Dangerous Chemicals in Household Products
By: Christina Hampson
Every year there are more than 7 million accidental poisonings, more than 3 out of 4 of these poisonings involve children aged 5 and under. Also, compared to air-pollution, household products are three times more likely to cause cancer. These facts don’t even take into account how bad some of these ingredients can be for our environment. There are many dangerous chemicals being used in unsafe ways in households throughout the world. In addition to the harmful effects that these ingredients have there are no laws that require manufacturers of cleaning products to reveal the ingredients in their products or to test the safety of these ingredients. This means that it is up to us consumers to educate ourselves about the hazards of these products so that we can make safe decisions on which items to use in our homes. The following are commonly found chemicals in household cleaning solutions and their adverse effects:
• Phenols- common in disinfectants, poisonous to circulatory and respiratory systems.
• Chlorinated phenols- common in toilet cleaners poisonous to circulatory and respiratory
• Nonylphenol ethoxylate- a surfactant common in all-purpose cleaners and laundry detergents, biodegrades into even more toxins.
• Formaldehyde- found in deodorizers, suspected carcinogen and respiratory irritant.
• Petroleum solvents- common in floor cleaners, adverse effect on mucous membranes.
• Diethylene glycol- common in window cleaners, nervous system depressant.
• Perchloroethylene- spot remover, damages kidneys and liver.
• Butyl cellosolve- found in all-purpose cleaners, window cleaners, and other cleaners, harmful to the nervous system, bone marrow, liver, and kidneys.
• APEs- surfactant found in all-purpose cleaners, detergents, and disinfectants, endocrine disruptor (mimics human hormones in the body).
• Styrene- found in metal cleansers and floor waxes, known carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, harmful to central nervous system, reproductive system and liver.
• Organochlorines- common in bleaches, detergents, and degreasers, known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
Obviously there are many more dangerous chemicals being used than the ones that are listed above. It is crucial that we as consumers take the time to educate ourselves and learn about the dangers of these household chemicals that we have been taught to trust and purchase throughout our lives. Recognizing labels that neglect to list off ingredients used should be viewed as a red flag that the manufacturer does not want the consumer to know what ingredients are in the product, and probably for good reason (if you knew what was it in you wouldn’t buy it). The more we learn about these toxins, the more obvious it becomes how dangerous they are to anyone who is exposed. Knowing that there are alternative options for cleaning solutions that are just as effective, but not harmful, is key in protecting our family and ourselves. Be wary of the products you use in your house.
*Visit http://www.ecopolproject.blogspot.com/2012/07/economically-green-cleaning.html for more information on economically green cleaning.
http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_279.cfm http://green.wikia.com/wiki/Toxins_in_Household_Cleaning_Products http://voices.yahoo.com/how-dangerous-household-cleaners-28288.html