Wednesday, September 21, 2011

HOW TOXIC ARE YOUR CLEANING PRODUCTS?





This is a great article!

How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies?
http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_279.cfm

"...while the chemicals in cleaners foam, bleach, and disinfect to make our dishes, bathtubs and countertops gleaming and germ-free, many also contribute to indoor air pollution, are poisonous if ingested, and can be harmful if inhaled or touched. In fact, some cleaners are among the most toxic products found in the home...

Fragrances added to many cleaners, most notably laundry detergents and fabric softeners, may cause acute effects such as respiratory irritation, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes in sensitive individuals or allergy and asthma sufferers. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic. But because the chemical formulas of fragrances are considered trade secrets, companies aren't required to list their ingredients but merely label them as containing "fragrance."

What to look out for

Avoid cleaners marked "Danger" or "Poison" on the label, and look out for other tell-tale hazard warnings, such as "corrosive" or "may cause burns."

Avoid products that list active ingredients of chlorine or ammonia, which can cause respiratory and skin irritation and will create toxic fumes if accidentally mixed together.

Protect water quality and aquatic life by refusing to purchase detergents containing phosphates, which may cause algal blooms, or alkylphenol ethoxylates, including nonylphenol and octylphenol. Unfortunately, these ingredients are rarely, if ever, disclosed on labels; however, the brands recommended in this report are, to the best of our knowledge, phosphate- and APE-free.

Beware of unregulated "greenwash" claims on labels! Terms such as "natural" and "eco-friendly" shouldn't be equated with safety unless they're backed up with specific ingredient information, such as "solvent-free," "no petroleum-based ingredients," "no phosphates," etc. "Non-toxic" has no official definition, so unless a third party has verified this claim, it is not considered meaningful. And don't believe "organic" ingredients in cleaning and other chemical products are any safer than other substances. Although "organic" in the grocery store refers to foods grown without synthetic pesticides, in chemistry it refers to chemicals that are carbon-based, including some VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that release harmful fumes and may cause brain damage or cancer..."