A third of household products “potentially harmful”, alert “60 million consumers”

A third of household products contain a significant amount of substances “Potentially harmful”, ensures the review 60 million consumers in a special issue published Thursday, December 9.

The magazine published by the National Institute of Consumption (INC) studied the composition of 119 cleaning products from 52 brands purchased in April and July 2021, based on the labels and lists of ingredients published by manufacturers on their site and safety data sheets, which specify the concentration of the substances. He then assigned each one a “Ménag’Score” to evaluate them on a scale from A to E, that is to say “Products to be used without reservation” of “Strongly discouraged products”, which contain “Too many problematic substances”.

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A total of 39 references are not recommended because they are rated D or E. They contain a large amount of irritating or allergenic substances, such as certain perfumes, as well as substances “Very harmful to health or the environment”, some of which are suspected of being carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction or even endocrine disruptors.

“These products are not necessarily going to pose a problem for everyone; people with allergies, for example, will be more sensitive to them”, specifies to Agence France-Presse (AFP) Sophie Coisne, editor-in-chief of this special issue. “But manufacturers still have some work to do. “

60 million consumers Above all, you should be wary of disinfectant wipes for toilets and multisurfaces, because 75% are rated D or E. The same goes for disinfectant sprays and deodorants, about half of which are not recommended by the magazine.

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A “Toxi-score” on household products

“Disinfectants are essential when you want to get rid of microorganisms and viruses, especially during this period”, reacted to AFP Virginie d’Enfert, general delegate of the French association of industries of detergency, cleaning products and industrial hygiene products, Afise, which represents manufacturers. According to her, the products currently on the market are “Perfectly safe” on condition that the precautions for use are observed, as they are subject to controls.

The Ménag’Score was developed by experts from the INC in 2019 on the model of the Nutri-score existing in food in order to assess the chemical risk of cleaning products for the environment and for health. . He gives more weight in his calculation “With the most worrying components for human health and the most concentrated ingredients”, precise 60 million consumers on his site.

But the exact method of calculating the Ménag’Score is not known, criticizes Afise, who pleads for “A methodology shared with manufacturers”.

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The INC launched a petition in August 2019 to request the affixing of this labeling on household products, which has collected more than 38,000 signatures. For its part, the government announced last May that it intended to launch, in the course of 2022, a “Toxi-score” on household products in order to assess their harmfulness.

If the manufacturers are not hostile to this idea, they nevertheless warn against the risk of an overly simplistic use of cleaning products. Even with those who are highly rated, “The consumer must not lower their guard, because there are nevertheless precautions for use”, warns Virginie d’Enfert.

The World with AFP

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A third of household products “potentially harmful”, alert “60 million consumers”