We are drowning in a sea of poisons.  From our personal products like shampoos and soaps to our cleaning products to our cosmetics and beauty products, we are steeping in a chemical soup.

Here at Health Harmonized, we are passionate about helping to educate our clients about how to take better care of themselves.  This includes helping you recognize how you may be poisoning yourself.  Over the next few months, we will consider several sources of environmental poisons, how to avoid them, and how to counter them in our series on Household Poisons.

In this post, we will consider the poisons we use to clean our world.  From our laundry to our hard surfaces, the amount of chemicals we are bombarded with is staggering.

These not only have an effect on our health but also our environment.  These products almost always wind up going down our drains and to our water treatment plants.  Then, they are discharged into our waterways.  Not all chemicals break down or are taken out.  In fact, when tested, our water shows a cocktail of chemicals.  More than 65% of streams surveyed in our country were contaminated with detergents and disinfectants.

Another environmental problem with cleaning products is that many of them contain petroleum-based ingredients.  Further, the plastic containers these products come in are carcinogenic and often contain xenoestrogens.  These plastics go into our landfills and recycle centers.  Choosing larger sizes is helpful to reduce waste.

Many of our cleaning products do not list their ingredients.  A good rule of thumb is to look for words such as Danger, Warning, Caution, Poison, Corrosive, Hazardous and the like.  These are indications of some danger.  Moreover, phrases like “flammable,” “vapors harmful,” “may cause burns on contact,” “may cause skin irritation,” and others also indicate danger.

Watch for advertising words and phrases that are purposefully vague like “natural,” “non-toxic,” or “eco-friendly.”  These are put on by advertisers to purposefully hoodwink us into thinking they have meaning.  These phrases do not.  They are marketing words to try to target a green audience that doesn’t know enough to recognize these are meaningless phrases.  Read the ingredients.  Research them if you do not know what they do.  As Don Miguel Ruiz says in The Fifth Agreement, question everything.

Poisons in Cleaners

Abrasives (Cleaning Powders)

Examples include Comet and Ajax.

Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate and Sodium Linear Alkylbenzenesulfonate – especially dangerous to inhale in powdered form.  It irritates the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.

Trichlorocyanuric Acid – corrosive.  It irritates the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.  It can quickly reach hazardous levels.

Calcium Hydroxide – inhaling, ingesting, or touching can cause severe side effects.  It irritates the eyes, skin, nose, mouth, lungs, throat, skin, and stomach.

Trichloro-s-triazinetrione and Trichloroisocyanuric Acid (Symclosene) – a type of bleach that causes contact irritation to eyes and skin.  Inhalation irritation.  It may be toxic in development and reproduction and be a cancer causer.  It is very toxic to aquatic life and has long-lasting effects.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

 

Air Fresheners & Fabric Refreshers

Examples include Febreze, Glade, Air Wick, and Lysol.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Alcohol Ethoxylates – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Causes nervous system damage.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

Dideclydimethylammonium Chloride – causes severe burns and eye damage.  Respiratory effects.

Sodium Borate – affects development, endocrine system, reproductive system, skin, and respiratory system.

Trideceth-4 – causes cancer.  Damages DNA.  Affects respiration, development, reproduction, endocrine system, digestive system, skin, nervous system.  Damages vision.

Mipa-Borate – development and reproductive toxicity.  Endocrine disruptor.

Mineral Oil – causes cancer.  Affects several organ systems.  Does not biodegrade.

Myristalkonium Saccharinate – respiratory damage.

Mineral Spirits – damages DNA.  Causes genetic defects.  Causes cancer.

 

All-Purpose

Examples include Lysol, 409, and Fantastik.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Active) – protected as a trade secret, the ingredients are not fully disclosed; there can be additional hazardous things in here.  In itself, this has been shown to cause infertility in several studies.

Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chlorides (C12-16) – general and systemic organ effects, especially on respiration.  Causes reproductive toxicity.  Environmental poison.

