Think you’re disinfecting your home from viruses, bacteria, flu, and other unseen harms? In 2005 the US market for household cleaning products was $14.5 billion, including a rapid increase in disinfectant products. Advertisers and the media appear to be sharing a common objective by alarming the public of the unseen dangers lurking in every nook and cranny. There is now mounting evidence that links chemical exposure to the rising levels of chronic health problems in the general population, including those that impact our respiratory and reproductive systems.
The overuse of antimicrobials may be adding to the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which provides the public with fewer tools to fight infectious disease. Rinsing these chemicals down our drain is negatively impacting our environment.
Many of our water treatment systems cannot filter out these chemicals, and as a result they are ending up in our waterways and in our drinking water. A 2002 United States Geologic Survey determined that 70% of streams contained detergents and 66% contained disinfectants. Many of these cleaning products contain chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors with possible negative impacts for our health and the aquatic ecosystem.
What You Can Do to promote “green” cleaning products in the home:
- Review the list of ingredients to avoid in the Green Resources section of this site
- Avoid products labeled caution, danger, harmful
- Be aware of greenwashing terms like natural, eco-friendly, environmentally-friendly, and organic, nontoxic and hypoallergenic which are unregulated and have no real meaning
- Choose products with no added fragrance
- Help pass smarter laws that prevent exposure and protect health
- Demand that companies fully disclose ingredients and support those that do
- Seek cleaning alternatives
- Companies that promote non-toxic products
- Do It Yourself Recipes (in the Green Resources section of this website)