Top Ten Cleaning Chemicals to Avoid

Green cleaning keeps your indoor air free of chemicals.  Natural cleaning is especially important for allergy and asthma sufferers.National Geographic's Green Guide reports on The Top Cleaning-Product Ingredients to Avoid. Achoo! ALLERGY's recently launched offering of natural cleaning products do just that.

Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), are often found in disinfectants and detergents. They are suspected hormone disruptors.

Begley's Best Household Cleaner, formulated with citrus and pine, is a natural disinfectant.

Ammonia is found in a wide range of cleaning products, including many glass cleaners, and is poisonous if swallowed. It can burn the skin on contact, and fumes can also irritate and damage the eyes. Ammonia also aggravates the respiratory tract and can trigger asthma attacks. Note: NEVER mix ammonia-containing products with bleach. The combination makes a deadly gas.

Vinegar and water in a spray bottle work well on glass, or if you prefer ready-to-go cleaners, Begley's Best Glass Cleaner is one of my personal favorites. EcoDiscoveries Glass Cleaner is also chemical free.

Antibacterial cleansers with triclosan are dangerous on two fronts: they are absorbed into the skin and can be tied to liver damage, and they are suspected of contributing to the increase in antibiotic-resistant germs.

Butyl cellosolve (also known as butyl glycol, ethylene glycol monobutyl) is poisonous if ingested, is absorbed through the skin, and is also a lung tissue irritant. It's often found in carpet sprays, wax strippers, and heavy-duty cleaners.

Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) irritates the lungs and eyes.

In addition to using bleach in routine cleaning and laundry, many people use bleach to deal with mold problems. Try EcoDiscoveries MoldZyme for a safer alternative that's also easy on your grout. Vital Oxide and M-1 Sure Coat Mold and Mildew Resistant Sealant also protect against the formation of mold and mildew.

Diethanolamine, commonly known as DEA, can combine with preservatives to crease cancer-causing nitrosamines. These can penetrate the skin.

Fragrance often contains phtalates,chemicals that can build up in the body, trigger asthma attacks, and have been linked to reproductive abnormalities and liver cancer in lab animals.

EcoDiscoveries Natural Cleaning Products and Begley's Best Natural Cleaning Products have no added fragrances. EcoDisoveries AirZyme is a natural and safe odor remover that eliminates odor rather than just covering it up like many fragranced cleaning products and air fresheners do.

Phosphates soften the water in detergents, but cause food-chain disrupting algae blooms in waterways once they're flushed down the drain.

Sodium hydroxide, commonly found in drain cleaners, metal cleaners, and oven cleaners, is severely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat, and is also extremely corrosive to these same tissues.

Many natural cleaning advocates suggest using a paste made of water and baking soda to clean ovens. Simply spread it around the oven, leave overnight, and then wipe clean the next day.

Sodium lauryl sulfate, used as a sudsing agent, can penetrate the skin, leading to contact dermatitis.

For more about natural cleaning alternatives, see Spring Green Cleaning for Allergy Sufferers.

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