Noreen Ziegler, DVM, CNC
Excerpt from Dr. Mercola

Commercial cleaning products, even "green" ones like Simple Green, clean
faster than soap and water can.  But this is because they contain small
amounts of the most powerful grease-cutting class of chemicals known --
glycol ethers.  Overexposure to glycol ethers can cause anemia, intoxication,
and irritation of the eyes and nose.  In laboratory animals, low-level exposure
to glycol ethers has caused birth defects and damage to sperm and testicles.  
The most commonly used glycol ether, 2-butoxyethanol, has been shown to
cause liver cancer in animals.

AlterNet reports:
"You are exposed to the glycol ethers when you inhale them as the cleaner is
used ... Most glycol ethers can silently penetrate your skin and enter your
bloodstream ... If that were not enough, the glycol ethers also go through
natural rubber gloves and many types of plastic gloves without changing their

The typical American home contains 3-10 gallons of toxic materials, in the
form of about 60 different kinds of hazardous household cleaning products.  
That's right; the very things you use to clean your house are actually the
primary sources of toxins and indoor air pollution that Americans expose
themselves to year after year.  And many of the new "green" alternatives now
being offered by major corporations are only green in name, as you will soon

The Cost of Cleaning Your Home
Having a clean home should never cost you something as valuable as your
health, but that's exactly what you're putting at risk when you use household
cleaners and laundry detergents filled with many of the hazardous chemicals
on the market today.  The problem is, when the chemicals in these common
household products hit your skin and lungs, they go directly into your
bloodstream, bypassing your body's natural defense system against toxins
(the liver and kidneys).

This type of indoor pollution is particularly harmful to your health because just
one application of a typical household cleaner can leave dangerous
chemicals lingering in your indoor air for hours at a time.  For people who
spend a large amount of their day indoors, this can amount to a frequent
chemical attacks on your lungs.

So, which Ingredients are Toxic?
Some of the ingredients in common household cleaners, laundry detergents,
and even "green" cleaners that can create a toxic indoor environment include:

  • Glycol ethers – Widespread use in paints, perfumes, soaps, cosmetics
    and foods.  Cause fatigue, lethargy, nausea, and possible liver and
    kidney damage.
  • Phthalates – Cause reproductive harm, endocrine disruption, cancer,
    organ damage.
  • Perfumes – Cause headaches, sinus problems, asthma, may cause
    intoxication and "addiction."
  • Phosphates - Manufacturers have reduced eliminated phosphates from
    laundry products, but no action has ever been taken on dishwasher
    detergents. Causes widespread environmental damage.
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), a common ingredient in laundry
    detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe, and known
    to be a potent endocrine disrupter.  It's already thought to be the cause
    of male fish transforming into females in waterways around the world!
  • Formaldehyde, found in spray and wick deodorizers, is a suspected
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including 1,4-dichlorobenzene –
    Cause nose and throat irritation, dizziness, asthma.
  • Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners may damage mucous membranes.
  • Butyl cellosolve, found in many all-purpose and window cleaners.  May
    damage your kidneys, bone marrow, liver and nervous system.
  • Ammonia – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
  • Chlorine – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
  • Ethanolamines – irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - skin irritant, eye irritant, potential cancer

Why "Green" Cleaning Products May NOT Necessarily be Green!
As more and more consumers are learning about the dangers of the products
they use in their homes, "green" environmentally friendly options have
sparked an industry revolution with a growing number of companies offering
their own versions of eco-friendly cleaners.  Some examples are Clorox Green
Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Simple Green, and Purex Natural

Unfortunately, the terms "green" and "natural" are nothing more than
marketing terms; they're not rigid well- accepted scientific terms, and they do
not automatically equate to safety.  This shouldn't come as a surprise to
anyone who is even slightly familiar with how multinational corporations use
marketing to manipulate the image of their products.

If you want a real treat, please pick up and read a highly recommended book
on this subject called Subliminal Persuasion: Influence & Marketing Secrets
They Don't Want You To Know.  This book reveals the systematic techniques
used to form opinions or ideologies, in ways that we never suspect.  
Multinational corporations, like big drug companies, are using these
techniques all the time to deceive you.  Many large corporations are
chomping at the bit, eager to reach into the wallets of modern,
environmentally concerned consumers searching for green alternatives to the
toxic stew of chemicals found in conventional cleaning products.  "Green"
cleaning products are a growing niche market, with green cleaning product U.
S. sales totaling $100 million in 2010.  But most "green" cleaning products like
Simple Green are still loaded with glycol ethers, which are anything but good
for your health when inhaled or when they touch your skin.  Folks, the simple
truth is that if a substance cuts through grease and dirt any faster than soap
and water, then there are chemicals in there that most likely aren't very good
for your health.

Why Glycol Ethers are BAD for You
Glycol ether is a generic term for over thirty solvents derived from crude oil,
all with different properties, which are used in applications ranging from paints
to inks to degreasing agents and cleaning products.  Generally speaking,
glycol ethers are hazardous when they get on your skin or when they get in
your lungs.  This is especially true with cleaning products, which are often
applied indoors and without proper ventilation.  The glycol ether named
ethylene glycol monoethyl ether may be linked to lower sperm count in men,
and has caused low birth weight and reproductive abnormalities in animal
studies.  Pregnant women and small children in particular should avoid
expose to glycol ethers, as these groups are more susceptible to damage.

Reading the Labels Won't Always Help
I always advocate reading the labels on the foods and cleaning products you
buy, but in the case of household cleaners even the most meticulous eye for
labels won't get you very far.  Why?  Because many of the most dangerous
chemicals will not even be on the label.  The manufacturers have conveniently
lobbied the government to exempt them from this requirement and can omit
any ingredient that is considered a secret formula from its label.  Many of
these non-disclosed ingredients are actually toxic and carcinogenic.  
Household goods are still very much an unregulated market.  And, cleaning
product manufacturers -- even those that claim to be "green" -- are not
required by law to disclose all of their ingredients on their labels.  So while it's
still better to read the label than not, be aware that a lack of ingredient on a
label doesn't necessarily mean it's not in the product!

Final Thoughts on Green Cleaners
Don't be fooled by the marketing, or by ingredients that are purposely left off
of labels.  The toxic chemicals listed above are found in a wide variety of
everyday cleaners and detergents and pose a significant health risk.  We are
starting to see that now with increased and unexplained cancers, increased
infertility and difficulty in reproduction, exploding neurological disorders,
ADHD and autism in our children.  These diseases are thought by many to be
linked to environmental causes --and many of the toxic ingredients in cleaning
products are among the suspected culprits.

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Beware: Most Green Cleaning Products Contain This
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