Buying guide for Laundry Detergent products
For a relatively small area, the laundry room makes a significant contribution to a household's overall environmental impact. Key issues include:
- Energy consumed by heating the water used for washing clothes (as well as drying them), and associated energy conservation opportunities
- Material waste and additional transportation-related energy use associated with inefficient packaging (such as detergent bottles containing mostly water)
- Human health and ecological concerns about exposures to some laundry detergent ingredients
Phosphates, once a source of water quality problems in laundry waste water, have been largely eliminated in the US for major brands.
What to look for
Rating Laundry Detergent products
To rate a personal care or household chemical product, GoodGuide considers the following attributes:
- A health hazard rating based on the number of product ingredients categorized as low, medium or high health concern;
- Indicators that the product exhibits other negative aspects (e.g., does the product contain ingredients that have been banned or subjected to regulatory restrictions);
- Indicators that the product is among the best on the market in its category (e.g., has the product been certified as safe or healthy by a credible third-party);
- Indicators of data gaps that preclude evaluation of the product (e.g., no or inadequate disclosure of product ingredients).
Categorizing Ingredients by Levels of Health Concern
Defining Levels of Health
In order to identify ingredients of health concern, we utilize the science of health hazard assessment and rely on lists of chemicals labeled hazardous by various authoritative organizations. GoodGuide tracks whether chemicals are recognized or suspected of causing any of twelve major types of human health problems, ranging from cancer to endocrine toxicity to skin or eye toxicity. We combine this hazard data with chemical potency, human detection frequency and toxicity testing information, in order to assign ingredients to four levels of health concern: none, low, medium and high.