"Cleaning product companies aren’t required to disclose the ingredients they use in their products, and what they’re keeping secret from you could be hazardous to your health," reports Women's Voices for the Earth (WVE), the respected non-profit research group that investigates toxic chemicals in the common household cleansers we use.
In their "Dirty Secrets" study, WVE commissioned an independent laboratory to test twenty popular cleaning products for hidden toxic chemicals from five top companies: Clorox, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson and Son, and Sunshine Makers (Simple Green). WVE found reproductive toxins, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and allergens — none of which were listed on the product label.
"Consumers deserve to know what chemicals they are being exposed to, so that they can easily avoid products that may cause allergic reactions or serious long-term health impacts like cancer, birth defects, or pregnancy complications," WVE declares – and I agree. That's why I support WVE's effort to get Congress to pass new federal legislation that requires cleaning product manufacturers to disclose all the ingredients they use in their products directly on the product label.
I also support WVE's effort to persuade companies like Glade to list ALL ingredients in their product on their label. You may think Glade helps clear the air. According to WVE's research, here's actually what Glade is putting into the air:
Toxic Chemicals Found in Glade (according to WVE research)
Synthetic musks. Test results in WVE’s 2011 Dirty Secrets report found one of these toxic chemicals hiding out in Glade. Musks are:
- persistent (they don’t break down in the environment)
- bioaccumulative (they build up in our bodies)
- potential hormone disruptors
- may break down the body’s defenses against other toxic exposures
- showing up in our blood and breast milk
Allergens. Test results in WVE’s 2011 Dirty Secrets report also found several allergens in Glade products. Tens of millions of people are sensitized to these chemicals, which cause reactions that range from red bumps, itchiness and wheezing to severe breathing problems.
What Can You Do?
* For starters, skip synthetic air fresheners. WVE's research focused on Glade, but in all likelihood most spray air fresheners contain chemicals that have negative side effects similar to Glade's.
* Clean your house or your car with hot water and a combination of fragrance-free liquid soap or baking soda, followed with a spash of vinegar and lemon juice. These are cheap, safe, and won't cause the health problems associated with many synthetic fragrances.
* Find the source of unpleasant smells (rotting fold, mold build-up) and get rid of them, rather than try to mask their smell.
* Add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, half a lemon or orange, and some apple peels to a small pot of water; simmer on the stove to enjoy a relaxing scent that won't make you sick.
Women's Voices for the Earth has drafted a letter you can send to Glade urging them to reveal all the chemicals they use in their product – including those that can make us sick. Send it, and pass it along to your friends and theirs.