Sunday, December 5, 2010

If You Knew How Dangerous Green Cleaning Products Were, You'd Probably Go Back to Soap and Water

If You Knew How Dangerous Green Cleaning Products Were, You'd Probably Go Back to Soap and Water
By Monona Rossol, AlterNet
November 23, 2010

They're hiding under your sink, deep in the basement and out in your garage. They seem to be multiplying and most of them are green, for gosh sakes!

They are cleaning products. We have one for every conceivable job: floors, walls, dishes, laundry, windows, bathroom porcelain and ceramic tiles, wooden decks, cement surfaces, silverware, one for car paint and another for the chrome, and on and on.

Whatever happened to just plain soap? Well, it seems it wasn't fast enough for our busy lives. And these new cleaners certainly are fast. Just spray and wipe or swish with a mop and the job is done.

If you want really fast general cleaning products, commercial ones like Formula 409, Simple Green and Windex clean faster than any soap and water could. This is because they contain small amounts, usually in the range of 2-6 percent, of some members of the most powerful grease-cutting class of chemicals known: the "glycol ethers."

Many people have heard of glycols, a class of chemicals used in antifreeze solutions in your car's radiator. Others may remember that ethers were used as anesthetics in the early 1900s. But the glycol ethers we will discuss are not at all like either glycols or ethers. Glycol ethers are in a class of their own.

Everyone has been exposed to the glycol ethers. You can't possibly have escaped. They are in paints, varnishes, stains, inks, brake fluids, perfumes, cosmetics, and, of course, a vast number of cleaning products. They mix with water and many water-based cleaners and paints contain them.

Heavy overexposure to the glycol ethers can cause anemia, intoxication (like alcohol), and irritation of the eyes and nose. In laboratory animals, low-level exposure to some of the glycol ethers has been shown to cause birth defects and can damage a male's sperm and testicles. Some of the common glycol ethers haven't been studied for reproductive hazards or cancer. But there is enough data for the New Jersey Department of health to state on its fact sheet that the most commonly used glycol ether (2-butoxyethanol) "may be a carcinogen in humans since it has been shown to cause liver cancer in animals." I agree.

You are exposed to the glycol ethers when you inhale them as the cleaner is used.

Please read the full article:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails