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NLM Launches Database on Safety of Everyday Products

NLM recently launched a consumer's guide that provides easy-to-understand information on the potential health effects of more than 2,000 ingredients contained in more than 4,000 common household products.

Some household products contain substances that can pose health risks if they are ingested or inhaled, or if they come in contact with eyes and skin. The Household Products Database (http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov) provides information in consumer-friendly language on many of these substances and their potential health effects. For more technical information, users can launch a search for a product or ingredient in TOXNET from the Product Page in the database.

Information in the database is provided to NLM under a collaborative agreement and is derived from publicly available sources, including brand-specific labels and information provided by manufacturers and their web sites. The list of products covered will be expanded, and information for products currently in the database will be updated at least annually.

"The Household Products Database is a natural outgrowth of the work that the library has done in recent years, educating the public about environmental risks posed by chemicals in the air, soil and water," said NLM director Dr. Donald Lindberg. "Last year, we unveiled Tox Town (http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov), a site that introduces consumers to the toxic chemicals and environmental risks they might encounter in everyday life, in everyday places. Tox Town looks at facilities like schools, office buildings and factories and the chemicals likely to be in them. With the Household Products site, we go inside the user's home and provide information about common products and their potential health effects."

The Household Products Database helps users learn what's in the products under the kitchen sink, in the garage, in the bathroom and on the laundry room shelf.


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