Many common household cleaners on the market may clean your home, but they also contain carcinogenic chemicals that can cause a variety of health and environmental problems. Among the most dangerous chemicals in everyday household cleaners, glycol-containing ethers are perhaps the most prevalent. This large group of chemicals, which are not required to be listed on product labels, has been associated with anemia, asthma, testicular damage, reduced fertility, and birth defects.
The April issue of Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living, on newsstands now, provides readers with an extensive list of chemicals to avoid -- including other names that the chemicals are known by -- and the staff's choices for greener alternatives.
"The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the volatile chemicals found in cleaning products can affect our environment and our health, making Earth Day the perfect time to re-evaluate the products we use in our homes," says Editor-in-Chief Linda Sparrowe.
A sample of the chemicals named in the article, what they clean, and their 'greener' alternatives include:
- Glycol ethers (all-purpose): Easily absorbed through the skin; can disrupt hormones. Greener choice: Earth Friendly Products Parsley Plus All-Surface Cleaner
- Butyl cellosolve (glass): Causes nerve damage if absorbed through the skin. Greener choice: Ecodiscoveries Glass
- Monoethanolamine (floor): Known cause of asthma. Greener choice: Babyganics Floor Cleaner Concentrate
- Sodium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, and phosphoric acid, aka bleach, (bathroom): Lung and skin irritants; have been linked to cancer, reproductive, learning, and behavioral problems. Greener choice: Naturally Clean Tub and Tile
- Phosphates (dishwasher): Flow into lakes and rivers, causing an overgrowth of algae and depriving fish of oxygen. Greener choice: Earth Friendly Products Wave
- Petroleum-based components (dishwashing liquid): A nonrenewable resource. Greener choice: Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap
- Benzenes (dryer sheets): Can damage the central nervous system. Greener choice: Seventh Generation Fabric Softener