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Dirty Secrets: Do You Know What’s In Your Cleaning Products?

Dirty Secrets: Do You Know What’s In Your Cleaning Products?
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What do you look for in a household cleaner? Consumers generally look for something that works, smells nice, and isn’t going to kill you. But how many people take that last one for granted? A lot of people probably assume that if a product has been approved for sale, that it is also safe.

That’s not the case, according to a new report by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) called Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding In Your Cleaning Products? According to WVE:

Cleaning product companies tell you that to keep your home clean and smelling fresh, you need to rely on an army of cleaning and air care products. Sprays, wipes, powders, liquids and more are sold with the promise of improving your home and your health by removing dirt and germs. More often than not, these products are also infused with fragrance to add a pleasant sensory experience to your everyday chores and to give your home that “clean” and “fresh” smell of lemon or pine forests.

What companies are not telling you is that cleaning products can contain toxic chemicals that may harm your health. Manufacturers often recommend frequent and repeated use of their products, but this also translates to frequent and repeated exposures to potentially harmful chemicals. You may inhale these chemicals by breathing indoor air and some of them can be absorbed through the skin. Long-term exposures to certain chemicals found in household cleaners have been linked to serious health problems like pregnancy complications, breast cancer, birth defects, asthma and allergic reactions.

The study by WVE looked at a wide range of products from major companies like Clorox, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson and Son, and Sunshine Makers (Simple Green). They found reproductive toxins, carcinogens, and allergens that were not listed on the product label.

Continue reading to find out who is hiding what…

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Photo credit: All images provided by Women's Voices for the Earth

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1:24PM PDT on Mar 21, 2012


9:55PM PST on Dec 19, 2011


10:55PM PST on Dec 12, 2011

Thanks for this good information.

12:59PM PST on Nov 24, 2011


2:27PM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Note: Nellie's washing soda was always in a cardboard box and was the safest product for laundry. Now, Nellie's comes in a "HE" labelled heavy plastic bag, and includes other chemicals to make it qualify for the new front load washers that need "HE" laundry detergents. Arrgghh! Even Nellie!

11:52AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

I've used vinegar as long as I've been keeping house, as my mother and grandmother did before me, and a simple biodegradable no problems here.

2:36AM PST on Nov 19, 2011

Vinegar, peroxide and bon ami are my cleaning agents, and scent free biodegradable dish soap and laundry soap from Seventh Generation. I have chemical sensitivities, therefore rid myself of this horrible stuff they advertise as "safe" a loooong time ago. They should be illegal.

9:49PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Thanks for the article.

9:37PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Although I knew some of this, I thought that by law, companies Had to List All Ingredients....
silly me. I knew about some of the Simple Green products awhile ago, but not about
the Tide "Free and Clear". How do they get away with being deceptive?? :(

2:48PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Yes I do know what is in these nasty concoctions which is why I stopped using them years ago. I also edit my food labels. We need to encourage our government to hold corporations to the truth in all labelling. I do so via writing the FDA and by supporting Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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