Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reject household cleaning products that don't list all ingredients

Two cleaning challenges: I'm allergic to my pet, but I don't want to use a cleaning product that'll turn his favorite Persian rug into a toxic miasma!

"Any idea how bad a Swiffer wet jet is for me/the planet?" a Facebook friend asked the other day. Swiffer,I replied to her, is bad for the planet because the cleaning cloths are single-use disposables. That's basic waste. But a wet jet? I had to look it up.

I checked out the Wet Jet solution refill with Febreze lavender and vanilla. The ingredients: Cleaning agents (including solvents), perfume, water. First of all, solvents include some of the most toxic chemicals in use; "perfume" and "fragrance" are buzzwords for synthetic compounds that can contain toxic phthalates and other unhealthy chemicals, according to Environmental Working Group.

But without even knowing the specific ingredients, I could give my pal my opinion: If they're hiding something, don't buy the product. Given the spectrum of toxic, allergenic chemicals found in many conventional (and some so-called green) cleaning products, you owe it to your health to make an informed choice. Problem is, U.S. laws allow cleaning product manufacturers to conceal "trade secret" ingredients.

Earth Justice, Women's Voices for the Earth and Sierra Club filed suit against leading cleaning product manufacturers in New York State, seeking to compel full transparency regarding ingredients.

After the lawsuit was filed, SC Johnson, the maker of Drano, Fantastik and Glade, announced they were voluntarily listing all their ingredients on this website. But they still don't disclose everything! For instance, the ingredients list for Drano includes "proprietary surfactant blend." Sorry, they haven't come clean enough!

My FB pal said she was returning her wet jet to the store. The kicker was, she'd heard of pets being poisoned after licking the solution off their paws.

Cleaner Cleaning Products How-to's

When reading labels, use my list of cleaning product ingredients to avoid

Mix your own from common household ingredients, plant oils and white vinegar. Window cleaner recipe. Get eleven more d.i.y. cleaning recipes in my article in Natural Home Magazine.

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