Toxic Villains

by Sunrise Cleaning on September 28, 2011

Many common household cleaning and home maintenance products contain toxic chemicals, including carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. When the same products are used in the workplace, federal legislation requires that the hazardous ingredients be labeled, but there is no such requirement for consumer use.

Some detergents and toilet bowl cleaners, for example, contain ethoxolated nonylphenols, endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can interfere with reproduction in marine and other species. Some laundry detergents contain trisodium nitrilotriacetate, listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen. It also impedes the elimination of metals in wastewater and has been banned in some countries because of that.

The 2005 CancerSmart Consumer Guide, published by the Labour Environmental Alliance Society (LEAS) and available
Commercial Cleaning Products2 for order on the back page, is a useful reference to check out the ingredients in common consumer products and find alternatives. You can also call the 1-800 number listed on many products and request a Material Safety Data Sheet that lists product ingredients.

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