Monday, April 30, 2012

Toxic Household Cleaners

Kudos to Sarah B. Weir who wrote an article titled The Worst Household Cleaners for Your Health MyAchingKnees believes that there are four legs to the Chair of Health: Maximize intake of good Low Glycemic Foods/Minimize intake of bad foods; Lead an active, physical lifestyle; take quality nutritional supplements; and, Avoid Toxins.
Toxins can be found about anywhere, … the air with pollution from auto exhausts; in foods such as the ever increasingly alerts on e coli in meat products; to the toxins found in off the shelf supplements and medications; and, in the case of this article, to the toxic chemicals found in household cleaners.
My wife is fastidious in cleaning,….in fact, almost to the point it is a disorder. I have often thought about the amount of money we spend on cleaners, but prefer not to know. But I have asked her to take measures to protect herself from all the toxic chemicals in the cleaning products,……wearing rubber gloves and a painters face mask when she sprays cleaners on the windows and furniture,…..perhaps opening a door and/or window and turning on the ceiling fans to drive aerosols away from the living areas.
In any event, the article by Sarah Weir serves to provide a strong warning to people on the dangers of these toxins in cleaners. Not necessarily because one time exposure will pose a grave danger, but certainly repeated exposure for years and even decades can.
The Article:
Most people think of house cleaning as a way to make their living environment safer and healthier, but according to the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) just-released "Cleaners Hall of Shame," many common products contain chemicals that can "inflict serious harm on unwary users."
Consumers often assume that the cleaning products industry is strongly regulated by the government, but EWG Senior Analyst Nneka Leiba tells Yahoo! Shine that this is a misconception. "Most hazardous ingredients are legal and many are unlabeled." These include toxic compounds such as formaldehyde that are banned in other countries and are known to or suspected of causing cancer, blindness, asthma, burns, and other afflictions. There is also little information on how the hundreds of chemicals we are exposed to react together and what their cumulative effects on the body are.
The EWG came up with its "Hall of Shame" list while developing an extensive database that scientifically analyzes the chemicals in 2,000 products. "While we were researching the database, we saw glaring problems which we wanted to highlight to the public immediately," says Leiba.
The full database will be published in the fall of 2012. The EWG report cites the following worst offenders: Mop & Glo Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner contains methoxydiglycol (DEGME), a toxic chemical which is "suspected of damaging the unborn child" by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe .
The EWG found that the DEGME levels in this product are up to 15 times higher than allowed in the European Union. Tarn-X Tarnish Remover contains up to seven percent thiourea, which is categorized as a carcinogen by the state of California .
The National Toxicology Program, an interagency government group, says that thiourea is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner claims to be "non-toxic" but contains 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent absorbed through the skin that irritates eyes and may damage red blood cells.
The EWG points out that this highly concentrated product should be diluted, but is sold in a spray bottle which is can lead customers to misuse it in a hazardous way. Target's Up & Up and Walmart's Great Value brands are what the EWG calls "mystery mixes," products whose labels offer little or no ingredient information. There are a number of products the EWG also says to avoid:  
* Whink Rust Stain Remover
* Citra-Solv Cleaner and Degreaser
* Spic and Span Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner
* Scrubbing Bubbles Anti-Bacterial Bathroom Cleaner and Extend-a-Clean Mega Shower Foamer
* DampRid Mildew Stain Remover Plus Blocker
* Easy-Off Fume Free Over Cleaner
* Drano Extra Strength Kitchen Crystals Clog Remover
* Walmart Great Value Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner
* CVS Fume Free Oven Cleaner * Easy-Off Heavy Duty Oven Cleaner Aerosol Spray
* Glade Air Freshener
* Air Wick Air Freshener
* Spot Shots Stain Remover
* Lysol Disinfectant Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner
* 2000 Flushes Toilet Bowl Cleaner
* X-14 Toilet Bowl Cleaner
* Hagarty Liquid Jewel Clean
* Ajax , Dynamo, and Fab Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergents
* Static Guard * Final Touch Ultra Liquid Fabric Softener
* Clorox, Fantastik, Febreze, Formula 409, Easy-Off, Lysol, Mr. Clean and Spic and Span spray cleaners * Comet Disinfectant Cleanser Powder
* Lysol Neutra Air Freshmatic
* Air Wick Freshmatic Compact
* Febreze and Glade Automatic Air Fresheners
Until the full database comes out in the fall, which will point consumers toward the safest products, Leiba says that consumers should be stringent label readers. "The fine print warnings are revealing. If a product says it may be fatal, you probably shouldn't be using it around a young child. If it says use gloves, use gloves. If it says don't use around pets or in confined area, then that is telling you something about its safety." If a product has minimal labeling, she suggests calling the company for more information.
The safest cleaning products are cheap, widely available and have been around for centuries: baking soda, water, and vinegar along with some elbow grease. The EWG says these ingredients can be used to clean everything from countertops to hardwood floors to ovens.
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1 comment:

  1. glad to find your website... but its not easy to happen upon: you only showed up at the top of page TEN of my search for "damprid blocker toxicity" UGH!! the rest was pretty much all store sites selling the stuff...
    trying to locate information on potential toxicity of DampRid's Mildew & Mold Blocker spray, with pretty much ZERO success... i haven't even been able to find out whats actually in it DOUBLE UGH!!
    tho i suspect whatever's its made of, really can't be all that good for us canaries...

    anyway, this new reader is bookmarking your site to her faves list and will definitely check back in periodically for new info on nasty chems, coz
    Chronic Pain really bites!