What is the Hazardous 100+?
The Hazardous 100+ List of Chemicals of High Concern represents a small subset of all inherently hazardous chemicals of concern to which humans and the environment may be exposed in certain consumer products. Scientists have established links between exposures to many of these chemicals and chronic diseases and health conditions, including cancer, infertility, learning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems, obesity, diabetes, and asthma.
Unfortunately, consumers cannot simply shop their way around these chemicals. Major retailers have the power—and responsibility—to relieve this burden from their customers by working with suppliers to replace the Hazardous 100+ chemicals with safer alternatives.
How was the Hazardous 100+ chemical list developed?
As of April 2013, the Hazardous 100+ List of Chemicals of High Concern consists of two parts: 101 chemicals of high concern that have been identified by two or more authoritative government agencies, and an additional 18 chemicals of high concern selected because they may pose similar hazards based on the available evidence. (Some single entries on the list are actually groups of related chemicals of high concern, e.g. the flame retardant chemicals known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs). The Hazardous 100+ list represents a small subset of all inherently hazardous chemicals of concern to which humans and the environment may be exposed.
The Hazardous 100+ list was developed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) affiliated with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a broad-based national coalition working to protect human health and the environment from dangerous chemicals in everyday consumer products. Here are the methods and criteria we used to develop the list:
The Hazardous 100 List. We added chemicals to the first part of the list if they were formally identified by at least two out of six authoritative government bodies as chemicals of high concern. These six source lists, the number of chemical substances (or groups of related substances) on those lists, and the government agencies that developed and adopted each list, include:
- State of California — “List of Chemicals Known to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity” [i.e. the Prop 65 list] (884 substances) — Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment;
- State of Maine — “Designated Priority Chemicals” (2 substances) and “List of Chemicals of High Concern” (49 substances) — Department of Environmental Protection and Center for Disease Control and Prevention;
- State of Minnesota — “List of Priority Chemicals” (9 substances) — Pollution Control Agency and Department of Health;
- State of Washington — “List of Chemicals of High Concern to Children” (66 substances) — Department of Ecology and Department of Health;
- United States — “Existing Chemicals Action Plans” (10 substances) — Environmental Protection Agency; and
- European Union — “Authorisation List” (14 substances) and “Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern for Authorisation” (138 substances) — European Chemicals Agency.
The authoritative agencies developed these lists based on strong credible scientific evidence on chemical hazard, and in some cases on available data on chemical exposure and use. See the web links for the sources of data relied upon by the agencies.
Additional Chemicals of High Concern. We selected additional chemicals of high concern (or groups of related chemicals) that may possess similar hazard characteristics and exposure potential based on credible scientific evidence. We applied best professional judgment in considering a combination of factors, including whether the chemical was:
- Identified on a single agency list that was also used to construct the Hazardous Hundred list. Example: The U.S. EPA Action Plan for Long-Chain Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) also includes PFOA and PFHxS use in stain resistant coatings;
- A “regrettable substitute” or a chemical of growing concern that replaced a chemical of high concern without eliminating the hazard. Example: The flame retardant chemical PentaBDE formerly used in foam cushions has been replaced by chlorinated tris (TDCPP) and two brominated flame retardants, TBB and TBPH;
- Listed on the SIN (Substitute It Now) list developed by European NGOs as meeting the criteria for substances of very high concern. Example: Several of the organotin compounds, which are used as plastics additives and catalysts, were SIN-listed; and
- Nominated by U.S. NGOs engaged in dialog with business sectors for safer chemicals. Example: Those working for safer cleaners and personal care products nominated triclosan, a common antimicrobial chemical in soaps and other products.
This second list is not an exhaustive list of all additional chemicals of high concern.
* 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).