Ethanolamine – severe skin burns and eye damage.  Respiratory irritant.  Toxic to aquatic life.  Causes central nervous system depression.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

FD&C Yellow 5 – causes development and reproductive toxicity.  May cause cancer.  Is toxic to aquatic life.

Dipropylene Glycol Butyl Ether – evidence of cancer.  Damages DNA.  Effects on development, endocrine system, and reproductive system.

Decyl Alcohol – highly toxic to aquatic life.

Tetrasodium Edta – toxic to aquatic life.

 

Bleach

Includes liquid laundry bleach and any cleaner with bleach.

Sodium Hypochlorite – very toxic to aquatic life.  Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.  Causes respiratory damage.  Development and reproductive toxicity.  May cause cancer.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Sodium Polyacrylate – does not easily biodegrade.  Toxic to aquatic life.

 

Carpet and Rug Cleaners

Includes spot treatments as well as all over carpet powders and steam cleaner solutions.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Sodium Polyacrylate – does not easily biodegrade.  Toxic to aquatic life.

Hexahydro11,3,52-Tris (2-Hydroxyethyl)-S-Triazine – one of its components is formaldehyde which is known to cause cancer in humans.  It is also a respiratory irritant and causes severe skin reactions.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

Alcohol Alkoxylates – potential to cause cancer.  Affects the reproductive system.  May cause developmental concerns.  Affects the endocrine system.  Damages DNA.

Diethylene Glycol Propyl Ether – may cause genetic defects.  Can cause respiratory damage, skin allergies and irritation, developmental/reproductive toxicity, and cancer.  Damages the DNA.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – toxic to several organs as well as reproductive and development.  Neurotoxicity.  Endocrine disruptor.  Toxic to our ecosystem.  Causes biochemical and cellular changes.  Irritant to skin and eyes.

Methylisothiazolinone – very toxic to aquatic life.  Skin irritant, causes allergies and damage to skin.

Acrylic Acid – damages skin and causes allergies.  Extremely toxic to aquatic life.  Damaging to the respiratory system.

Sodium Salts – another ingredient that can hide several.  May cause developmental and reproductive concerns.  May disrupt the endocrine system.  Skin and eye irritant.  Causes respiratory effects.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone – toxic to aquatic life.  Skin damage, irritation, and allergies.  Damages the DNA.

 

Daily Shower Cleaners

Examples include X-14 Daily Shower Cleaner, Clean Shower, and Scrubbing Bubbles

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – toxic to several organs as well as reproductive and development.  Neurotoxicity.  Endocrine disruptor.  Toxic to our ecosystem.  Causes biochemical and cellular changes.  Irritant to skin and eyes.

Ethanolamine – severe skin burns and eye damage.  Respiratory irritant.  Toxic to aquatic life.  Causes central nervous system depression.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Dicapryl/Dicaprylyl Dimonium Chloride – respiratory effects.

EDTA – damages vision.  Doesn’t biodegrade.

Sodium Salts – another ingredient that can hide several.  May cause developmental and reproductive concerns.  May disrupt the endocrine system.  Skin and eye irritant.  Causes respiratory effects.

Sodium Polyacrylate – does not easily biodegrade.  Toxic to aquatic life.

Oxygen Bleach – unspecified ingredient hiding other ingredients.  Causes developmental and reproductive toxicity.  Causes respiratory effects.  Skin irritant.

Lauryl Pyrrolidone – very toxic to aquatic life.  Skin damage, allergies, and irritations.

Octylphosphonic Acid – does not biodegrade.

 

Dish Soap

Examples include Dawn, Palmolive, and Ajax.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – toxic to several organs as well as reproductive and development.  Neurotoxicity.  Endocrine disruptor.  Toxic to our ecosystem.  Causes biochemical and cellular changes.  Irritant to skin and eyes.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Sulfuric Acid – causes cancer.  Affects the respiratory system.  Skin irritant.

