We do the research, so you don’t have to.
What are our standards?
We will not list any items for sale unless they meet a minimum of two of the following criteria:
- Made in the USA
- Organic material
- Sustainable material
- Low impact dyes
- Fair Trade
Scientific research may raise questions about whether certain ingredients are safe and if this happens, we will look for alternatives and possibly remove these products from our stock.
The Ultimate Guide to Going Green
Find out what chemicals may be lurking in your home and learn what to use instead.
Although the list of harmful ingredients changes from time to time, the following is a core list of chemicals that are not present in any of the products we sell:
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are closely related chemicals used as preservatives in lipsticks, hair products, makeup, sunscreen, deodorants, fragrance and moisturizers. They are also widely used as food preservatives.
BHA’s safety is especially concerning, as it has been shown to interfere with hormone function, is toxic to organs such as kidneys, and is linked to cancer. In fact, BHA is banned in the European Union, and California requires that any product containing BHA be labeled to indicate that it contains this potential cancer causing chemical.
BHT is linked to causing irritation in the lungs and allergic reactions on the skin. Studies have shown that long-term exposure to BHT in rats can cause liver and kidney problems.
BPA, or bisphenol A, is an industrial chemical that has been used to make plastics since the 1960s.
BPA made headlines because of its use as a coating for containers that store food and beverages and also as a coating for water bottles. BPA has been shown to leach into the contents of the containers.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that BPA is safe at low levels, Gone to Green remains concerned about the cumulative effects of BPA and will not sell products that contain this chemical.
Coal Tar Dyes
Coal tar is a complex mix of hundreds of compounds. It is a brown-black material produced when coal is burned.
Coal tar dyes are found in shampoos, scalp treatments, soaps, hair dyes and lotions.
It consists of a number of suspected or known cancer causing chemicals. Examples include benzene, toluene, naphthalene and xylene.
According to the FDA, any drug products containing coal tar at levels of 0.5% to 5% (the level deemed effective and safe) must specify on a label the concentration of coal tar.
Hair dye and certain skin products must display a warning label if they contain coal tar and must indicate specific precautions for that product.
Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA) and Monoethanolamine (MEA) are examples of ethanolamine compounds.
They are often found in soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners and dyes, lotions, shaving creams, paraffin and waxes, household cleaning products, eyeliners, mascara, eye shadows, blush, make-up bases, foundations, fragrances and sunscreens.
Ethanolamines are added to these products to make them sudsy or creamy. They are also used to adjust the acidity of products.
Ethanolamines cause mild to moderate skin and eye irritation. But the main safety concern is that ethanolamines, when combined with certain chemicals in a product, can form a new substance (nitrosamine) that potentially causes cancer.
Formaldehyde releasing agents
Certain compounds (diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, methenamine, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate) are used as preservatives in a wide range of cosmetics.
These chemicals are a concern because they slowly but continuously form small amounts of formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer. Studies also indicate that formaldehyde may be absorbed through the skin.
Also called Butoxyethanol, EGBE, Methoxydiglycol or DEGME, these chemicals are often used as solvents in paints, cleaning products and cosmetics.
According to studies done in Europe, some of these chemicals may damage fertility or the unborn child. Studies of painters have linked exposure to certain glycol ethers to blood abnormalities and lower sperm counts. And children who were exposed to glycol ethers from paint in their bedrooms had substantially more asthma and allergies.
Nonylphenols (NP) are chemicals often used in liquid laundry detergents, stain removers, all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, degreasers and car wash products.
They can mimic the hormone estrogen. In laboratory experiments, NP has been shown to stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells and cause adverse reproductive effects in fish and other aquatic organisms.
Petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly, is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturizers and also in hair care products to make your hair shine.
When properly refined, there are no known health issues. If not properly refined, petrolatum may be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Studies suggest that exposure to PAHs, including skin contact over extended periods of time, is associated with cancer. PAHs in petrolatum can also cause skin irritation and allergies.
Phthalates are a diverse group of chemicals that make plastic more flexible and has been used extensively in toys, vinyl flooring, detergents, food packaging and some cosmetic and personal care products.
Because they have been used so frequently, phthalates have been studied extensively for safety. While not all phthalates are harmful, certain types have been associated with disrupting the way hormones function, premature births and even cancer.
Although many cosmetic manufacturers have stopped using phthalates, the main area of concern is that they are still being used in fragrance in the products we use.
Fragrance is considered a trade secret and so manufacturers do not have to disclose what chemicals are used to make their products smell good. In fact, fragrance could consist of any of 3,000 potential chemicals.
Resorcinol is commonly used in hair dyes, skin peels and products used to treat skin problems such as acne and eczema.
In permanent hair dyes, resorcinol reacts with a developer (usually peroxide) to bond the dye permanently to the hairs. Resorcinol is usually used with other chemicals to get a specific dye color. Typical resorcinol concentrations are about 1.25 percent although it can be found in concentrations up to 5 percent.
Resorcinol is used in acne and skin treatment medication to remove hard scaly or rough skin. The concentration in acne medicine is usually about 2 percent. When resorcinol is used as a dermatological treatment, it is likely to be applied to damaged skin, which allows more resorcinol to enter the body.
Resorcinol is a known skin and eye irritant. There is also some evidence that it may interfere with proper thyroid function which can lead to the formation of a goiter.
Consumers can’t rely on labels that contain the word “fragrance” to know whether hazardous chemicals exist in that container. This is because the manufacturer has added any of 3,000 potential chemical ingredients commonly used to add a scent to their products. To make matters worse, the chemical concoction used to make “fragrance” are protected as trade secrets.
Fragrance secrecy is legal due to a giant loophole in the Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1973, which requires companies to list cosmetics ingredients on the product labels but explicitly exempts fragrance.
Talc is a naturally occurring mineral. It is often used in cosmetic products such as baby powder and facial powders.
Talc absorbs moisture and reduces friction, and so it is useful for keeping the skin dry and to prevent rashes.
In its natural form, some talc may contain asbestos, which is known to cause lung cancer when inhaled. Most cosmetics manufacturers now use cosmetic grade talc, which does not contain asbestos.
There is much controversy as to whether the regular use of talc in the female genital area can lead to ovarian cancer. Studies have not yet shown a clear link; however, due to ongoing concerns regarding its safety, Gone to Green will not sell any products that list talc or talcum powder in its ingredients.