Here’s the deal – according to the April, 2010 issue of Shop Smart, there are 90,000 chemicals used in commercial products today, including household cleaners. Only a fraction of them have been tested for their safety. We know even less about the combined effects of these ingredients. As consumers, we need to proceed with extreme caution. www.shopsmartmag.org
Exposing ourselves to fewer chemicals is clearly the first order of business. We can do that by using organic, green products. Use all cleaners sparingly and only what they’re meant for. Don’t use any toxic cleaners around children or anyone with asthma or respiratory issues.
The Department of Health and Human Services has a “Household Products Database – Health and Safety Information of Household Products” which is very informative. They rate products from 0 (minimal for health risk) to 4 (severe health risk). Look up your favorite products at: www.householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/index.htm
To learn more about the toxins in our cleaning products, go to these websites:
What to ditch:
Read the labels. If there are safety warnings, take them seriously.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers lists corrosive toilet cleaners as the most dangerous toxins found in the home. I switched my toilet cleaner to Method Lil’ Bowl Blu and like it better. It smells much less industrial and noxious, and did the job with equal success as my toxic cleaner.
Get rid of moth balls and crystals, and toilet bowl deodorizers because they contain para-dichlorobenzene (p-DCB).
Ammonia can burn skin and aggravate asthma or breathing problems.
Read about many other toxins and which cleaning products they are found in at www.lesstoxicguide.ca/index.asp?fetch=household.
Make the switch:
Look for seals certifying that you are buying a green cleaner. Some seals are not honest. See this article from The Wall Street journal about the lawsuit against products fraudulently described as “environmentally friendly”.
Ones you can count on are independent third parties such as Certified Biodegradable, Design for the Environment, Green Seal, and Leaping Bunny.
Here are some products we have either used ourselves or have read good reviews of:
Green Works Natural Cleaning Wipes ($3.39 for 30) strong and effective, they can be disposed of in your compost bin and the container is recyclable.
Method Multi-Surface Wipes (French Lavender) are made of bamboo fibers. They clean very well and are renewable and compostable. Their pouch uses 60% less plastic than a typical container.
Martha Stewart Clean natural 99% plant and mineral based home cleaning products
Simplicity Hypoallergenic Non-Toxic 2x
Seventh Generation Natural Powdered HE
Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Nuggets $19. Packed in a cute tin, biodegradable, dissolving soap bombs, premeasured. www.nelliesallnatural.com
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day laundry detergent
Caldrea’s earth-friendly laundry products
Reusable dryer sheet: Static Eliminator is good for hundreds of loads for under $20
Scotch-Brite Soap Loaded Scrubbers are pre-filled with biodegradable soap and the scrubbers are made from recycled plastic bottles.
Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent packs
Biokleen With Natural Oxygen Bleach Powder.
Method Smarty Dish www.methodhome.com
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day automatic dishwashing liquid
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dish Soap
Palmolive Pure + Clear dishwashing liquid
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Surface Scrub and toilet bowl cleaner
Seventh Generation Free & Clear
Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
Method All-Purpose Cleaner
Homeology All-Purpose Cleaner
The Laundress All-Purpose Cleaning Concentrate – non-toxic, biodegradable, allergin-free. $15 for 16 fl. Oz.
Biokleen Lavendar-Lime Bac-out bathroom cleaner – removes mold and prevents new growth
Martha Stewart Clean – natural 99% plant and mineral based home cleaning products
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Window Spray pix
Greenology Organic Glass Cleaner
Mop & Bucket: Casabella Eclipse is made from recycled soda bottles.
On April 15, 2010 the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 was introduced to both the House and Senate. In both versions of the bill there are essential reforms to improve public health protection. To learn more go to www.ewg.org.
Women’s Voices for the Earth is a national organization that encourages women to advocate for a healthy environment. www.womenandenvironment.org
Sole Ryeders, a community-based organization committed to promoting women’s health and wellness offer events all year long to support local causes, making donations to the Avon Foundation and so much more. Click here to find out more: Soleryeders
Read the newsletter of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, a coalition of parents, health professionals, advocates for learning and development disabilities, reproductive health advocates, environmentalists and businesses.
Watch Kid-Safe Chemicals Act: 10 Americans,a blog produced by the Environmental Working Group.
Go to Health at Home, part of WebMD. It takes you through a home and identifies toxins: