Commercial cleaning products are no one’s favorite things to smell. We’ve also been warned that they are potentially harmful to the long-term health of people as well as the environment. But unfortunately, the federal government doesn’t require manufacturers of cleaning products to list their ingredients on labels.
However, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) examined the safety data of over 1000 ingredients used in commercial cleaning products. They found that more than half of these products contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to the lungs (With this in mind, the US National Center for Health Statistics states that 1 in 3 people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or bronchitis). The EWG also found that 1 in 5 of these products have ingredients that can trigger asthma, even in individuals who are healthy.
Along with organic food and skin care, there has been an increasing demand for non-toxic house cleaning products. In this post, I’ll be listing common toxic ingredients and contrasting them with what is in organic cleaning products.
Toxins Commonly Found in Commercial Cleaners Include…
- Dioxane and Formaldehyde which are carcinogens (known to cause cancer)
- Perchloroethylene (PERC) which is a carcinogen and neurotoxin
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats) which are known asthma triggers
- Triclosan and 18 other anti-bacterial compounds which are linked to endocrine disruption and antibiotic resistance
- Chlorine and Chloroform (found in Chlorine Bleach) which are linked to respiratory and neurological effects and cancer
*Hydrogen peroxide-based products are often recommended for use in place of chlorine-based products
- 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE, BCEE, or Butyl cellosolve) which is a skin and eye irritant
- Diethylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether (also DEGME or Methoxydiglycol) which is linked to reproductive health effects
- Fragrance which may contain hundreds of different chemical compounds, including phthalates (an endocrine disruptor) is an allergy and asthma trigger
- Ammonia which is a respiratory and skin irritant
- Borax has been listed by the EU as toxic to human reproductive systems
And in Organic…
Organic cleaning companies, on the other hand, make their products using plant-derived ingredients and essential oils. These products have been shown to work just as well. And as you clean, you and your loved ones can breathe easy while enjoying the light natural scents they leave behind.
*When shopping for “Green” or “Non-toxic” cleaners, look for products that are labeled: petroleum-free, biodegradable, phosphate-free, VOC-free and solvent-free.
Clean and Healthy
With this (pretty scary) information in mind and all the non-toxic cleaning products that are now out, let’s strive not only for clean homes but better health!