Methanol – damages vision.  Skin irritant.  Damages respiratory system.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone – toxic to aquatic life.  Skin damage, irritation, and allergies.  Damages the DNA.

Methylisothiazolinone – very toxic to aquatic life.  Skin irritant, causes allergies and damage to skin.

Formaldehyde – causes cancer.  Has an effect on several organs/systems.  Damages respiratory system.  Skin irritant.  Acute aquatic toxicity.

DMDM Hydantion – causes cancer.  Affects the respiratory system, skin, and other organs.  Toxic to aquatic life.

FD&C Yellow 5 – causes development and reproductive toxicity.  May cause cancer.  Is toxic to aquatic life.

FD&C Red 40 – general organ effects.  Damages DNA.  Toxic to aquatic life.

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate – toxic to aquatic life.  Damages DNA.  Digestive system effects, nervous system effects, damages vision, causes cancer.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate – damages DNA.  Causes damage to vision.  Damages the nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, endocrine system, and may cause developmental toxicity.  Toxic to aquatic life.  Causes cancer.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

 

Dishwasher Soap

Examples include Cascade and Finish

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Cleaning Agent – undisclosed ingredient which may hide harmful things.  May cause cancer, reproductive/developmental toxicity.  May disrupt the endocrine system.  Damages the DNA.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Sodium Polyacrylate – does not easily biodegrade.  Toxic to aquatic life.

Alcohol Ethoxylates – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Causes nervous system damage.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.

FD&C Yellow 5 – causes development and reproductive toxicity.  May cause cancer.  Is toxic to aquatic life.

Hydrozincite – toxic to aquatic life.  Affects several organ systems.

Water Softener – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Concerns with biodegradation.

 

Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Examples include Cascade Rinse Aid and Finish Jet-Dry.

Zinc Chloride – highly toxic to aquatic life.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Alcohol Alkoxylates – potential to cause cancer.  Affects the reproductive system.  May cause developmental concerns.  Affects the endocrine system.  Damages DNA.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone – toxic to aquatic life.  Skin damage, irritation, and allergies.  Damages the DNA.

Methylisothiazolinone – very toxic to aquatic life.  Skin irritant, causes allergies and damage to skin.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

 

Disinfectants

This includes those sprays and wipes that have to sit for a few minutes to disinfect.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chlorides (C12-16) – general and systemic organ effects, especially on respiration.  Causes reproductive toxicity.  Environmental poison.

 

Drain Openers

Includes drain cleaners and openers.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

Sodium Hydroxide – corrosive.  Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.  Causes respiratory irritation.  Toxic to aquatic life.

 

Floor Care Products

Examples include Spic and Span, Quick Shine, ReadyMop, Mop & Glo, and Murphy Oil Soap.

Dipropylene Glycol Methyl Ether – causes central nervous system impairment.  Causes cancer.  Causes development and reproductive toxicity.  Skin irritant.  Respiratory irritant.  Endocrine disruptor.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

Nonoxynol-9 – toxic to aquatic life.  Causes cancer.  Causes developmental and reproductive concerns.  Disrupts the endocrine system.

Tetrasodium Edta – toxic to aquatic life.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Methanol – damages vision.  Skin irritant.  Damages respiratory system.

Methylisothiazolinone – very toxic to aquatic life.  Skin irritant, causes allergies and damage to skin.

Sodium Salts – another ingredient that can hide several.  May cause developmental and reproductive concerns.  May disrupt the endocrine system.  Skin and eye irritant.  Causes respiratory effects.

Polysorbate-20 – causes cancer.  Damages DNA.  Affects respiratory system, nervous system, skin, vision, reproductive system, endocrine system, digestive system.

Polyhexanide – chronic and acute aquatic toxicity.

 

Furniture Cleaners and Polishes

Examples include Pledge, Old English, and Orange Glo.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone – toxic to aquatic life.  Skin damage, irritation, and allergies.  Damages the DNA.

