is a term that describes a growing trend in favor of using natural/green cleaning methods with environmentally-friendly ingredients and chemicals to preserve human health and environmental quality. If the manufacturing process is
environmentally-friendly and the products are biodegradable, then the term "green" or "eco-friendly" may apply.
GREEN CLEANING HEALTH BENEFITS
Harmful chemicals are prevalent not only in general consumer cleaning products but also in foods, cosmetics, home construction, clothing and many industries. Green cleaning techniques and products avoid the use of
chemically-reactive and toxic cleaning products which contain various toxic chemicals. By using more ecologically-friendly products, including green cleaning formulations and products, consumers may be
able to reduce human health risks by reducing exposure to these and other harmful chemicals.
Toxic ingredients found in common household and consumer products:
- Chlorine bleach can irritate the lungs and eyes and in waterways can become toxic organochlorines
- Napthas and mineral spirits
- Phthalates (found in furniture polish)
- Ether-type solvents
- Methylene chloride
- Butyl cellosolve and petroleum distillates (found in oven cleaning products)
- Sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide (found in drain cleaning products)
- Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) (found in detergents and disinfectants, and are suspected hormone disruptors)
- Ammonia (which is poisonous when swallowed, extremely irritating to respiratory passages when inhaled and can burn the skin on contact).
- Indiscriminate use of antibacterial cleansers containing triclosan may be contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs
- Butyl cellosolve ethylene glycol monobutyl ether is poisonous when swallowed and a lung-tissue irritant
- Diethanolamine (DEA) (can combine with nitrosomes to produce carcinogenic nitrosamines that penetrate skin).
- Fragrances may contain phthalates, chemicals linked to reproductive abnormalities and liver cancer in lab animals and to asthma in children.
- Sodium hydroxide (found in drain, metal and oven cleaners; extremely irritating to eyes, nose and throat and can burn tissues on contact
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (a common sudsing agent, can penetrate the skin and cause contact dermatitis).