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What is the reason for the shift towards more environmentally friendly cleaning products?

Numerous studies indicate an ongoing problem with the residual effects of chemical based cleaning products in the environment, not only affecting plants, rivers, insect and animal life, but also humans, both adults and children.

Cleaning And Personal Products Residual Effect on the Environment

A United States Geological Survey (2002), on the environmental effects of cleaning products found not only detergent traces in 69% of streams tested across the United States but also that 66% of the same streams tested positive for disinfectants. One chemical in common use in the manufacture of household cleaners is ammonia. Cancer cells recycle ammonia waste to promote growth. Tumours avoid toxic effects by turning the by-product into amino acids that are the building blocks cells need to grow. A Nature (2017) study now suggests breast cancer cells can reuse their ammonia waste for growth. Toxic ammonia by-products from healthy cells are generally removed from the body as urea through the liver but in some people, the tumours lack the blood vessels needed.

Another product injurious to human health used in the manufacture of common home cleaning products is sodium hydroxide. In its raw form, it is strongly irritating and corrosive. It can cause severe burns and permanent damage to any tissue it comes in contact with. The extent of damage to the gastrointestinal tract may not be clear until several hours after ingestion. Inhaled sodium hydroxide can cause swelling of the larynx and an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Contact with 25-50% solutions produces immediate irritation, while after contact with solutions of 4% or less, irritation may not develop for several hours.

A Government of Canada study indicates cancer of the esophagus may develop years after exposure to sodium hydroxide levels that are high enough to cause tissue damage. Researchers from across Canada also looked at data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort on microbes in the fecal matter of children. The data indicated commonly used household cleaners could be making children overweight by altering the very important microbes in their developing gut.

The Conclusion: When purchasing cleaning and personal products, we all really do have to think green for the sake of our water, our children and ourselves.


United State Geological Study (2002). The environmental dangers of using cleaning products. Sustainable Living | Aug 24, 2018 3:23:57 PM. Paragraph 4.

Government of Canada Study (1999) - Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Paragraph 6.

Nature (2017) Cancer cells recycle ammonia waste to grow. Tumours dodge toxic effects by turning the by-product into amino acids. Paragraph 4.

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