Methylisothiazolinone – very toxic to aquatic life.  Skin irritant, causes allergies and damage to skin.

C12-20 Isoparaffin – evidence it causes cancer.

Petroleum Gases, Liquefied, Sweetened – damages DNA.  Causes genetic defects.  Causes cancer.

Mineral Oil – causes cancer.  Affects several organ systems.  Does not biodegrade.

Dimethicone – does not biodegrade.  Skin and eye irritant.

Mineral Spirits – damages DNA.  Causes genetic defects.  Causes cancer.

Cyclopentasiloxane – doesn’t biodegrade.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

 

Glass cleaners

Ammonium Hydroxide – toxic to aquatic life.  Damages vision.  Skin irritant.  Respiratory irritant.

Sodium Borate – affects development, endocrine system, reproductive system, skin, and respiratory system.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Dipropylene Glycol Butyl Ether – evidence of cancer.  Damages DNA.  Effects on development, endocrine system, and reproductive system.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – toxic to several organs as well as reproductive and development.  Neurotoxicity.  Endocrine disruptor.  Toxic to our ecosystem.  Causes biochemical and cellular changes.  Irritant to skin and eyes.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

 

Hand Sanitizers

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Benzalkonium chloride – causes respiratory effects.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Triclosan – endocrine disruptor.  Bacteria resistance.  Weakened immune system.

 

Hard Water Mineral Removers

Examples include Lime-A-Way, Lysol, Whink, and Simple Green.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Alcohol Ethoxylates – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Causes nervous system damage.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.

Hydrochloric Acid – skin irritation/damage.  Respiratory irritant.  Damages vision.

PEG-2 Hydrogenated Tallow Anine – skin and respiratory irritant. Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.  Developmental and reproductive effects.  Endocrine disruptor.

Hydrofluoric Acid – skin irritant.  Respiratory irritant.  Causes pulmonary edema.

Denatonium Benzoate – toxic to aquatic life.

 

Laundry Detergent

Examples include Purex Free and Clear, All, Gain, and Tide.  Interestingly, this category and the fabric softeners had the most vague ingredients on this list.  So many places for hidden toxins.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Alcohol Ethoxysulfates– another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Causes nervous system damage.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.  Damages vision.

Disodium Distyrylbiphenyl Disulfonate – doesn’t biodegrade.

Fabric Brighteners – another hiding spot for hazardous ingredients.  Doesn’t biodegrade.

Methylisothiazolinone – very toxic to aquatic life.  Skin irritant, causes allergies and damage to skin.

Tetrasodium Edta – toxic to aquatic life.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – toxic to several organs as well as reproductive and development.  Neurotoxicity.  Endocrine disruptor.  Toxic to our ecosystem.  Causes biochemical and cellular changes.  Irritant to skin and eyes.

Sodium Polyacrylate – does not easily biodegrade.  Toxic to aquatic life.

 

Laundry Fabric Softener

This includes both liquids and sheets.  Interestingly, this category and the laundry detergents had the most vague ingredients on this list.  So many places for hidden toxins.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Cationic fabric softeners – acutely toxic to aquatic life.  Respiratory irritant.

Diethyloxyester Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride (DEEDMAC) – respiratory effects.  Acutely toxic to aquatic life.

Benzisothiazolinone – toxic to aquatic life.  Doesn’t biodegrade.  Skin irritant.

Formic Acid – respiratory effects.  Skin irritant.

Liquitint Blue – aquatic toxicity.

 

Laundry Stain Removers

Includes stain pens and pre-treating sprays.

Ethanolamine – severe skin burns and eye damage.  Respiratory irritant.  Toxic to aquatic life.  Causes central nervous system depression.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

Alcohol Ethoxylates – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Causes nervous system damage.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.

Dipropylene Glycol Butyl Ether – evidence of cancer.  Damages DNA.  Effects on development, endocrine system, and reproductive system.

