The Household Product Labeling Act, introduced into the House of Representatives in summer 2009, would require that household cleaning products and similar products bear full and accurate ingredient labels so we can finally know everything in the products we use in our homes. Please contact your reps and let them know you support this effort.

This legislation is even more urgent now that a 2008 study published in Environmental Science & Technology by Dr. Mustafa Odabasi indicated for the first time that sodium hypochlorite and the cleaning agents (known as surfactants) and fragrances contained in several household cleaning products react within the product to create chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which I detailed in an earlier post. The study says these chlorinated compounds are released when we clean, that most of them are toxic and probable carcinogens and that the indoor air concentrations increase anywhere from eight to 1,170 times during the use of products that contain bleach. The increase in chlorinated VOCs was lowest for plain bleach and highest for thick liquids and gels.

It's absurd to think that all our efforts to be clean are actually making things dirty. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be this way. I challenge you to redefine clean and seek out eco-friendly, nontoxic, phosphate-free cleaning products that reduce your exposure to toxins and limit the amount of poison released into our air, soil and water. The Environmental Working Group tested the umbilical cord blood of a random sampling of American babies and found an average of 200 chemicals transmitted in utero. You can just imagine what the chemical body burden of an average adult might be if babies start off so compromised.


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