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The following are dangerous substances found in household cleaners. They affect everyone in your family – especially young children and pets. Other equally harmful toxins in your home can come from carpet cleaning chemicals, new furniture and flooring, and pesticides. 

  • Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), common in detergents and disinfectants, can disrupt hormones.
  • Ammonia is poisonous when swallowed, extremely irritating to respiratory passages when inhaled and can burn the skin on contact.
  • Triclosan, in antibacterial cleansers may be contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistant germs.
  • Butyl cellosolve (aka butyl glycol, ethylene glycol monobutyl) is a lung-tissue irritant and poisonous if swallowed.
  • Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite), an all-purpose whitening agent, can irritate the lungs and eyes and in waterways can become toxic organochlorines.
  • Diethanolamine (DEA) can combine with nitrosomes (often-undisclosed preservatives) to produce carcinogenic nitrosamines that penetrate skin.
  • Phthalates, frequently in fragrances, are chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities and liver cancer and to asthma in children. This is why you should never spray commercial air fresheners or use plug-ins.
  • Phosphates soften water for detergents, but contribute to algae blooms in our waterways, which can kill off fish populations.
  • Sodium hydroxide, found in drain, metal and oven cleaners, is extremely irritating to eyes, nose and throat and can burn those tissues on contact.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate, a common sudsing agent, can penetrate the skin and cause contact dermatitis.

Toxic cleaning products not only affect your health; they find their way from home drains or garbage cans to the soil, drinking water, and air – affecting all humans, animals, and plants.  For safe and natural alternatives, read The Green Way to Clean and DIY Green Cleaning Products.


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