Six Classes

The Six Classes Challenge is an innovative project that aims to decrease the use of entire classes of harmful chemicals in everyday products. Applying this visionary approach, major businesses are already beginning to meet the challenge. This could lead to a dramatic reduction in cancer and in hormonal, neurological, and reproductive impairments for a healthier world.
There are more than 80,000 untested chemicals in use today. Many of the most problematic substances in everyday products are from six families or “classes” of chemicals. When a compound is from one of these classes, we should ask, “Do we really need this chemical? Is it worth the risk?”

Distinguished scientists in academia, business, government, and nonprofits developed the Six Classes concept to more simply and effectively reduce the use of chemicals of concern. Instead of worrying thousands of chemicals, we can apply this class-based approach to reduce the use of the “bad actors.”

We hosted an eight-week webinar series to inform large purchasers, manufacturers, retailers, designers and consumers about the chemistry of these classes, where they are found, how they can be avoided, and safer alternatives. You can watch the fifteen-minute-long webinars below and visit to learn more.


Session 1: Highly Fluorinated Chemicals (stain and water repellants)

Jennifer Field, Ph.D.
Oregon State University
October 22, 2013

View slides

Session 2: Antimicrobials (triclosan, triclocarban, quats)

Gary Ginsberg, Ph.D.
Toxicologist, Connecticut Dept. of Public Health,
Yale University, University of Connecticut
October 29, 2013

View slides

Session 3: Flame Retardants (organohalogen and organophosphate)

Arlene Blum, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Green Science Policy Institute
Visiting Scholar in Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
November 5, 2013

View slides

Session 4: Bisphenols & Phthalates (BPA, BPS, DPHP etc.)

Carol Kwiatkowski, Ph.D.
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc.
November 12, 2013

View slides

Session 5: Organic Solvents (aliphatic, aromatic, halogenated and oxygenated hydrocarbons)

Liz Harriman
Deputy Director, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute
November 19, 2013

View slides

Session 6: Certain Metals (lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic etc.)

Graham Peaslee, Ph.D.
Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry, Hope College
November 26, 2013

View slides

Session 7: Do We Need It?

Debbie Raphael
Director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control
December 3, 2013

View slides

Session 8: Green Chemistry

Bob Peoples, Ph.D.
Former Director, ACS Green Chemistry Institute
December 10, 2013

View slides