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What is in Your Household Cleaner?

Posted by Environment Smart on 09/27 at 06:41 PM
Tips and How-to'sIn the housePermalink

Many commercial household cleaning products are not only very bad for the environment, but they also contain ingredients that can impact your health. There are a number of ingredients that you should be wary of. According to the National Geographic Green Guide, the top cleaning-product ingredients to avoid are:

  • Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs): commonly found in detergents and disinfectants. They are suspected hormone disruptors.
  • Ammonia: poisonous when swallowed and irritating to respiratory passages when inhaled. It can also burn the skin on contact.
  • Triclosan: found in antibacterial cleansers and may be contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs.
  • Butyl cellosolve (butyl glycol, ethylene glycol monobutyl): poisonous when swallowed and can irritate lung tissue.
  • Chlorine bleach (aka sodium hypochlorite): can irritate the lungs and eyes.
  • Diethanolamine (DEA): can combine with nitrosomes (often-undisclosed preservatives) to produce carcinogenic nitrosamines that penetrate skin.
  • Phthalates: often contained in fragrances. These chemicals are linked to reproductive abnormalities and liver cancer in lab animals and to asthma in children.
  • Phosphates: water softeners found in detergents. They contribute to algae blooms in our waterways, which can kill off fish populations.
  • Sodium hydroxide: are found in drain, metal and oven cleaners. This is extremely irritating to eyes, nose and throat and can burn those tissues on contact.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate: a common sudsing agent. This can penetrate the skin and cause contact dermatitis.

For a detailed checklist of hazardous ingredients found in cleaners, visit informinc.org.

About the author: Environment Smart