Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
Chemicals are everywhere in todays society, in humans, animals as well as nature, and they are difficult to avoid. The chemical industry is regarded to be the fastest growing industrial sector, accounting for ten percent of the global economy. A large amount of chemicals are used to produce hygiene products and cosmetics, products that in Sweden only are consumed in quantities of 110 tons per day. Researchers find it increasingly difficult to determine which chemicals that are dangerous and which that are safe, and how they might affect us in the long run. Correlations have been found between chemicals, diseases and other health effects such as cancer, allergies, reproductive and endocrine disorders. The large amount of chemicals that people come into contact with every day both give and could give major consequences on life in the future.
This paper aims to examine how aware young adults are of chemicals in hygiene products and cosmetics and their negative effects on both people and the environment. This is done by the means of a questionnaire survey.
The survey showed that the respondents quite frequently used a relatively large amount of hygiene products and cosmetics, and at the same time were little aware of any harmful chemicals in them. The vast majority of the respondents answered that they do believe there are harmful chemicals in the hygiene products and cosmetics that they use, but they found it hard to know what these chemicals were. This was mainly due to the fact that the respondents do not read the ingredient list on the products they buy, primarily because they do not prioritize or have interest in it, because they trust that companies only produce safe products, because habits control what they consume and also because they consider it difficult knowing what chemicals to avoid.
For young adults to become more aware of chemicals that either are or may be harmful to humans and the environment, knowledge needs to increase: a greater responsibility as well as a strengthened cooperation must take place between the public sector, the market and people. Legal requirements for chemicals in hygiene products and cosmetics need to be strengthened, the market need to phase out harmful chemicals and products and people need to break their habits and start to read the ingredient list of the products they consume as well as place greater demands on the companies that produce these products.
2012. , 76 p.