Washington State Department of Ecology.
In a report to the Washington State Legislature, the department has compiled a list of 11 categories of routine household products that contain potentially dangerous chemicals.
“There is very little oversight when products make it to a shelf,” said Lauren Tamboer, communications consultant for the Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program. “It’s hard to test everything that is sold on the market, and we’re really trying to catch up with the toxics research.”
These products can include everyday items such as upholstered furniture, mattress pads, curtains, food and drink cans, laundry detergent, vinyl flooring, and cosmetics or toiletries — especially those with fragrances, as potentially dangerous chemicals can be used to make scents last longer.
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Prolonged exposure to the chemicals can lead to health consequences like cancer, liver and kidney problems, and hormone issues.
“Some really common household products that we interact with pretty frequently unfortunately do contain levels of toxic chemicals,” Tamboer said. “And what we’re trying to figure out is, do we need to regulate those chemicals in order to protect people in Washington and to protect sensitive species like our orcas and our salmon?”
The department will spend the next two years doing research to see if these chemicals should be regulated or altogether replaced with safer alternatives. New rules and limitations would apply to any product sold in Washington, even if

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