We as consumers expect one thing when we buy commercial cleaning products, we expect them to clean. Some people prefer a wide array of scents, soaps, detergents, bleaching agents, softeners and other cleaning products. Personal health has been proven to be at risk when using toxic cleaning chemicals. Not only are they toxic to the touch, but they are toxic if ingested, toxic if inhaled or swallowed, add to indoor air pollution. A study showed that in the year 2000, cleaning products were responsible for nearly 10% of all toxic exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control. Of the 206,636 calls, 120,434 exposures involved children under six years of age.
Health hazards vary depending on the type of cleaning ingredients. Some cause minor hazards where as others cause major ranging from skin irritation to chemical burns. Others go as far as to cause cancer. The most acutely dangerous products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic bowl cleaners. Mixing chemicals that contain chlorine and ammonia or ammonia and lye produce chloramine gases. Mixing chlorine with acids creates toxic chlorine gas.
Looking for safer solutions can mean making your own which is easily done. For instance, soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax added to some elbow grease and a scrubbing sponge can take care of many household cleaning needs. These solutions are not only environmentally friendly but they can save money as well. If a stronger chemical is needed, look for chemical packaging that says “Biodegradable in 3 to 5 days”. Choosing products made with plant-based ingredients is also a wise move.
When buying chemicals look for EPA approved chemicals as that is the safest way to go when shopping for chemicals. Searching the IJCSA Green Cleaning Directory one will find multiple Green Cleaning Certified companies.