Your Spring Cleaning Products May Not Be as Safe as You Think
When spring cleaning, it’s important to keep in mind that certain cleaning products may be more toxic than they advertise. The toxic chemicals used in many types of cleaning products can cause a variety of health issues, including allergies, poisonings, asthma, reproductive issues, and cancer. To stay safe, there are certain things to keep in mind when using the many products out there.
When “Non-Toxic” Labels Aren’t True
Recently, SC Johnson has been the subject of a class-action lawsuit involving the marketing of their Method cleaning products as “non-toxic.” The claim is that despite the “non-toxic” label, Method products contain multiple toxic ingredients that can cause harm to consumers, making SC Johnson noncompliant with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements for marketing non-toxic products.
This lawsuit alone shows that even if a product claims that it is “non-toxic” or “natural,” it’s best to look at the specific ingredients to gauge the toxicity of a cleaning product.
Myths Regarding “Natural” Cleaning Products
In addition to “non-toxic,” many cleaning products are labeled as “natural,” but this doesn’t indicate that a product is non-toxic, either. People often believe that “natural” cleaning products are safer, but while they may be less toxic than conventional cleaners, they can still contain a variety of toxic chemicals.
Many so-called “natural” cleaners contain certain toxic dyes, fragrances, allergens, preservatives, and irritants, which could cause harm if a person ingests or is over-exposed to these products. Additionally, it’s worth noting that manufacturers of cleaning products aren’t required to disclose all of the ingredients they contain, unlike manufacturers in the food, beverage, health care, and cosmetics industries.
Some products may also claim to contain botanical-based ingredients, but these are also potentially unsafe to some. For example, thymol is one botanical ingredient that is an allergen. In other cleaning products, ingredients such as citrus can lead to the formation of terpenes, which can then develop into formaldehyde when exposed to air.
Doing Research Around “Non-Toxic” Products
Regardless of how non-toxic a company claims its products are, it’s best to look at the specific ingredients and research them to determine their actual toxicity. Even if a product seems widely used and safe, it may be able to cause issues ranging in severity from mild allergies to birth defects. Certain cleaning products are safer than others, but individuals need to identify which ingredients are safe to use and keep these products away from children and pets.