What are people searching for when using the SIN List? Here are the 10 “most wanted” hazardous chemicals that SIN List users are particularly interested in.
While following global political and corporate discussions and debates on a daily basis, it’s interesting to shift perspective now and then, and look at what is closest to you. In our case – the user statistics of the SIN List, a compilation of hazardous chemicals that should be substituted as soon as possible (SIN is short for Substitute It Now), as they pose a threat to human health and the environment.
The sun never sets over the SIN List
It is interesting to see how “the world” comes to us through the SIN List. Over the past year, the list has had over 43,000 visitors from 177 countries, which means that the sun never sets over this global database.
So, what are people looking for when searching the SIN List? One trend has been clear for several years now; at the top among the most searched SIN List chemicals are endocrine disrupting chemicals, EDCs.
Without further ado, here you go – the top 10 “most wanted” SIN List chemicals:
- Butylated hydroxytoulene, BHT, CAS number 128-37-0
BHT is a preservative and antioxidant used in many different products, from fuels to personal care products, and even food, where it is labelled E321. It is an EDC, in animal studies shown to reduce fertility, as well as affect growth and development.
- Oxybenzone, CAS number 131-57-7
This is also an endocrine disrupting chemical, with estrogenic, antiandrogen and thyroid activity, seen to affect development and the immune system. It is used as a UV filter, for example in sun lotions, but also in plastics and other products. Oxybenzone has been measured in human milk and urine, and also in fish and wastewater. It is also one of several UV filters that have been linked to coral bleaching (coral death) in tropic waters.
- 2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxycinnamate, CAS number 5466-77-3
This is another UV filter with similar problems. It is also an EDC, which can be found in the environment and in people.
- Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane, D4, CAS number 556-67-2
Like the related siloxanes D5 and D6, this chemical is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic, and placed on the REACH candidate list. Siloxanes accumulate in the environment and are spread from a variety of products, including personal care products, where they are used for moisturizing, softening and smoothing.
- 4-nitrophenol, CAS number 100-02-7
This EDC affects reproduction and seems to be used mainly as an intermediate in production of chemicals, but also in leather and cork, where it is used as a fungicide.
- Formaldehyde, CAS number 50-00-0
This is the go-to chemical for testing chemical databases because of the super easy CAS number, and we assume that is why it is among the top 10. But it is also a highly problematic carcinogenic chemical, used in everything from wooden boards to nail polish. Luckily, it has been on the regulatory radar for quite some time and there are many good alternatives. Some of them can be found on our substitution platform Marketplace.
- Styrene, CAS number 100-43-5
Styrene is a building block in plastic production with several hazardous properties, including being an EDC. Workers in plastic production, and also consumers, can have considerable levels of styrene in their bodies.
- Boric acid, CAS number 10043-35-3
Boric acid is classified as toxic to reproduction and placed on the Candidate List. It is produced in large amounts and has a variety of uses, from fiberglass to antibacterial.
- DEHP, CAS number 117-81-7
This is the most well-known hazardous phthalate, used as a plastic softener. It is on the Candidate, Restriction, and Authorization lists for being toxic to reproduction. Despite its hazardous properties, the chemical isn’t banned from being used in food packaging material. A test study recently found high levels of DEHP in more than 80% of the tested items, such as straws, cereal boxes and popcorn bags. DEHP has long been on the regulatory radar, and there are many alternatives.
- Petrolatum, CAS number 8009-03-8
This is a tricky one. Petrolatum is not an actual substance, but an oil fraction. It is a carcinogen, but can be purified so that it is no longer hazardous. Then, it doesn’t need to be labelled and can be used safely. So, make sure to check the label on this one before use.
Why so many EDCs?
One can speculate as to why the EDCs are at the top, but we know that the SIN List has had the function of a semi-authoritative EDC list since 2011, in lack of official criteria and regulatory action. Hopefully, this SIN List activity means that EDCs are being targeted for substitution by many companies and organizations.
While we have long been able to follow the statistics of the SIN List database to understand how the SIN List is used, we have not been able to know who uses it until very recently. You might have noticed that we have introduced a login function. With this in place, we hope to get a better picture of the SIN List users, and be able to better meet their needs.