When you consider that children spend almost as much time at school as they do at home, it’s imperative that the environment be a healthy one—or at least, a non-toxic one. This is particularly true when you take into account that childrens’ brains and bodies are far more vulnerable than adults’ because they are still developing.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG)—a non-profit environmental organization—commissioned a study of the 21 most commonly-used cleaning products used in California schools (although it is highly likely that these are the same products used elsewhere in America and around the world. They used a leading laboratory specializing in air pollution released by cleaning products. What they found may alarm you.
-They identified 457 air contaminants released by the 21 cleaning products. Comet Disinfectant Powder Cleanser emitted the most at 146 contaminants released. The fewest contaminants detected were found in Glance NA—a certified green glass and general purpose cleaner. It emitted only one contaminant.
-Twenty-four of the chemicals in the cleaning products have well-established links to asthma, cancer, and other serious health concerns.
-Twelve of the chemicals are on the State of California’s Proposition 65 chemicals that are linked to birth defects, reproductive toxicity, and cancer.
-Ten products contained at least one of the cancer- or developmentally-damaging and birth defect-causing chemicals on the Californian list, including: Alpha HP, Citrus-Scrub, Comet, Febreze Air Effects, Goof Off, Pine-Sol, Pioneer Super Cleaner, Shineline Seal, Simple Green, and Waxie Green.
-Cleaning products that weren’t certified green released an average of 38 different contaminants each—almost five times higher than certified green ones that released an average of 8 contaminants each.
-Certified green cleaning products contained one-quarter of the chemicals linked to asthma and cancer than the non-certified cleaning products.
-The laboratory determined that cleaning classrooms with certified green products releases less than one-sixth of the air pollution of conventional cleaners.
Some of the ingredients found in the classroom cleaning products include:
-Benzene—linked to cancer and male reproductive system toxicity;
-Chloroforn—causes cancer and developmental toxicity;
-Dibutyl phthalate—damages male and female reproductive systems;
What’s also shocking is that manufacturers are legally required to disclose only a handful of ingredients in cleaning products due to the known health and occupational safety issues linked with them.
Keep reading to discover 7 things you can do… 7 Things You Can Do:
1. Choose certified green cleaning products for your home.
2. Better yet, use all-natural baking soda, vinegar, and pure orange oil concentrate to clean your home.
3. Send this information to your school’s administration asking them to switch to certified green products.
4. Write to your government representatives demanding stricter labeling laws and better labeling of toxic ingredients.
5. Even better, demand that the toxic ingredients listed above (among others) be banned for use in cleaning products.
6. Sign petitions on Care2 to help support change.
7. Tell your friends and family about these toxic cleaning products and their damaging ingredients, encouraging them to discontinue their use.
Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.