The cleaning supply business is a multi-billion dollar business. Society is convinced that they must use these toxic and environmentally destructive products for their home to be considered clean. However, are you aware of just how harmful common cleaning supplies are to your health, the health of your children and the environment? Many household cleaning supplies including laundry detergents, toothpaste and shampoo contain formaldehyde.
Most common household cleaners stored in you home are considered hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Furthermore, the EPA has determined that indoor air quality is at least 100 times more polluted than outdoors due to the use of toxic cleaning products which leaves residue in the air and on the surface. Most common household cleaners are petrochemically derived or a synthetic thereof. These petrochemical products are literally produced from crude petroleum oil. When using these types of products the residue left in the air or on the surface is absorbed through the skin and thus enters the blood stream which is then absorbed into the fatty tissues. Studies have shown that these toxins can lead to a multitude of diseases such as asthma, allergies, and auto-immune diseases and even ADD. Ironically, over the past few decades, cases of cancer and asthma have grown significantly. Researchers have concluded that there is a direct correlation between petrochemical cleaning products and disease.
Not only are common household cleaners detrimental to your health they are just as detrimental to the environment. In the U.S. we pour down 22 million pounds of household toxins down the drain. Most of the products are not adequately processed by sewage treatments or septic tanks. The long term effect of these toxins on our environment will offend our surface and ground water. Additionally, if every household in the United States replaced one 28 oz bottle of petroleum based cleaner with a bio-based product, we would save 118,700 barrels of oil per year.
In order to protect the health of our families and the environment, there are safer alternatives for cleaning. Bio-based, degradable, and environmentally products are available. When purchasing green cleaning supplies be wary. Products claiming to be eco-safe, environmentally friendly and natural does not necessarily mean it is non-toxic. There is no regulation on the above terms and thus manufacturers add these terms to their product label and deceive the public into thinking they are purchasing safe cleaning supplies. This type of deceptive marketing is called greenwashing. If a product label indicates that it needs special handling or ventilation be forewarned that it is detrimental to your health and the environment. There is no need to expose yourself or your environment to these toxins.
When purchasing cleaning supplies it is imperative that you read the label. The product label should identify true eco-friendly ingredients such as grain alcohol versus the toxin 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent. Disinfectant type products should contain plant oils derived from eucalyptus, rosemary or sage rather than a registered pesticide such as triclosan which is found in anti-bacterial soaps.