First and foremost, we are excited to provide consumers with a Natural Hand Wash that has a petroleum-free surfactant (cleaning agent) system, food grade preservative system, and excellent safety profile. Because we aim to provide consumers with the information that they need to make an informed decision about the products that they bring into their homes we are always happy to provide additional information.
Like all Seventh Generation products, our new Natural Hand Washes meet our strict standards for human and environmental safety.
It is important to note that everything can be toxic if enough is ingested, even common things like water and table salt. For this reason, product manufacturers are required to determine the toxicity of a product if swallowed and inform consumers if there is a significant hazard during product misuse. To make this determination we calculate the toxicity of the product if swallowed and have determined that the Fresh Citrus and Just Clean versions of the Seventh Generation Hand Wash are not toxic.
As far as ingredients go, there are some important facts to call out. First, there is a significant difference between the safety profiles of an individual ingredient versus the finished product. Second, it is important to remember that acute toxicity, such as skin irritation, can be counteracted through proper formulation. Chronic toxicity, such as endocrine disruption or carcinogenicity, is unable to be changed through formulation. And last, evidence of an effect from one study does not indicate that there is a suspected or known effect broadly. Many factors can influence scientific results and greatly limit the applicability of the results of one test to a broader population.
So what does all that mean? Essentially, judging the safety of a product on the acute effects of individual ingredients does not reflect the actual safety of the product. As such, irritation related to glyceryl caprylate/caprate, glyceryl oleate, and sodium benzoate is not relevant to our hand wash products as they are hypoallergenic and non-irritating.
While chronic toxicity is a concern regardless of how the product is formulated, using one study to support chronic toxicity is typically woefully inaccurate and does not reflect the actual chronic effects of the product. That said, the data gaps on Skin Deep for the ingredients (glyceryl caprylate/caprate, glyceryl oleate, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, magnesium chloride) range from 69% to 90%. That means Skin Deep only has 10% to 31% of the data required to accurately assess the safety of the ingredients listed. Based on the available scientific literature none of these ingredients pose a threat to human health from a chronic toxicity perspective.
Finally, d-limonene is not an intentionally added ingredient in this product, but rather, a natural component of the essential oil blend that we use as a fragrance in the Fresh Citrus natural hand wash. Because we disclose all ingredients, including fragrances, our policy is to list any known fragrance allergen that is present in a formula at greater than 0.01% according to the standards used in the European Union. (For more on our fragrance policy see: http://www.seventhgeneration.com/ingredients/trace-materials#fragrance). More importantly, we have tested this product using clinical dermatology studies with human volunteers and both products do not illicit any allergic skin reactions and are hypoallergenic.