No one wants to live near a toxic waste dump. But if you’re like most people, that’s essentially what you have underneath your kitchen sink.
Commercial cleaning products are full of chemicals that can cause serious health problems. They include laundry detergents, bathroom cleaners, dishwashing soaps, and floor cleaners.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer organization, analyzed thousands of cleaning products. It found many of them are linked to:
- Cancer. Some brand-name cleaning products are laced with 1,4-doxane. It’s a proven carcinogen. Others have preservatives that release formaldehyde, another cancer-causer.
- Birth defects. Women who have cleaning jobs that expose them to chemical products have an elevated risk of having children with birth defects, according to a study by the New York State Department of Health.
- Asthma. Multiple studies show fumes from cleaning supplies can lead to asthma and other breathing problems.1 The EWG found that 53% of commercial cleaning products have ingredients known to the harm the lungs.
- Allergies. The EWG found many cleaners are full of chemicals that trigger allergies. Some of these reactions are so severe they send people to the hospital.
- Hormone problems. Sodium borate (borax) is added to many products as a cleaning agent. It can disrupt the hormone system and is linked to lower sperm count in men.2
How can you protect yourself and your family? Look for products with the Green Seal or EcoLogo labels. These designations mean products use nontoxic ingredients that do not threaten health and are environmentally friendly.
Two Cleaners You Can Make Yourself
Even better, you can make your own cleaners that work great and won’t harm you or your family. Here are two easy recipes:
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup white or cider vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
Combine ingredients and store in a spray bottle. Spray on a paper towel or soft cloth, then wipe glass.3
Bathroom Mildew Cleaner
- ½ cup hydrogen peroxide (3%)
- 1 cup water
Pour into spray bottle. Spray onto bathroom mold and wait one hour. Rinse.
For a complete list of the healthiest (and unhealthiest) cleaning products, go to the EWG’s website. It rates more than 2,000 products. You don’t need to keep poison under your sink to have a clean home.
In Good Health,
Executive Director, INH Health Watch