It’s natural to want to believe that the household products that you use to clean your home are safe. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Many popular brands are full of toxic chemicals. The more you learn about these chemicals, the more you’ll want to replace them with natural, safer options that work without exposing you and your family to dangerous substances.
What’s In the Average Household Cleaning Product?
First of all, you need to understand that there is no federal regulation of chemicals contained in household products. Product ingredients do not need to meet any safety standards. Nor are these products required to be tested before being marketed.
Labeling of toxic ingredients is not required either.
Some household cleaning products contain an average of around 62 toxic chemicals. It’s no secret, but at the same time, it’s not something you’ll hear big manufacturers bragging about.
“Cleaning power? Yes. Tremendous cleaning power. Safe for users and the environment? … Let’s get back to talking about cleaning power.”
Exposing ourselves and our family routinely to everything from phthalates in synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven cleaners has been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, neurotoxicity, and hormone problems.
Specific Chemicals & Health Risks
The following ingredients are just a few found in many household products. To ensure your healthy and the safety of your loved ones and your environment, they should be avoided, but they are difficult to identify as manufacturers are not legally bound to list them.
These are found in a large number of fragranced household products like dish soap, toilet paper, and air fresheners. Due to proprietary laws, companies making these products do not have to tell what is in their scents. Chances are good, therefore, that you will not see the word phthalates on the label. If you see the word fragrance, however, consider that there is a good chance that phthalates are present.
Why is this important? Phthalates are well known as endocrine disrupters. They pose a number of health risks, including reduced sperm counts. Exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation but also happens when the skin comes in contact with scented soaps.
The skin has no safeguards against toxins so absorbed chemicals proceed directly to organs. Further, air fresheners can trigger migraine headaches and asthma.
Perchloroethylene or “Perc”
Perchloroethylene is a colorless, nonflammable toxic liquid C2Cl4 found in dry cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.
Why is this important? Perc is a neurotoxin classified as a carcinogen and has been reported as responsible for people becoming dizzy, and losing coordination, among other problems associated with carcinogens.
Triclosan & Quarternary Ammonium Compounds or “Quats”
Triclosan is a whitish crystalline powder C12H7Cl3O2 that is a phenyl ether derivative. It’s used especially as a broad-spectrum antibacterial agent (as in soaps, deodorants, and mouthwash).
Quats are found in fabric softener liquids and sheets as well as most household cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”
Why is this important? Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial chemical agent that promotes the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Classified as a carcinogen, it is found in most liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps labeled “antibacterial.”
Current studies are underway to determine whether or not Triclosan disrupts endocrine (hormonal) functions.
Quats pose the same problems as Triclosan because they help breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They are also a leading cause of dermatitis and respiratory disorders.
Other ingredients found in most household cleaners that cause major health issues are Ammonia, Chlorine, Sodium Hydroxide, and these are only a few culprits.
Some “all-purpose” cleaners contain diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA), that, when in contact with nitrites, form nitrosamines, carcinogens that penetrate the skin.
Many of the chemicals found in everyday cleaning products have chemicals that are “hormone disruptors” that interfere with the body’s natural chemical messages by blocking or mimicking them. This can cause a number of health problems including reduced sperm counts, increased male birth defects, and increased rates of certain cancers.
What You Can Do
Though most cleaners do not list ingredients, they give you clues. The words “Danger”, “Warning”, or “Caution”, signal the product’s toxicity. Pay attention to labeling that describes possible hazards, like “vapors harmful” or “may cause skin irritation.”
When you see them, look for another product.
Evaluate ecological claims by looking for specifics. When a product says that it is “ecologically friendly,” this isn’t telling you anything concrete. More meaningful are explicit terms, such as “no solvents,” “no phosphates,” or “plant-based.” (Products that are plant-based are safer and better for the environment than petroleum-based products).
Check us out. Our products are made to clean without damaging you, your environment, or your items in the process. We keep our objectives real simple. Our products will keep you and your home real clean.