Detergents, degreasers, stain removers and pesticides have made our homes miniature chemical factories.
The problem is exacerbated when we clean in small unventilated spaces such as a windowless bathroom, where levels of cleaning chemicals in the air can be highly concentrated. This article is the last of a four part series reviewing the history of the enviornmental movement from the smokestacks to green cleaning products.
Many of the chemicals found in our homes are used to make our lives easier, but in fact are not if they are not eco friendly, green cleaning products. What we do not realize is the consequences of using many of these substances. Over 100 chemicals commonly found in homes have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer, psychological abnormalities, skin reactions, headaches, depression, joint pain, chronic fatigue, chest pains, dizziness, loss of sleep, asthma. . .the list goes on.
Every year thousands of household poisonings are reported. Many are fatal. According to the American Association of Poison Control, dishwashing detergent accounts for more accidental poisonings than any other household substance!
While the initial focus of pollution control was towards the industrial operations, today the focus turns to individual actions. Since our cleaning products generate some of this pollution, I currently focus on educating about the importance of using green cleaning products and green janitorial chemicals.
Cleaning products are everywhere in our homes and get everywhere when we use them – on our dishes, countertops, floors, hands, etc. While this may not seem like a significant issue, the average consumer nationwide uses about 30 pounds of laundry detergent a year; all together, Americans use about 8.3 billion pounds of dry detergent and a billion gallons of liquid detergent each year!
Cleaning products are so pervasive that a general rule to follow is if you don’t want it on your skin or in your body, don’t use it. Although there is a large (and growing ever larger) contingent of green cleaning products, many household cleaners have slipped away such as Easy Off BAM Oven Cleaner because of the hazards it poses. Others are jumping on the bandwagon of the green movement and then later accused of greenwashing such as when the Organic Consumers Association tested and demanded removal of their seal of approval from the label of Seventh Generation’s and Method’s hand dish soap because it contained a known carcinogen. Or after the launch of their three brands that are now household names Brita, Burts Bees, and Green Works, Clorox was scolded by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus who told the company to discontinue or modify some of the ads for its Clorox Green Works products because of its dubious claims. Since a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is designed to provide both workers and emergency personnel with the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substance, this the most reliable source for information.
While we have made great strides we now realize there is much more to do on the large and small scale. Using green eco friendly cleaning products and green janitorial supplies is a great way to advance the small scale to make a huge difference. Green Cleaning Products is here to help.