8 Hidden Toxins In Common Household Cleaners


If you are anything like me, you’re absolutely obsessed with cleanliness. Wherever you are, you take any opportunity you can to wipe down a counter, put something in its place, and spray some air freshener. Constantly thinking how you can make something cleaner and how you can arrange a space so that it looks tidier. It’s a blessing and a curse honestly, on one hand, you get so excited when cleaning day comes around and you get to use all your products and tools! On the other hand, cleaning products aren’t cheap! $5 for a bottle of Febreze that we’re using 7 days a week can really start to add up. But hey, it’s all worth it to be in a nice clean space, amirite?! 

BUT, if you are practicing living a holistic life you may not have taken the time to think about how your cleaning products reflect that lifestyle choice. If you read the back panel of your favorite cleaning products, you’ll see warnings about the toxins and if it gets on your skin you should just jump in a tub of water and hope you don’t lose a limb. So, what is it that we’re REALLY using in our homes and inhaling? 

Often found in many fragranced household products, such as air fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper. Because of proprietary laws, companies don’t have to disclose what’s in their scents, so you won’t find phthalates on a label. If you see the word “fragrance” on a label, there is a good chance phthalates are present.

Health Risks: Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors. Men with higher phthalate compounds in their blood had correspondingly reduced sperm counts, according to a 2003 study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harvard School of Public Health. Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem, warns Alicia Stanton, MD, coauthor of Hormone Harmony (Healthy Life Library, 2009). Unlike the digestive system, the skin has no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to organs.

Perchloroethylene or PERC:
Often found in dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet and upholstery cleaners.

Health Risks: Perc is a neurotoxin, according to the chief scientist of environmental protection for the New York Attorney General’s office. And the EPA classifies perc as a “possible carcinogen” as well. People who live in residential buildings where dry cleaners are located have reported dizziness, loss of coordination and other symptoms. While the EPA has ordered a phase-out of perc machines in residential buildings by 2020, California is going even further and plans to eliminate all use of perc by 2023 because of its suspected health risks. The route of exposure is most often inhalation: that telltale smell on clothes when they return from the dry cleaner, or the fumes that linger after cleaning carpets.

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Amber Janae