Traditional cleaning products contain an average of almost sixty-two toxic chemicals each. In recent years there has been a growing trend towards using green cleaning products, which do not contain the harmful chemicals and clean just as effectively as their traditional counterparts.
We’ve compiled six surprising toxins that are commonly found in traditionally cleaning products which are being used from day to day:
Largely found in household products that are fragranced. If you see the word “fragrance” on the product label, chances are that there are phthalates present. Phthalates are known as endocrine disruptors and can affect men through inhalation or skin contact. They can also cause migraines and asthma.
If you send your clothes to a dry-cleaning service or have professional carpet/upholstery cleaning done, it’s likely that you will encounter perchloroethylene (perc), a neurotoxin-chemical. Found in spot cleaners and used mainly by dry cleaners, perc is known for causing dizziness, loss of coordination and other symptoms associated with the brain. Individuals normally are exposed to perc through inhalation, often through the smell of freshly dry-cleaned clothes or the fumes that remain in the air after cleaning carpets.
Anything labelled as “antibacterial”, chances are it has triclosan in it. Triclosan is a toxin known for promoting the growth of drug-resistant bacteria that may also develop resistance to household bacteria. Continuous use of this toxin can actually develop resistance towards real antibiotics that humans may need from time to time. A study by The American Medical Association also indicated that there is no evidence these antimicrobials make individuals healthier or safer.
Another highly toxic chemical found in cleaning products with “antibacterial” labels are Quats. They pose the same threat as triclosan and are a type of antimicrobial. This means that they can irritate skin, create respiratory disorders, and develop asthma in individuals if used regularly.
2-Butoxyethanol belongs to the ‘glycol ethers’ category and is found in many window cleaners. It is also found in kitchen cleaners and multipurpose cleaners and gives cleaning products a sweet smell. Since there are no laws that govern the products listing, companies are not required to list this ingredient on their label at all. When enclosed areas such as basements or bathrooms are cleaned with products that contain 2-butoxyethanol, individuals may experience dizziness, become nauseous and start experiencing slight headaches.
Most polishing agents include ammonia, a highly toxic chemical that can especially affect elderly people with lung issues, and initiate breathing problems that may lead to asthma-like symptoms. It can also create a poisonous gas if mixed with bleach.
Reducing exposure to toxins will be beneficial to your health and we will published a follow up post with some suitable alternatives to these toxins shortly. By significantly reducing the use of harmful cleaning products, you can turn your home or office into a more toxin free environment!