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Cleaning products

Scented household cleaning products filled with hazardous toxins

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by: Ethan Huff
Tags: cleaning products, toxins, health news

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(NewsTarget) Consumer cleaning products like laundry detergents, all-purpose sprays, dish soaps, and scrub sponges often smell like pleasant things found in nature, but their ingredients typically tell a different story. According to a new study out of the University of Washington (UW), many scented cleaning products contain mystery chemicals not listed on their labels that are toxic to health -- including even some "green" products.

A team of researchers from UW tested a variety of consumer cleaning products and found that 25 of the most frequently used scented products contained an average of 17 hazardous chemicals each. Among all the products, the team detected 133 different chemicals, 25 percent of which are classified under federal law as toxic or hazardous. Shockingly, only one of the chemicals was actually listed on ingredient labels.

"We analyzed best-selling products, and about half of them made some claim about being green, natural, or organic," explained Ann Steinemann, professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs at UW, and author of the study. "Surprisingly, the green products' emissions of hazardous chemicals were not significantly different from other products."

Consumer cleaning products are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, so companies that manufacture them are not required to disclose their ingredients. Many products simply list "fragrance" as an ingredient, even though a "fragrance" can contain a cocktail of hundreds of different chemicals. And according to the study, more than 33 percent of products tested emitted at least one hazardous chemical recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable carcinogen.

As far as cleaning supplies go, a simple vinegar and baking soda solution is a safe and natural alternative to chemical supplies; it is both inexpensive and highly effective. Avoiding products that contain "fragrance" ingredients is also recommended.

Sources for this story include:

Scented consumer products shown to emit many unlisted chemicals - University of Washington News

Fresh scents in household products may give off bad odor, study finds - Chicago Tribune

Scents can make you sick: unlabeled toxins

About the author

Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.

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