Green Cleaning Tips from EWG

03.26.2010

Green Cleaning Tops from EWG

New from the Environmental Working Group:
Tip 10: Green Cleaning this Spring


Cleaning might be a chore, but it doesn't have to be toxic, too! Safer products and practices are available and easy. Why not go green when you clean? Your family's health is (naturally) worth it.

1.Why you should clean greener
2.How to choose greener cleaning supplies
3.How to clean greener at home
4.Why and how to find alternatives to in-home pesticides
1.Why you should clean greener


It's straightforward: There are health risks associated with many conventional cleaning products. These products can contain ingredients linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption, neurotoxicity and other health effects. People who use or are around cleaning products at home or on the job may increase their risk of developing asthma or triggering asthma attacks.

Children accidentally exposed to harsh, corrosive cleaners can suffer burns to skin and eyes, and inhaling the fumes can cause lung damage. Exposure to low levels of these chemicals over a lifetime may increase the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as cancer or reproductive problems.

2.How to choose greener cleaning supplies

To pick a safer cleaner, you need to:


?Find out what's in your cleaning supplies.
If you want to know what ingredients are in your cleaning products, you probably won't find them on the label (with a few exceptions).


Instead, you'll need to call the company or try looking on the product manufacturer's website, because manufacturers are not currently required to label their products with a full list of ingredients. Some companies will provide more information if you call or, increasingly, you can check the product's website. There is also new industry website to check called "Ingredient Central," where you can start your hunt for ingredients in a wide range of cleaning supplies.

It can be challenging to track cleaning ingredients down because the government doesn't require that cleaning products carry a list of ingredients, or even that products and ingredients are tested for health and safety. There are a few exceptions, like antibacterial cleaning products. These contain pesticides that have undergone testing overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency and the pesticide content must be on the label. In California, cleaning supplies that emit certain state-identified carcinogens and reproductive toxins at levels above health-based limits must have a warning label.

?Once you know the ingredients, you should avoid these seven:
¦2-butoxyethanol (or ethylene glycol monobutyl ether) and other glycol ethers
¦Alkylphenol ethoxylates (some common ones are: nonyl- and octylphenol ethoxylates, or non- and octoxynols)
¦Dye (companies often hide chemical information behind this word; when it's unknown, it's safer to skip it)
¦Ethanolamines (common ones to look out for are: mono-, di-, and tri-ethanolamine)
¦Fragrance
¦Pine or citrus oil (on smoggy or high ozone days, compounds in the oils can react with ozone in the air to form the carcinogenic chemical formaldehyde)
¦Quaternary ammonium compounds (look out for these: alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC), benzalkonium chloride, and didecyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride)



Click here for the complete article