Natural cleaning products offer environmentally sound, alternatives to the toxic and potentially lethal household cleaning products used in many homes today. Use of these natural options is especially critical as most traditional cleaning products eventually contact the air, water, and/or soil, where they can cause significant and irreparable harm to animals, plants, drinking water, and food supplies.
These cleaning products contain dangerous ingredients, including neurotoxins, carcinogens, allergens, central nervous system depressants, heavy metals, and other agents that cause or contribute to cancer, respiratory problems, reproductive abnormalities, allergic reactions, and behavioral problems, among other health issues. Ingredients from household cleaning products make their way into the environment through various routes: they are flushed down toilets, poured down sinks, sprayed into the air, thrown into the trash, and dumped onto the ground. In fact, many hazardous cleaning products are landfilled or incinerated, upon which they release their toxins into the environment and contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, pollute groundwater, contaminate the soil, and harm plant and animal life. For example:
- Phosphates, found in dishwasher and laundry detergents, cause algae bloom, which kills fish and aquatic plants, and produces chemicals that are toxic to animals and people who drink the water.
- Trisodium nitrilotriacetate is a possible carcinogen in laundry detergents. It can disrupt the elimination of metals in wastewater treatment facilities.
- Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite), available alone and in detergents and other products, is toxic to fish and can bind with organic compounds in water to form organochlorines, which break down slowly in the environment and accumulate in the fatty tissues of wildlife. Chlorine is especially toxic to organisms that live in water and soil.
- Napthas and mineral spirits, found in furniture polishes, are neurotoxins and considered hazardous waste. Mineral spirits break down very slowly and contaminate air and water.
- Formaldehyde, an ingredient in furniture polish and various cleaning products, is a potential human carcinogen and a known cancer-causing agent in animals.
- Phthalates, found in furniture polish, disrupt hormone function and can cause genetic defects in both animals and humans.
- Ether-type solvents, methylene chloride, butyl cellosive, and petroleum distillates, found in oven cleaners are hazardous waste and can contaminate the air, water, and soil.
- Sulphuric acid and sodium hydroxide, in drain cleaners, can change the pH of water and cause fish kills.
NEXT TIME YOU ARE SHOPPING FOR CLEANING PRODUCTS THINK NATURAL YOU WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE ENVIRONMENT.