August 22, 2013 - Few things are more stressful for busy parents than trying to keep a home clean. Vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing all of these activities seem so common, which is why you may be shocked to learn even some safe and non-toxic cleaning chemicals can be dangerous
for your familys health. The Environmental Working Group
(EWG) has put together a report on some of the most dangerous household chemicals. Here are the top five most dangerous (with natural alternatives).
5. Scrubbing Bubbles
Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner
Extend-A-Clean Mega Shower Foamer
These cute scrubbing bubbles may seem innocuous, but they can actually be deadly. They contain up to 10% DEGBE, also known as butoxydiglycol. This substance is so dangerous, the European Union
banned aerosol cleaners With concentrations of 3% or more of the substance. If you werent careful, the spray from this product care into your lungs and inflame them.
Natural alternative: Baking soda is safe and effective cleaner. In fact, people he sees baking soda as their go to cleaning solution. Its great for cleaning, deodorizing, and scrubbing floors and it wont inflame your lungs.
4. Spic and Span
Multi-Surface and Floor Cleaner
You may not be able to buy this cleaner in the state of California: in 2012, the state banned nonylphenol ethoxylate, one of the main ingredients in Spic and Span
Multi Surface and Floor Cleaner.
You also cant buy this product in the European Union
for the same reason. If two of the leading governmental bodies for chemical safety (at least in many cases) have banned the dangerous chemical contained in this bottle, you know it can cause serious harm. And, in fact, it can nonylphenol ethoxylate breaks down into nonylphenol, a chemical known to be toxic to aquatic life, disruptive to the hormone system, and difficult to get out of an environment once introduced.
Natural Alternative: Vinegar. Simply mix half a bottle of white vinegar and scrub with it. After letting it sit overnight, clean it with lemon to create a pleasant aroma.
3. Citra-Solv Cleaner Degreaser
The convenient way Citra-Solv is ready-to-spray when you buy it attracts many busy people who dont want the hassle of mixing their own cleaning solutions. The Citra implies a citrus-based formula, and of course thats safe, right? Wrong Citra-Solv contains between 85-95% d-limonene, a chemical which, according to the EWG, mixes with trace amounts of ozone air pollution, becomes formaldehyde, and enters the lungs.
Its no secret this chemical is dangerous. The U.S. government classifies it as a known carcinogen, and the California
Air Resources board has issued warnings to avoid pine oil or citrus based cleaners when air pollution is bad. If your cleaner can mix with the air and become a deadly toxin, you should throw it out.
Natural alternative: Combine white vinegar and water in a spray bottle at a 1:9 ratio and simply spray whatever surface you need to clean. Then, spray hydrogen peroxide on the same surface and scrub. Alternatively, you can try using salt as a cleaner.
2. Whink Rust Stain Remover
Here are some of the warning on the fine print of this cleaner:
May be fatal or cause permanent damage.
Causes severe burns which may not be immediately painful or visible.
Will penetrate skin and attack underlying tissues or bone.
This product is recommended to be used only with adequate ventilation, rubber gloves and a safety mask. This information alone should be enough to convince you not to use it in the same area where your children play.
Natural alternative: Since Whink is used often as a toilet cleaner, let half a bottle of vinegar sit in your toilet overnight instead. In the morning, simply scrub and flush the toilet. No deadly chemicals needed.
1. Simple Green Concentrated All-Purpose Cleaner
This cleaner takes the top spot because of its apparent promise to be green and safe. Its not. dont fall for it. Despite the words non-toxic and biodegradable on the label, smart consumers should stay far away from this chemical mix. It contains 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent that can damage blood cells and irritate eyes. It also contains alcohol ethoxylate surfactants. Some of these chemicals are banned in the European Union.
Natural Alternative: Remember that 1:9 vinegar spray from earlier? Its a great all-purpose cleaner as well and perfect alternative to harsh chemicals.
There are many other cleaners not included on this list that are also dangerous to your health. In general, avoid any cleaning product with the words danger, poison, or fatal if swallowed or inhaled. Its difficult to keep a clean home, and you dont need to worry about toxic chemicals on top of all the other household chores. Keep your family safe by using the natural alternatives listed above instead of harsh toxins.