Many cleaners contain toxins and some ‘green’ cleaners hide ingredients: report

TORONTO – A new report suggests some well-known household cleaning brands may have a big PR mess on their hands to clean up. The report disclosed information about ingredients contained in their products linked to health issues such as asthma, allergic reactions and even cancer.

Grading products with the letters A through F for safety of ingredients and disclosure of contents, the American non-profit organization, Environmental Working Group (EWG), assessed more than 2,000 cleaning products and 197 brands commonly used in North American households.

Their findings suggest that 53 per cent of the products contain ingredients known to harm the lungs and 22 per cent contain chemicals reported to cause asthma in otherwise healthy individuals. Other key findings of the study shed light on the fact that some ‘green’ brands do not disclose ingredients adequately, citing concern over lax U.S. federal labelling laws. Does this mean they are not really green?

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Canadian reaction to the report seems to echo EWG’s concerns about better labelling practices.

According to an email to Global News by Environmental Defence (ED), a Canadian environmental action organization based in Toronto, since ‘Industry Canada doesn’t require manufacturers to disclose all ingredients or warn consumers about the long-term exposure and chronic health and environmental hazards associated with these ingredients,’ consumers may be forced to do their own homework on the issue.

“This report is a good reminder that many products on our shelves contain harmful ingredients that are known to be irritants and hormone disruptors,” said Maggie MacDonald, the toxic program manager at Environmental Defence.

“Keeping your cleaning product regimen as simple as possible, and using Do-It-Yourself (DIY) formulas such as those outlined in our blog, can help reduce exposure to toxic chemicals in the home.”

EWG spent 14 months analyzing product labels and then comparing the ingredients against 15 U.S. and international toxicity databases, scientific and medical journals.

Failing the grade
According to a study conducted by Environmental Working Group (EWG), here are some of the cleaners failing to make the grade:

Febreze Fabric Refresher with Downy, April Fresh (F)
Woolite Fbric and Upholstery Foam Cleaner (F)
OxiClean Max force Laundry Pre-Treter Gel stick (F)
BabyGanics Stain, Go Away Stain Remover, Fragrance Free (F)
bioKleen Bac-Out Fresh Natural Fabric Refresher (F)

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Making the grade

According to a study conducted by Environmental Working Group (EWG), here are some of the cleaners making the grade:

Seventh Generation Natural Powder laundry detergent (A)
Martha Stewart Clean laundry detergent (A)
Green Shield Organic Fresh bathroom cleaner(A)
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Lemon Verbena Bathroom (B)
Whole Foods Market liquid dishsoap, lavender (B)