The Dirt on Cleaning Products
It doesn't take much to turn a green healthy interior into toxic soup. One or two chemical-laden cleaning products will usually do it, and the majority of stuff readily available at the supermarket is full of questionable substances.
According to statistics provided by Planet Earth:
• 17,000: the number of petrochemicals available for home use, only 30 percent of which have been tested for exposure to human health and the environment.
• 63: the number of synthetic chemical products found in the average American home, translating to roughly 10 gallons of harmful chemicals.
• 100: the number of times higher that indoor air pollution levels can be above outdoor air pollution levels, according to US EPA estimates.
• 275: the number of active ingredients in antimicrobials that the EPA classifies as pesticides because they are designed to kill microbes.
• 5 billion: the number of pounds of chemicals that the institutional cleaning industry uses each year.
• 23: the average gallons of chemicals (that's 87 liters) that a janitor uses each year, 25 percent of which are hazardous.
Some products marketed as "green" list ingredients that give me pause. So I was intrigued by a press release I received from Eco-Me, a manufacturer of cleaning products made from food grade ingredients--vinegar, baking soda--and pure plant essential oils.
As noted in the release, "most companies use surfactants, a chemical compound that can be derived from petro-chemicals or plants. The challenge is that most companies do not disclose their true manufacturing and ingredients and consumers are left in the dark and confused about which natural products are safest for their homes and families."
As the stats above show, there is very little chemical safety testing. Also, as Eco-Me points out, these chemicals in our cleaners affect not only our interiors, but our environment as well. The materials we pour down our drains enter our soil and water systems, which affect our food, supply and come back around to affect our bodies and health.
I haven't used the Eco-Me products and can't vouch for their effectiveness, but I like the concept. I think it's worth checking out.