By: Sylvia Anderson
Not only is this harmful to the individual using the product, real-time, but the residual is flushed down the toilet, drained in the sink, or sprayed in the air.
All of those methods put the toxins back into the environment and perpetuate the cycle.
The household cleaning product industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. The bad news, says Lisa Beres, Certified Green Building Professional, is that the industry is highly unregulated.
Manufacturers don't have to list ingredients on labels. In fact, they often try to mislead the consumer by using words like "natural" or "non-toxic," when, in fact, the products may still contain toxins. Even carcinogens. Companies can hide these ingredients behind certain terms. For instance, "fragrance" can hide hundreds of different chemicals. They are not required by law to list the ingredients, because they are protected by their right to "trade secrets."
So, as a consumer, how can you choose products that won't cause you and your family harm?
One certain indication is this: if there's a skull and crossbones on the product you're using, step away. Companies are required to put terms like "poison" or "danger" or "fatal if swallowed" But, that only addresses acute symptoms; it says nothing about the long-term effects.
Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is working hard for consumers. The organization put together a database with over 2,000 cleaning products, and each was given a toxicity rating. The database also lists what chemicals are in each product.
Many are loaded with toxic compounds (some that are banned in other countries). Some have even been linked to blindness, asthma, and cancer.
The EWG also made up a "Hall of Shame" list, identifying the worst offenders. Two of the most dangerous products were Febreeze Air Effects (with 89 harmful contaminants) and Comet, which has 146 different chemicals that have been linked to health issues including cancer, asthma, and reproductive disorders.
There are other ways to clean your home, says Beres, for the same (or less) cost as these dangerous products.
Essential oils are a great way to freshen the air without all of those chemicals. You can use vinegar, lemon, olive oil, and essential oils as all-natural cleaners and air fresheners.
And, you want to buy from companies that will give you full disclosure and tell you everything that's in their products. Look for third-party certifications, so you know the company is being held accountable.
Remember, that clean air smell or the "freshness" emitted from your toilet bowl is chemically-based and doing some serious damage to your health.
In the accompanying audio segment, Lisa Beres, Certified Green Building Professional, joins Naturally Savvy hosts, Andrea Donsky and Lisa Davis, to discuss which cleaning products are making you sick and why.