Note: Reading this article may cause you to trash your entire supply of cleaning products.
Take a moment and peek at the cleaning supplies you’ve stashed under your sink. Have you ever thought about how strange it is that cleaning products have warning labels? The labels are required by law to indicate that the products contain harmful ingredients, ranging from “Caution,” “Warning,” to “Danger.” It’s absurdly common for conventional cleaning products to contain toxic materials and to be fatal if swallowed. Products marked with “danger” can make you extremely sick, or cause blindness or death. Oh, and “danger” products can also explode if they get too hot. Wheeee!
The effects of these toxins is clear. The Toronto Indoor Air Conference in 1990 noted that women who work in the home have a 54% higher death rate than women who work outside the home. Asthma is on the rise–the number of asthma-sufferers doubled between 1980 and 1995, with current estimates at 25M people in the United States. Children under the age of six comprise almost half of all poisonings, by way of cleaning and personal care products. The EPA notes that the air inside your home may contain more pollutants than outside your home, and since we spend 90% of our time inside we’re putting ourselves at greater risk than being outside.
Legislation has been introduced in California to require ingredients in cleaning products to be listed on the label and online–much like food products–and there was a Come Clean Rally on January 20 on the Capitol steps in Sacramento to support the Cleaning Product Ingredients Disclosure Bill (AB 708).
So what can you do? Go green! Ditch the spray cleaners that cause asthma: Clorox, Fantastik, Febreze, Formula 409, Easy-Off, Lysol, Mr. Clean and Spic and Span. The benefits of green cleaning include better health for you and for the environment. With green cleaning products, the person scrubbing your sink or bathtub won’t be breathing in toxic fumes, and these substances won’t linger on your countertops to be accidentally transferred to food or hands.
When searching for your new stash of green cleaning products, make sure they’re made from naturally occurring, non-toxic substances that are plant-derived. Avoid cleaning products containing phosphates and chlorine which are toxic to humans and harm the environment. Cleaning products derived from soybean oil are another non-toxic option for removing grease and soap scum. Some trustworthy green cleaning brands include Dr. Bronner’s, Seventh Generation, and Ecover. And you can always make your own green cleaning product–most natural cleaning recipes are made with baking soda and vinegar.
We can help you find cleaning services in your area that use eco-friendly products. Simply mention it as a preference when you book a cleaning over the phone at 1-866-454-6243. We’re working on a new feature for the Cleanify site that allows you to filter results by green cleaning providers–click the follow link at the bottom of the blog to find out when that feature is live.
When you focus on green cleaning, you’re helping to keep your own environment and the world’s environment free of harmful chemicals. What’s healthy for you and your family is the best choice for everyone on the planet.
Information sourced from:
- Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World by Diane McEachern, which includes list of toxic ingredients in common household cleaners.
- Indoor Air ’90: health effects associated with indoor air contaminants. International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Toronto, 1990.
- Asthma health report from Safer Families
- The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality and Label Review Manual from the United States Environmental Protection Agency
- Poison statistics from National Capital Poison Center
- EWG Cleaners Database Hall of Shame [pdf] from the Environmental Working Group