Alkyl Sulfates – toxic to aquatic life.  Another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

 

Multi-surface cleaners

Examples include Pledge, Mr. Clean, Spic and Span, and Lysol.

Preservatives – another place for hazardous ingredients.  Causes cancer.  Aquatic toxicity.  Affects skin, respiration, and other organs.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Cleaning Agents – another place for hazardous ingredients.

Nonoxynol-9 – toxic to aquatic life.  Causes cancer.  Causes developmental and reproductive concerns.  Disrupts the endocrine system.

Tetrasodium Edta – toxic to aquatic life.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Sodium Xylene Sulfonate – skin irritant.  Environmental toxin.

Sodium Borate – affects development, endocrine system, reproductive system, skin, and respiratory system.

Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chlorides (C12-16) – general and systemic organ effects, especially on respiration.  Causes reproductive toxicity.  Environmental poison.

FD&C Yellow 5 – causes development and reproductive toxicity.  May cause cancer.  Is toxic to aquatic life.

Alcohol Ethoxylates – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Causes nervous system damage.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.

Ethanolamine – severe skin burns and eye damage.  Respiratory irritant.  Toxic to aquatic life.  Causes central nervous system depression.

Dipropylene Glycol Butyl Ether – evidence of cancer.  Damages DNA.  Effects on development, endocrine system, and reproductive system.

 

Oven Cleaners

Even fume free, these are toxic.

Ethanolamine – severe skin burns and eye damage.  Respiratory irritant.  Toxic to aquatic life.  Causes central nervous system depression.

Butoxydiglycol – respiratory concerns.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.  Damages vision.  Skin irritant.  Affects development, reproduction, endocrine system, skin, digestive system, and nervous system.

Paraffin – does not biodegrade.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Sodium Hydroxide – corrosive.  Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.  Causes respiratory irritation.  Toxic to aquatic life.

Morpholine – causes severe skin burns and eye damage.  Causes respiratory irritation.

 

Toilet Bowl Cleaners

Both the continuous and manual toilet bowl cleaners contain toxins.

Hydrochloric Acid – skin irritation/damage.  Respiratory irritant.  Damages vision.

Alcohol Ethoxylates – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Causes nervous system damage.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.

Sodium Borate – affects development, endocrine system, reproductive system, skin, and respiratory system.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate and Sodium Linear Alkylbenzenesulfonate – especially dangerous to inhale in powdered form.  It irritates the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.

1,3-Dichloro-5-Ethyl-5-Methylhydantoin – toxic to aquatic life.  Causes severe skin burns, allergies, and irritation.

FD&C Yellow 5 – causes development and reproductive toxicity.  May cause cancer.  Is toxic to aquatic life.

Dye/Colors – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

 

Tub, Tile, and Sink cleaners

Examples include Lysol, Scrubbing Bubbles, Kaboom, Tilex, and Clorox.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Dideclydimethylammonium Chloride – causes severe burns and eye damage.  Respiratory effects.

Dioctyl Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride – respiratory effects.

Butoxydiglycol – respiratory effects.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA. Damages vision.  Affects digestive, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, and skin systems.  Developmental toxin.

Dipropylene Glycol Butyl Ether – evidence of cancer.  Damages DNA.  Effects on development, endocrine system, and reproductive system.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – toxic to several organs as well as reproductive and development.  Neurotoxicity.  Endocrine disruptor.  Toxic to our ecosystem.  Causes biochemical and cellular changes.  Irritant to skin and eyes.

Alcohol Ethoxylates – another hiding place for harmful ingredients.  Causes nervous system damage.  Causes cancer.  Damages DNA.

Tetrasodium Edta – toxic to aquatic life.

Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chlorides (C12-16) – general and systemic organ effects, especially on respiration.  Causes reproductive toxicity.  Environmental poison.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

 

Upholstery Cleaners

Examples include Woolite, Resolve, Scotch-Guard, Bissell, and Hoover.

