Do you feel safe knowing you use green, all-natural cleaning products? You sense of security may be misplaced. According to a study conducted by the University of Washington, a surprising number of popular all-natural home products contain volatile chemicals that aren’t listed on the label. Even more disturbing is the fact that more than 30% of these products give off fumes that are carcinogenic. These chemicals may be lurking in the cleaning supplies and personal care products you use every day even though they’re labeled as green or organic.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin placed samples of various “green” products including shampoos, detergents, soaps, deodorants, and cleaning products into an enclosed container and measured the amount of volatile chemicals they gave off. Shockingly, all of them emitted chemical vapors that were harmful, and some were probable carcinogens. Even more disturbing is the fact that hundreds of chemicals were detected that weren’t even listed on the product ingredient label.
How can companies that claim to sell all-natural cleaning supplies and green products get by with this? Surprisingly, manufacturers of home and personal care products aren’t required to list fragrances on their label. Many fragrances used in these products are a blend of many chemicals – some of which are toxic. There’s no way of knowing by reading the ingredients of so-called all-natural cleaning supplies, personal products, and home products what fragrance toxins you’re exposed to when you scrub your floor or clean your mirrors. Not very reassuring, is it?
Fortunately, a new proposal is being considered by the U.S. Senate called the Household Product Labeling Act. This bill would require companies to list fragrance chemicals on their labels. But this hasn’t passed yet. Until it does, look for green cleaning recipes on the internet that use natural ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, or borax. These homemade all-natural cleaning supplies are less expensive, and at least you know what’s in them. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by a “green” label. These “greener” products may be an improvement over the chemical-laden cleaners of the past, but they’re not toxin-free. Chances are you already have the non-toxic ingredients you need to clean your like vinegar and baking soda right in your own cabinet. Put them to work for you.
University of Washington News. “Scented consumer products shown to emit many unlisted chemicals”