EWG’s Online Guide to Healthy Cleaning


| 11/1/2012 4:41:00 PM


Tags: Environmental Working Group, EWG, Healthy Cleaning, Household Cleaners, Cleaning Products, Women’s Voice for the Earth,

Some household cleaning products can expose unsuspecting users to toxic substances linked to short- and long-term health problems, including asthma, allergic reactions and even cancer.

In an effort to help consumers find safer products, the Environmental Working Group has created the first online guide that rates more than 2,000 household cleaners with grades A through F for safety of ingredients and disclosure of contents.

“Keeping your home clean shouldn’t put you and your family at risk, and with EWG’s new online guide you won’t have to,” EWG senior scientist Rebecca Sutton, Ph.D, said. “Quite a few cleaning products that line store shelves are packed with toxic chemicals that can wreak havoc with your health, including many that harm the lungs. The good news is, there are plenty of cleaning products that will get the job done without exposing you to hazardous substances.”

Just 7 percent of cleaning products adequately disclosed their contents. To uncover what’s in common household cleaners, EWG’s staff scientists spent 14 months scouring product labels and digging through company websites and technical documents. EWG staff reviewed each ingredient against 15 U.S. and international toxicity databases and numerous scientific and medical journals.

Ingredient labels are mandatory for food, cosmetics and drugs sold in the U.S. – but not for cleaning products. Bowing to pressure from customers and the threat of federal regulation, most companies list at least some ingredients on their labels and websites. A few companies disclose nothing, while others list just one or a few of their ingredients or describe them in vague terms such as “surfactant” and “solvent.”

Key findings: 




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