Acrylic Acid – damages skin and causes allergies.  Extremely toxic to aquatic life.  Damaging to the respiratory system.

Sodium Salts – another ingredient that can hide several.  May cause developmental and reproductive concerns.  May disrupt the endocrine system.  Skin and eye irritant.  Causes respiratory effects.

Fragrance – often contains phthalates (so they don’t have to list all their ingredients).  Phthalates are endocrine disruptors  and can cause many things from cancer to infertility.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone – toxic to aquatic life.  Skin damage, irritation, and allergies.  Damages the DNA.

Methylisothiazolinone – very toxic to aquatic life.  Skin irritant, causes allergies and damage to skin.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate – damages DNA.  Causes damage to vision.  Damages the nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, endocrine system, and may cause developmental toxicity.  Toxic to aquatic life.  Causes cancer.

Surfactants – highly toxic to aquatic life.  These cause respiratory concerns, skin irritation and allergies, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and cancer.

Alkyl Sulfates – toxic to aquatic life.  Another hiding place for harmful ingredients.

Acrylates Copolymer – Does not biodegrade.

Perfluorinated Chemical – another hiding place for hazardous ingredients.  May have blood-related effects.  Does not biodegrade.  May cause developmental/reproductive effects.  May disrupt the endocrine system.

Acetone – affects respiration.  Blood-related effects.  Nervous system effects.

Carbon Dioxide – can cause asphyxia.

Naphtha (Petroleum), Light Alkylate – damages DNA, causes cancer.

 

 

Yeah, that’s about how I feel too.  I am amazed at just how toxic our typical cleaners are.

Though you can stay overwhelmed if you need to, have no fear.  There are options.  We can make better choices and encourage change with where we put our money.

Alternate Options – Store Bought Brands

Mrs. Meyers

Ecover

Aubry Organics

Dr. Bronner’s

Seventh Generation

Bon Ami Powder

Charlie’s Soap (Laundry)

Alternate Options – Homemade

Personally, I find it more economical and safer to just make my own cleaners from common ingredients.  I will list ones I use the most often with what they are good for.

Baking soda

Mildly abrasive, it helps with scrubbing.  it doesn’t scratch even delicate surfaces.  It also helps to remove odors and stains.  It even acts as a laundry softener.

Borax

This is a laundry booster and is a natural mineral.  It can irritate skin and there is controversy over whether it can be used to wash dishes.  It is a stain remover and can substitute for bleach.  It can help repel insects (though use caution around children and pets).

Castile Soap

This is an oil-based soap that can be used to clean many things.

Cornstarch

It helps to absorb oil and grease and can even starch a shirt.

Essential Oils

These not only add fragrance but can be antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and many other helpful things

Lemons & Juice & Oranges & Juice

These can scrub pans and hands, help degrease things, and be used to make a wonderful all-purpose cleaner.

Salt

Another natural abrasive for scrubbing.  It can also help remove rust and mildew.

Vinegar

A great fabric softener, it can be used alone or as the base of many natural cleaners.  It helps remove stains and can be used in conjunction with baking soda to clean toilets.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This can disinfect and effectively removes blood stains.

Washing Soda

This is a laundry booster that can be added to many recipes to boost performance.

Essential Tools

Microfiber clothes are great to make cleaning go quicker.  Do not use any impregnated with silver or other antimicrobial stuff.  They are not health-promoting.

“Magic Erasers” These melamine sponges are like the name brand, but less expensive.

Good scrub brushes and sponges are vital as well.

 

Subscribe to our newsletter for my favorite cleaning recipes in the Winter 2018 edition!

 

Good Sources for Additional Information

EWG’s Guide to Health Cleaning is extremely helpful for finding more about what is in your products and looking for healthier options.  It isn’t perfect, but it is a great tool.

Organic Consumers Association has a nice article about the toxicity in household cleaning supplies, should you want to read even more.

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