Some ingredients that Seventh Generation does not use

What are some of the ingredients found in mainstream cleaning products that Seventh Generation will not use?

Ingredient Why we won't use it Seventh Generation substitutes
Phosphates While relatively non-irritating and non-toxic, phosphates create unbalanced ecosystems, and contribute to explosive marine plant growth through a process called eutrophication. This excessive plant growth causes fish kills and reduces the recreational value of our lakes and streams. Seventh Generation uses several other substances to replace phosphates. Citrates, gluconates, and carbonates are natural substances that serve many of the same functions as phosphates. They cost more than phosphates, but we think our lakes and streams are worth it!
Optical brighteners Optical brighteners do not readily biodegrade and are toxic to fish when released into the environment. They can cause allergic reactions when they come in contact with skin and are exposed to sunlight. The inclusion of optical brighteners does not enhance or affect cleaning performance, they simply trick the eye. Instead, we design our laundry products to clean as effectively as premium conventional brands.
Synthetic surfactants Synthetic surfactants contain carbon that came exclusively from fossil sources such as petroleum or natural gas. In the environment, many petroleum surfactants are persistent and remain in the soil and waterways into which they are discharged. Some have the ability to cause hormonal disruption and other illnesses in animals and possibly in people. Plant-based surfactants are derived from vegetable oils instead of from the petroleum refining process. Our vegetable oil based products readily biodegrade (bacteria convert 60% of their carbon to carbon dioxide in 28 days).
Volatile, synthetic solvents Most solvents are highly volatile, which means they easily evaporate. They are easily absorbed into the body through the lungs, where they can then show toxic effects on the neurological system, the liver, the blood, the lungs, and the kidneys. In addition they are severe eye, skin, and mucous membrane irritants. Solvent exposures can cause harm even after very short exposures. Seventh Generation formulates its products with plant-based surfactants in a way that oils and greases are rapidly dispersed in water so harmful solvents are not needed.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) quickly evaporate into the air where they are easily absorbed into the body through the lungs. There are hundreds of VOCs capable of causing everything from neurological and organ damage to cancer. Because of their toxicity, they are a major indoor air concern. Seventh Generation formulates its products with plant-based materials that are not volatile. The only VOCs in our products are the natural plant essential oils that we use for our fragrances.
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