Toxic Cleaning Products and How They Affect Your Health
Cleaning our homes often is not only good for our health by keeping bugs at bay and nasty smells away, but cleaning is also good for the soul and rejuvenates our homes energy (chi).
So, it is shocking to find out that many cleaning products widely offered today are harmful to our health and contain toxic substances such as volatile organic compounds.
These toxins can cause mild reactions such as headaches, skin and eye irritation to more severe problems such as hormone disruption, asthma, while some ingredients known carcinogens.
Research carried out by the EWG found that there is a lack of federal regulations that inform consumers of what ingredients are in these products. Manufacturers are not obligated to list every ingredient which has led to an unregulated industry.
As consumers, we are unknowingly buying cleaning products in good faith not realising how toxic they are not only to our health but the environment too. When these products are flushed down our drains and into our water systems, they further affect aquatic life, plants and animals and our ecosystem.
It is not until something happens, such as an unknown illness or an allergic reaction that you may have to delve deeper into the cause of the problem and often this is when people find out about toxic substances within the home.
We are here to help, as creating healthy homes is what we do so we spend time researching so that we can inform consumers of possible problems and help you to find natural solutions.
When cleaning read product ingredients and follow instructions on the label, always wear rubber gloves, never mix different cleaning products as some products may react by producing poisonous gasses and always ventilate by opening windows.
When looking for natural and non-toxic cleaning products, you will still need to be a little savvy as many manufacturers make environmental statements that can be misleading.
We often purchase products with labels that state “green” or “eco-friendly”, when this may refer to something simple such as this package is widely recycled. Make sure to read the ingredients on the back of the label to make sure the product is non-toxic.
Method is a smart choice as they have a vast range of products, and the packaging is so pretty you can leave it out on show, and some products smell so good.
Methods eco-credentials are superior to none, with over 40 products that are “Cradle to Cradle”. Additionally, the ingredients are non-toxic, non-hazardous and completely safe around children and pets.
Toxins Ingredients In Cleaning Products
There can be hundreds of ingredients that go into our cleaning products, we have looked at the ingredients in many popular cleaning products on the market today and have listed below the top toxic offenders. This list is just a small snapshot and is by no means exhaustive.
Air fresheners |Washing-up Liquid|“Fragranced” Cleaners
Toxins: Phthalates, Volatile Organic Compounds, Formaldehyde
Many fragranced cleaning products contain Phthalates; Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system, which impacts our hormones and can cause infertility and congenital disabilities.
Exposure to phthalates occurs mainly through inhalation and our skin. Because the skin has no defence against toxins, the chemicals go directly to our organs.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. There is a wide range of substances that fall under the category of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
Some of the health effects of exposure from VOCs include headaches, eye, nose throat irritation and damage to both liver, kidneys and our nervous system.
Exposure to formaldehyde is mainly through inhalation and breathing air containing off-gassed formaldehyde. Some of the health effects of exposure from formaldehyde include: Eye, nose throat irritation and high levels of exposure may cause some types of cancer.
Oven Cleaner | Drain Cleaner
Toxins: Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda)
Sodium Hydroxide absorbs moisture from the air and is particularly corrosive. If it comes in contact with our skin or eyes, it can irritate and in some cases severely burn, additionally, inhalation can cause a sore throat, runny nose and inflammation of the lungs.
Antibacterial products | Washing up Liquid|Hand Sanitizer
Triclosan is an active antimicrobial ingredient used to slow or stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Studies carried out by the FDA show that exposure to high doses of triclosan in animals saw a decrease in the level of thyroid hormones, but there is no study to prove this to be the same in humans.
Furthermore, the FDA raised concerns that exposure to triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. There is no evidence that triclosan provides any benefit to human health and that antibacterial soaps contain triclosan work any better than soap and water.
Window Cleaner | Kitchen & Multipurpose Cleaner
2-Butoxyethanol is hazardous to human health, so much so that it has been regulated under the clean air act because it can cause serious health issues.
The EPA finds that exposure to 2-Butoxyethanol in animals causes damage to red blood cells, hemolytic anaemia through breathing in vapours, through the skin and ingestion.
Additionally, short term exposure at high levels can cause pulmonary oedema and severe kidney and liver damage.
Non-toxic Cleaning Products
On a personal note, my cleaning cupboard only consists of a few items: Multi-surface cleaner which I use for cleaning the kitchen, bathroom & dusting, essential oils, washing up liquid and toilet cleaner.
Therefore switching to non-toxic cleaning products will not cost the earth, I have listed below tried and tested products that are non-toxic, work well and smell delicious.
- Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Limited Edition Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Washing up liquid
- Wood Floor Cleaner
- Hand Soap