Galaxolide is a synthetic fragrance that was initially created in 1965. It is a substance that many different manufacturers add to their products to provide a musk scent. Since the 1960s, it has been used in a number of different detergents, fabric softeners as well as perfumes, colognes and more. The usage of Galaxolide is estimated to be over three million pounds annually. Many different environmental groups believe that Galaxolide is very toxic. They believe repeated exposure creates a negative cumulative effect on the body that should be avoided. SC Johnson is a major manufacturer in the consumer products industry. It is phasing out its use of Galaxolide.
Studies of Galaxolide
There have been a number of studies concerning the effect of Galaxolide on the environment. One study analyzed water samples from the Great Lakes. Over 80 percent of the samples contained the chemical. Other research involved over 39 wastewater treatment plants in the United States. In all of the samples taken, Galaxolide was present. Over 95 percent of fish living downstream from a waste water treatment plant had Galaxolide in their tissue. This chemical has even been found in over 80 percent of Atlantic salmon. Another study showed that Galaxolide was found in more than 90 percent of people who were tested for its presence in their bodies. All individuals tested had the chemical in their fat tissue. When human breast milk was tested, the results showed over 95 percent of the samples had Galaxolide in them.
SC Johnson uses Galaxolide in more than 79 of their scented products. This includes Pledge, Glade, Windex and others. A petition was created that received more than 20,000 signatures from individuals who are concerned about the impact of the Galaxolide in SC Johns products. They were concerned how it could affect human health as well as the environment. There was a request made to SC Johnson to consider the most recent findings. The information was provided to the company from a woman’s group known as Woman’s Voices for the Earth (WVE). SC Johnson sent a letter to WVE explaining how it understands the business benefits of transitioning away from the use of Galaxolide in its products. SC Johnson also said it would take time for this transition to be complete as it tried to discover alternatives. The company wants to be certain its decision is based on sound scientific evidence.
A spokesperson for SC Johnson said they are working toward introducing habanolide and ethylene brassylate into their manufacturing process. They are two macrocyclic musks that appear to have met SC Johnson’s performance and safety standards. They have also been determined to more easily biodegrade in the environment. Scientists from SC Johnson have been studying these two substances for a number of years and have found them to be scientifically sound. It is estimated that the transition period could take up to nine months. During this time, there will be product tests with consumers as well as performance tests and more. These are common steps that are taking when a company transitions to a new chemical for their products.
WVE has released an open letter that has been endorsed by over 20 academics, national scientists as well as health professionals recommending companies eliminate the use of Galaxolide from their products. SC Johnson is one of many established companies in the consumer products industry that are in the process of phasing out this chemical from their manufacturing process. The organization believes this shows a trend for companies who want to maintain high safety standards as well as demonstrate their integrity.
Learn more about Hazardous Chemicals.