What is Inside Your Cleaning Products?

If you want to find out what's contained in your shampoo, bar of soap or can of spaghetti sauce, you can simply turn the product and look for the ingredient list.

Ever tried that with a cleaning product?

Unlike foods and beauty products, cleaning product packaging is not as strictly regulated by federal laws. The Federal Hazardous Substances Act does require products to bear warning labels that indicate if a substance contains poisons, is flammable or could harm the skin; however, the law does not mandate that ingredient listings be provided.

Unfortunately, many of the ingredients in green cleaning products that are legal under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act are known toxins and have been proven to pose health risks to certain population groups.

Examples are:

 - Sodium nitrate

- Propylene glycol

- Oxalic acid

- Ethyl alcohol

- Triethanolamine

- Sulfuric acid

- Acrylic acid

- Para-dichlorobenzene

- Bromine


So what can you do to protect your family from toxins? Here are some easy tips:

- Use the National Institute of Health's Household Products Database to look up the full ingredient lists of household cleaners. 

- Research ingredients that you're not familiar with.

- Look for the warning symbols posted on packages. If a product can burn your skin or is poisonous, it's very likely to contain toxins.

- Switch to natural brands of cleaning products like Method or Mrs. Meyers.

- Use cleaning tools that work with just water like e-Cloth cleaning cloths or steam cleaners.

 Curious about an ingredient or a particular product's safety? Post a question here in the comments and we'll try to help you find answers.

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