What do sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, and 2-Butoxyethanol have in common? They’re common toxic ingredients found in nearly all household cleaners. In fact, the common household cleaner contains about 62 toxic chemicals, say environmental experts. We’re exposed to them routinely—from the phtalates in synthetic fragrances to the noxious fumes in toilet and oven cleaners. Ingredients in common household products have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity.
Manufacturers argue that in small amounts these toxic ingredients aren’t likely to be a problem, but when we’re exposed to them routinely, and in combinations that haven’t been studied, it’s impossible to accurately gauge the risks.
We believe consumers have a right to be informed to make the best possible choices for their home and family. That’s why we’ve compiled our green clean guide below to help you make sense of incredibly confusing labels, claims, and ingredients.
Our guide to a truly green clean:
If there’s a laundry list of ingredients, it’s most likely full of toxic preservatives and toxic additives. Products should have just a handful of ingredients.
2. No sodium lauryl sulfate
Stay away from products containing sodium lauryl sulfate or other versions of this ingredient usually labeled as some type of sulfate. Once you start looking for this ingredient, you will see it in nearly every single product out there from toothpaste to body washes. It’s a chemical that causes eye and skin irritation and harmful when ingested.
3. Stay away from fragrance or parfum
Synthetic fragrances or parfum are infused into nearly all cleaning and body products, however, these fragrances have been directly linked to cancer, asthma and other respiratory issues, and hormone disruption. Look for products that only use essential oils (fragrance made only from plants).
4. Beware of greenwashing
If a cleaning product at your supermarket proclaims itself green, natural, or biodegradable that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nontoxic. The environmental group TerraChoice found that 95% of so called green consumer products had committed at least one greenwashing sing. When gauging ecological terms, look for specifics. Like Biodegradable in 3-5 days holds more meaning than biodegradable since most products will eventually biodegrade.