Toxic chemicals are everywhere in our daily lives – can we avoid them?

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Michelle D’urbano

MORE than a decade ago, the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry offered £1 million to the first person in the world to create a chemical-free product. No one has yet claimed the bounty because it is impossible. Water is a chemical. So is your cuppa. Yet there is still so much confusion about everyday products, from cleaning sprays to cosmetics. While some are labelled as chemical free, others declare they are non-toxic, natural and eco-friendly. What does it all really mean? And can we believe it?

To work out whether products contain toxic chemicals, which are harmful or hazardous to us or the planet, we need to look at the bigger picture of how something is manufactured and where it ends up after we have used it. Our homes are just a snapshot of a complex global supply chain. Your handbag may not be…

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