Our household cleaning products are all-natural and biodegradable! We like our houses to be clean without harmful chemicals.
“Some ingredients in household cleaners are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected human carcinogens. The danger the chemicals pose depends on how often you use the products and the length of exposure. Government regulations control emissions, but not exposure” (1).
Here is a list of some of the common chemicals found in household products and the symptoms they can cause:
Corrosives: Many toilet, drain, and oven cleaners are labeled “Danger. Corrosive.” Corrosives include some of the most dangerous chemicals in the home, such as lye, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, and sulfuric acid. These chemicals can burn the skin, cause internal burns if ingested, and explode if used incorrectly.
Ammonia: Many home and commercial products contain ammonia. This chemical can irritate eyes and lungs and can cause headaches. Ammonia should particularly be avoided by anyone with asthma or other lung sensitivities.
Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite): If mixed with ammonia, vinegar or other acid-based cleaners, it will release toxic chloramine gas. Short-term exposure to this gas can cause mild asthmatic symptoms or more serious respiratory problems. Never mix bleach with other substances.
Phosphates: These are naturally occurring minerals used in automatic dishwashing detergents as a water softener. When released back into the environment, phosphates can cause algae blooms in lakes and ponds that kill aquatic life. Look for phosphate-free dishwashing detergents.
Petroleum distillates: These hydrocarbon solvents produced from crude oil are found in a wide variety of consumer products including lip gloss, liquid gas, fertilizer, furniture polish, pesticides, plastics, paint thinners, solvents, motor oil, fuels, and hundreds of other products. Products containing petroleum distillates should be used carefully. Wear gloves to avoid skin contact and avoid breathing vapors of volatile compounds. Keep out of reach of children.
Phenol and cresol: These are found in disinfectants and can cause diarrhea, fainting, dizziness, and kidney and liver damage if ingested.
Nitrobenzene: Found in furniture and floor polishes. If inhaled, can cause shallow breathing. If ingested, can cause poisoning and death. This substance has also been linked to cancer and birth defects.
Formaldehyde: A colorless, strong-smelling gas widely used to manufacture building materials and numerous household products. In homes, it is most commonly used as an adhesive resin in pressed wood products. It is also used in glues, preservatives, permanent press fabrics, paper product coatings, and certain insulation materials. Formaldehyde is normally present at low levels, usually less than 0.06 ppm, in both outdoor and indoor air. When present in the air at levels at or above 0.1 ppm, acute health effects may occur including watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, nausea, coughing, skin rashes, and other irritating effects. Formaldehyde has caused cancer in laboratory animals and may cause cancer in humans. There is no known threshold level that does not present the threat of cancer. The risk depends upon quantity and duration of exposure.
Naphthalene: Made from coal tar, this volatile hydrocarbon is used for the manufacture of plastics, dyes and solvents, and is found in mothballs. It is a suspected carcinogen and may damage the eyes, blood cells, liver, kidneys, skin, and the central nervous system.
Paradichlorbenzene: Another chemical found in mothballs, toilet disinfectants, and deodorizers, paradichlorbenzene can harm the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys.
Hydrochloric acid or sodium acid sulfate: These chemicas are found in toilet bowl cleaners, and can burn the skin and cause blindness if splashed in the eyes, or can burn the stomach if ingested.
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