The manufacturing process of some cleaning products includes volatile organic compounds (VOCs). that contribute to urban or regional photochemical smog. Cleaning may also pose risks to cleaners and to building occupants. These products can cause irritation and other health hazards owing to inhalation exposures. Fumes from some cleaning products may inhibit asthma even in healthy individuals. There is sufficient evidence to show that ordinary cleaning supplies at home or on the job can increase the development of asthma and other respiratory problems.
Common cleaning ingredients can be mixed with cancer causing agents like 1,4-dioxane. Tests from research institutes have shown that numerous brand cleaning supplies have 1,4-dioxane in their products. Other products contain preservatives that release significant amounts of formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.
A 10-country study of more than 3500 individuals who were initially free from asthma were at 30-to-50 percent increased risk of developing asthma when they used spray cleaners at least once a week. Scientists at three British universities found that children born to women who often aerosolize cleaning products in their homes while pregnant had a higher risk of wheezing and reduced lung function.
The market for cleaning products is huge. Keeping clean is big business for big brands in today's world of neatness and tidiness. The annual revenue from cleaning products is around $168 billion across the globe. Household spending has increased from $639 in 2007 to $659 in 2009.
Advertisers bombard us with ads showing a wide variety of conventional cleaning products ranging from fragrances to bleaching agents to keep our homes sparkling and germ-free. These include specialized cleaners for just about every part of your house. Some of the brands advertise these products as "green" or "Eco-friendly cleaning", but are they truly Eco-friendly? Are they safe for your family? About 80% of the products have some form of chemicals which are hazardous to our health and the environment.
Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether, AKA. DEGME or methoxydiglycol, is found in a few heavy-duty cleaners and degreasers. The European Union has raised concerns about this chemical, its reproductive toxicity and damage to the developing fetus (ECHA 2011) and has outlawed its use in cleaning products (EU 2008).
In laboratory experiments, exposure to high doses of 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) has been shown to cause reproductive problems. This chemical found in glass cleaners, laundry stain removers, carpet cleaners, automobile cleaners etc is listed as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act based on the fact that it is harmful to human health.
Ammonia, most commonly used in window cleaners, may also be found in oven cleaning products and several other commercial cleaning products. Ammonia may irritate the skin, eyes, throat and lungs in low concentrations.
Coal tar dyes found in most types of cleaning products can cause cancer.
There are many types of industry chemicals present in cleaners which can cause asthma. These include:
Quaternary ammonium compounds, nicknamed “quats” in the cleaning industry, are added as germ killers in antibacterial cleaning products and certain types of air fresheners; they are also used as fabric softeners;
Bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and ammonia (ammonium hydroxide), undoubtedly the most well known cleaning ingredients in the world (AOEC 2012)
MEA (monoethanalomine), DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), which are found in liquid laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners, floor cleaners, car wash products, degreasers, dish soap, etc. can react with nitrites to form nitrosamines, a known carcinogen.
Phosphates found in many detergents, and bathroom cleaners etc can cause oxygen levels in the water to decline, potentially killing fish. Triclosan Found in: dish soaps and disinfectants, as well as a wide range of other household products can mimic or interfere with the function of hormones in the body.
You have a choice. There is no need for you to continue to use a product that is known to cause cancer or has a warning label that states: 'HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS", just because the commercials tell you how great it is.