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Originally published April 30 2015

'Green' personal care products made by multinational corporations still emit toxic chemicals

by Jennifer Lilley

(NaturalNews) Think those home cleaning and personal care products you've been using are good for the environment and healthy for your body? Looks like it's time to think again, after recent findings from University of Melbourne researchers demonstrated that many of those "green" products aren't necessarily so safe after all. In fact, they're downright toxic, emitting hazardous carcinogenic chemicals into the air you breathe.(1)

Dr. Anne Steinemann, a world expert on air quality and environmental pollutants as it relates to health, says that just because something is labeled as organic, natural or green, doesn't mean it is. Steinemann, who is a professor of civil engineering and the Chair of Sustainable Cities
from the Department of Infrastructure Engineering at Melbourne School of Engineering, led this particular study.(1)

Labels not required to tell the full story

She explains that many people face a lack of information about the products they're using. This is understandable, as many companies aren't under any pressure to create safer products; since the United States doesn't have regulations requiring a full listing of ingredients on consumer
products, they don't have to. Using the word "fragrance" is sufficient enough to convey a hodgepodge of chemicals that go into making many common household and personal care products.(1)

When it comes to laundry products, air fresheners and cleaning supplies, not only do labels NOT have to list all ingredients, but they don't even need to mention that there's a fragrance included in the product.(1)

Steinemann says that, to avoid such issues, people often gravitate toward what they think are healthier choices -- for themselves and the environment -- but what they don't know is that many products labeled as "natural" and "organic" are simply claims that are "largely untested." Talk about not feeling very reassured about choosing supposed "green" products, right?(1)

Study details: Some "green" products not as healthy as you think

Steinemann decided to test products for herself.

She assessed volatile organic compounds (VOCs) across 37 different products ranging from air fresheners and laundry supplies to personal care products, some of which carried "green" or "organic" claims and some did not. Additionally, she also compared fragrance-free products with fragranced ones.(1)

The study, titled "Volatile emissions from common consumer products," was published in the journal Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health. Its abstract states:

This study found 156 different VOCs emitted from the 37 products, with an average of 15 VOCs per product. Of these 156 VOCs, 42 VOCs are classified as toxic or hazardous under US federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these chemicals. Emissions of carcinogenic hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from green fragranced products were not significantly different from regular fragranced products. The most common chemicals in fragranced products were terpenes, which were not in
fragrance-free versions.

Tips to keep your home safe from toxins in the air

Despite this unsettling news, there are ways to create a safer home environment.

Obviously, the fewer products that are used, the better. In other words, if it's not necessary to use several products to clean a tub, then don't; one should be sufficient. Also, consider bypassing sprays designed to make your home smell like a tropical paradise or lush meadow; they're undoubtedly just a bottle of Franken-fragrances.

Most people are also aware that proper ventilation helps prevent indoor air pollution from accumulating. Consider opening windows as often as possible, even when you aren't using cleaning products.

Purchasing plants that help improve air quality is also a great idea. English ivy, snake plants, spider plants and Chinese evergreens are just a few that fight air pollutants while boosting oxygen levels in the air.(3)

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