Most people clean their home with various products, not knowing the ingredients in the product, or, if in fact, what they are using to clean their home is safe. And, this is not limited to the conventional brands. Many simply assume the “green” and “eco-friendly” versions are safer. However, countless cleaning products, whether they are conventional or labeled as a “eco,” contain ingredients that can be harmful. There is no regulatory requirement for ingredients to be disclosed on the label in a consistent format. Therefore, it is hard for people to know if “green” or “eco-friendly” cleaning products are in fact more safe for their health and for the environment than the conventional brands. The best thing is to make your own cleaning products and add some essential oils.
Toxins in Cleaning Products
Toxins are found in so many different cleaners, whether they are for cleaning countertops or spraying showers daily. The severity of the dangers associated with certain products range from acute effects, such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others can lead to chronic effects such as cancer, infertility issues and compromised immune system.
The chemicals in cleaning products can enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust or chemical residues left on dishes and cutlery. And ,when cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they can have a serious impact on aquatic ecosystems.
Imagine you just finished showering, and grab your shower cleaner to spray the shower. If the cleaner contains toxins, you may inhale them as you spray and/or the chemicals may be absorbed into your skin. Doesn't sound too refreshing after a bath?
Ingredients in Some Conventional Daily Shower Sprays
- Colors – some companies add colorants (dyes) to their products. They are not required to disclose the origin of said color used. Is it natural? synthetic? For certain products, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is unable to state the level of concern because the origin is unknown. The dangers could vary from general systemic/organ effects, damage to DNA, cancer to chronic aquatic toxicity or some concern of acute aquatic toxicity, skin irritation/allergies/damage. So there is just no way of knowing how harmful/less colorants actually are.
- Dicapryl/Dicaprylyl Dimonium Chloride (D) – it is widely used as a disinfectant and bactericide in shower sprays. It can trigger respirator tract irritation and may also cause digestive tract, eye and skin burns. It may be harmful if absorbed through the skin or swallowed.
- Ethanolamine (D) – it is a solvent. This particular ingredient can cause a variety of negative effects from respiratory problems, general systemic/organ issues to chronic aquatic toxicity, nervous system effects, skin irritation/allergies/damage.
- Fragrance (D) – companies are not required to disclose if the origin of the fragrance is natural or synthetic. More than 3000 chemicals are used in fragrance mixtures. Many trigger acute effects, such as respiratory irritation, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes in sensitive individuals or allergy and asthma sufferers. In addition, synthetic fragrances used can build up in the environment and can be toxic to aquatic organisms.
- EDTA (C)– it acts as a chelating agent in the shower spray (it should be noted that there are many formulas for EDTA. Some are used for Industrial purposes, others are Food Grade or Pharmaceutical grade for consumption). It can cause serious eye irritation to the user (damage to vision, biodegradation).
- Alkyl Polyglucoside (C8- 10) and Alkyl Polyglucoside (C8- 16) (B) – surfactant-cleaning agent. According to the EWG, there is no raise for concern.
- Propylene Glycol (A) – colorless, nearly odorless, syrupy liquid is derived from natural gas. No mention of concern in the EWG, but there are serious concerns about the extraction (fracking) of natural gas on the environment that can't be dismissed.
- Water (A)- no concern
This is what many people are spraying their showers with on a daily basis. It seems unnecessary to be spraying these chemicals. Some may say that the exposure is minimal, so we shouldn't be concerned. Perhaps. However, it is the accumulation of exposure to the various cleaning products that poses more of a risk. If all cleaning products contain a fragrance from a synthetic source, and you are using 4 different products on a regular basis, you are being exposed to 4x the amount of chemicals. Think about it.
Are you ready to try a diy daily shower spray now?
Read more about hidden toxins in our everyday products: