Widespread concerns have been raised by users and manufacturers regarding the ingredients contained in most household products; justifiably so, as increased cases of new diseases and the rise in the occurrence of certain chronic illnesses have shown a correlation with exposure to many identifiable materials present in these products.
While correlation does not prove causation, in the best interest of one’s personal health and safety, it is understandable that consumers would choose to be wary of certain ingredients that have proven a stronger correlation with certain illnesses. Hence the creation of independent groups dedicated to the proper policing of these products, away from corporate interests.
A group the author would recommend readers to use as reference would be EWG.org, a nonprofit organization committed to providing well-researched safety information on personal care products. They are a wellspring of unbiased information crucial in this age of perpetual misinformation.
Another avenue that has shown a strong correlation to the development of these diseases is in the food we eat. With the rise of corporate agriculture, and prevalence of questionable animal farming practices, we see more and more how everything we touch, and expose ourselves to, have tactile effects on our health and overall well-being.
How so does this apply to household products, that we are arguably equally exposed to on a daily basis? Indeed there are working groups set up to establish regulations concerning these products. But in the interest of personal health, the author would argue that this responsibility falls equally on the shoulders of the end user. It is, at the end of the day, our responsibility to take charge of our own health. Time and time again, not just in our country but in many others, we have seen that policy makers often bend over backwards to big corporations, often at the expense of its own citizens.
This is not an attempt to discredit those who legitimately do their best to ensure that the final product that reaches our hands is of the best and highest quality, but more a call to action to engage the end user, to create more awareness when it comes to choosing products, and take back the power that was always in our hands to begin with. It would be more difficult to manipulate a highly informed, and discerning consumer.
Some specific ingredients were already mentioned in a previous post, but other ingredients we feel also necessitate mention would be:
Volatile Organic Compounds are a common ingredient found in many cleaning supplies known to cause allergic reactions, asthma, and headaches. Some examples of these are fragrances which are often not required to be placed on the label, and terpenes which forms formaldehyde—a known sensitizer linked to asthma and allergic reactions, as well as a central nervous system depressant known to retard brain activity—when it reacts with ozone especially in warm and smoggy days. Inhalation of formaldehyde may also cause dizziness, headaches, chronic fatigue, joint pain, and loss of sleep. The concentrations that they make up in the final product is also equally important, aim to go for products with less than 1% of the fragrance making up the formulation.
Burns to the skin and eyes, and inhalation of toxic mists or vapors are some of the most common injuries affecting almost 6 out of every 100 professional custodians in the United States, and those are only the recorded cases. It is unknown how many similar cases go by unnoticed, especially in states where safety briefing on the use of cleaning products are given less importance.
The speed of introduction of revolutionary products and ingredients may leave some confused and unsure of how, and which product, to pick. Our hope is that moving forward, consumers are more empowered to make informed choices about the cleaner, sanitizer, and disinfectants they use, for their health, and that of their environment.