Take a peek inside most homes in America, and you are sure to find a dangerous supply of household chemicals. Scan the labels on the average cleaning product, and you’ll find additives such as ammonia, bleach, hydrochloric acid, phosophoric acid and more. Sound scary? It is! Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested 21 commonly used cleaning products—like air fresheners and multipurpose cleaning sprays—and found that they emitted more than 450 chemicals into the air, including a number of compounds linked to asthma, developmental and reproductive harm, or cancer.
Help reduce your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals and find cleaner, safer and smarter options. Yes, going toxin-free is easier than you think. Here are three simple steps you can take toward reducing your household chemical impact.
Cleaning products are largely unregulated in the U.S.. In fact, there are over 84,000 chemicals in the world of cleaning supplies, and only around 200 have them have been tested by the FDA. Not since 1976 has there been a major update to chemical safety law. If you want to see how your current cleaning products stack up or find better alternatives, check out EWG’s Guide To Safer Cleaning, which ranks 2,000 household cleaning products. Thankfully, there are many non-toxic brands out there if you look for them.
There are also several resources available for folks who would prefer to make their own cleaning products. Using simple household ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, there are whole internet communities of industrious people who can help you save money while going green. Here are a few ideas using items you probably already have around your house.
It’s hard to think of laundry detergent as actually being toxic. However, most commercial laundry detergents contain toxic ingredients. One is a solvent called 1,4-Dioxane. It is interesting to note that the EPA classifies 1,4-Dioxane as “Group B2, probable human carcinogen.” Another group of laundry toxins to avoid are sulfates. Sulfates are aggressive detergents, and they cause the lathering that we’ve come to look for in our soaps and shampoos. Free and Clear laundry detergents are a safer choice. Luckily, there are many options on the market today without toxic additives.
Dryer Sheets & Fabric Softeners
According to the health and wellness website Sixwise.com, “some of the most harmful ingredients in dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener alike include benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen), among others.” Instead of dryer sheets and fabric softeners, try adding ¼ cup of baking soda or ¼ cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle for softer clothing. To reduce static cling, throw a set of wool dryer balls in your dryer and be sure to remove clothes as soon as they are dry. Leaving them in longer only increases their static electricity.
Taking a few simple steps like these will not only be better for your family’s health, but non-toxic cleaning products are also better for the environment.
Are you working towards eliminating the chemicals in your personal and home care products? Download your free guide: The Ultimate Guide To Going Green. If you’re ready to take control of your health, protect the environment, and start a lifestyle change, this is the guide for you.