Trace Ingredients | Seventh Generation
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Trace Ingredients

Trace Ingredients


Trace Materials

What are trace materials?

In addition to the ingredients that we add intentionally to our products so they will perform effectively, there are often other substances present in small quantities in the final formulation that are not intentionally added. These substances are sometimes present as impurities in our raw materials and are referred to as trace materials.

Trace materials may be present in our products at percent levels, at parts per million (ppm) levels, or even at parts per billion (ppb) levels.

Trace materials can be byproducts of chemical reactions that occur during the manufacturing of ingredients in our products, or can be naturally occurring impurities in the raw materials we source. For example, in the past, we have identified trace amounts of phthalates in an essential oil fragrance blend. It is believed that this was introduced during the processing of the oil. Also, we identified trace amounts of BPA in our paper products, which was introduced as a contaminant in the paper recycling stream due to the use of BPA in thermal paper (e.g. cash register receipts).

What are you doing to find out as much as possible about trace materials in your raw materials?

We work continuously to maintain the authenticity of our products. We work with all of our suppliers to identify as many trace materials as possible in the ingredients they supply us. Most important, we test our products annually for the presence of certain trace materials and take corrective action if necessary.


Do you list fragrance ingredients on your labels?

Fragrance formulas are often protected as trade secrets. That means you’ll almost always see the generic term "fragrance" or "perfume" on a label without information about the actual chemicals. At Seventh Generation we believe consumers have a Right to Know what is in the products they purchase. We use only essential oils and botanical extracts as fragrance ingredients, and we list all of them on our product labels.

Why do you list Citral, Citronellol, Linalool, and D-Limonene on some of your labels?

The European Union (EU) has requires labeling fragrance allergens on cosmetic and detergent products. This labeling must occur if the concentration of the allergen exceeds 100 parts per million (ppm), or 0.01% for a rinse-off product, and 10 ppm, or 0.001% for a leave-on product. When a fragrance allergen is present in a Seventh Generation cleaner it is because that allergen naturally occurs as a component of the essential oils used to fragrance our product. To help our consumers with sensitive skin and allergies, we voluntarily comply with the EU fragrance allergen directive and list those allergens on our product label.

To learn more about the fragrance allergens designated by the EU, see