Cleaning Supplies: are they really clean?


Low-dose exposure to chemicals in even one product can have lasting damage to our bodies. The relationship between environmental toxins and body chemistry is complex, and can be affected by small choices such as what products we expose ourselves to when cleaning our homes.

The home is the central communal space for family. It is a place where siblings and parents love, fight and grow up and old together. What chemicals are lurking under the sink, inside the bathroom closet, and in our laundry rooms that can disrupt this sacred space?

We spend countless hours cooking, baking, and socializing in our kitchens, especially during the holiday season. The kitchen is the heart of our home, and the products that we use to keep it clean often contain known carcinogens and endocrine-disruptors.

There are up to 3,000 known chemicals in our cleaning supplies that contain phthalates that disrupt the hormone system (EWG). Phthalates are regulated as pollutants when released into the environment, but are unregulated in products found on grocery store shelves.

In the kitchen we use dish soap, and all-purpose cleaner. Both products often have citrus and pine scents that are overwhelming, and can also interact with the ozone to produce formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen (EWG).

Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor found in some antibacterial hand soaps and dish detergent that studies have linked to causing cancer (EWG). These chemicals are found in products that we also use to clean our bathrooms. Chlorine is a strong chemical used as a sanitizer in many bathroom cleaning supplies. Chlorine is toxic and can kill a lot more than bacteria. 1,4 dioxane is a human carcinogen found in detergent and bath products that is known to cause cancer (EWG).

It is important to make conscious decisions when cleaning our homes. Substitute toxic products with certified green products or natural DIY remedies, like vinegar and/or baking soda. Many of these safer options clean just as well as conventional ones.

Making the commitment to safer alternatives, you are giving yourself and your loved ones a chance for a healthier future. Join the conversation with Protect Our Breasts on Facebook, download our free tip card, and learn how to practice safer habits at the grocery store shelves.

Refuse breast cancer – before it starts!


Environmental Working Group

Photo credit: Collin Anderson

Mary Lynch

Mary Lynch is the Fundraising Coordinator for the Protect Our Breasts Executive Board. Mary is a senior management major at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a concentration in sustainability and a minor in art history.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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