Shop healthy.
Avoid diseases.

Shop healthy. Avoid diseases.

By clicking on a Toxicity preference button, such as the Organ Toxicant preference, the user gets to the Organ Toxicants page which details which chemicals on the product ingredients list are harmful to human health.

Tera is considering the proper usage of a product to determine if a toxic chemical health hazard should be taken into account in the product’s score. 

For example, if a chemical’s health hazard is “harmful if swallowed” but the product is a cleaning product and not supposed to be swallowed, Tera will not score the product negatively but will add a “WARNING!” section on the Organ Toxicants preference page that this chemical may be harmful if the product is not properly used and swallowed.

Tera will add in the Warning! Section which chemicals may be harmful if the product is not properly used and which health hazards they may cause.

On the Ingredients page, users can see the list of all the ingredients used to manufacture this product and their health risk level.

On that same page, users can click on an ingredient name and go to that specific ingredient’s page and find out the potential health hazards caused by this ingredient.

To determine the Health Hazards of the chemicals found in product ingredients’ lists, we use industry-standard toxicology data provided by ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) and GHS (Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling) For chemical additives in food products, we leveraged ECHA but also multiple credible databases worldwide that have studied the impact of ingredients and food additives on human health. We have incorporated insights from institutions like EFSA (The European Food Safety Authority), NutrelinoCSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest), and the U.S. FDA. We were assisted in that task by our Toxicology Advisor Dr. Michael Burke, PhD, an experienced Product and Environmental Safety Scientist who spent almost 30 years of his career at Colgate-Palmolive as a Research Scientist, and Director of Product Health & Safety and Product Sustainability.

The Fragrance and Parfum loophole

The term “Fragrance” or “Parfum” may seem innocuous, but it hides a multitude of potentially harmful chemicals. A major loophole in FDA’s federal law lets manufacturers of food, personal care, skin care, makeup and household cleaning products treat “Fragrance” or “Parfum” as trade secrets and include nearly any chemicals in their products under the name “Fragrance” or “Parfum” without actually listing them on the product’s label. 

A single scent can contain anywhere from 50 to 300 distinct chemicals, and approximately 4,000 chemicals are currently used to scent products.

As a result, consumers are unknowingly exposed to a variety of toxic substances, including carcinogens, respiratory toxicants, reproductive toxicants, hormone disruptors, aquatic toxicants and more. Many of these fragrance chemicals have been linked to chronic health issues, including cancer. Phthalates, used to make fragrances last longer, are associated with damage to the male reproductive system, while artificial musks can accumulate in our bodies and even be found in breast milk. Some artificial musks are even linked to cancer. Fragrance formulas are also considered top allergens, triggering asthma attacks in susceptible individuals. To avoid these potential side effects, opting for fragrance-free products is a wise choice.

Therefore Tera scoring system treats any product that includes fragrance or parfum as potentially harmful to human health and will color in orange the preference buttons associated with Organ Toxicants, Carcinogens, Reproductive Toxicants and Skin & Eye Irritants and will color in orange Parfum and Fragrance on the Ingredients page.

The Household Cleaning Products loophole

Recent research has found that many household cleaning products contain harmful ingredients and impurities, including formaldehyde and other volatile organic chemicals, 1,4-dioxane, and toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS or PFCs.

You may inhale these chemicals by breathing indoor air and some of them can be absorbed through the skin. Long-term exposures to certain chemicals found in household cleaners have been linked to serious health problems like pregnancy complications, breast cancer, birth defects, asthma and allergic reactions. 

The lax labeling requirements for household cleaning products  in the current US  law mean that people often don’t know what they’re buying. And because they don’t have to detail every ingredient they use, most manufacturers don’t reveal them and hide them behind generic ingredients names like surfactants or agents or stabilizers etc…

Therefore Tera is assuming that when a manufacturer is using a generic ingredient’s name, he may be hiding behind that name a collection of chemicals that may be harmful to your health and may cause cancer, reproductive system issues, may be toxic to your organs, and may irritate your skin and eyes. And those health preferences buttons will be scored orange in the Health tab on the product page and those ingredients will be colored orange on the Ingredients page.

What amount of chemicals do manufacturers use in products?

Manufacturers do not have to reveal the dosage of the ingredients they use which are protected as trade secrets. 

Manufacturers like to reassure consumers that the quantities they use are small and don’t represent any risks.

That may be true or not depending on the chemicals, some of which are extremely hazardous even at very small quantities.

Plus, the risk for humans is compounded by the fact that we ingest hundreds of chemicals every day, and that we do not know the health impact of them coalescing together within our body and scientists are very concerned about this “chemical soup” forming within us everyday. They dismiss the argument of “small quantities”. And so does Tera.

We do score a chemical as being harmful regardless of the quantity used, which is a trade secret in any case well guarded by manufacturers, and we do encourage manufacturers to replace these toxic chemicals by safer alternatives and eliminate them altogether for the sake of our health.

However, we are not perfect.  Product information can sometimes be incomplete or change.   So PLEASE ALWAYS double-check the ingredient labels, and contact the manufacturer for more information if needed.

For more information on toxic chemicals and their impact on your health check out our blog articles below:

We are Living in a Chemical Soup that is Killing Us and Our Planet 

Why Everyone Should Embrace a Non-Toxic Lifestyle 

How to Live a Non-Toxic Lifestyle: Personal Care

How to Live a Non-Toxic Lifestyle: Skin Care

How to live a Non-Toxic Lifestyle: Beauty & Makeup

Download The App Now

Flash the QR Code with Your Mobile Phone and Download the App