Washington, D.C. – From kitchen, bathroom, glass and all-purpose cleaners to dishwashing detergent, laundry soap and bleach, Environmental Working Group has scoured the chemical ingredients of more than 2,000 different household cleaning products and come up with a list of some of the best – and some you should avoid.
“With spring upon us, it’s that time when millions of Americans are prepping for a major home cleaning,” said EWG’s Director of Research, Renée Sharp. “But lurking in many available and widely used cleaning products are highly toxic chemicals associated with a number of serious health problems. The good news is there are plenty of products that will get the job done without exposing you and your family to these hazardous substances.”
EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning gives people practical solutions to protect themselves and their families from exposures to potentially harmful chemicals. That’s important, because U.S. law allows manufacturers of most cleaning products to use almost any ingredient they wish, including known carcinogens and substances that can harm fetal and infant development. The government does nothing to assess the safety of the vast majority of cleaning products before they’re sold to consumers. The Environmental Protection Agency only regulates cleaners that contain registered pesticides (such as disinfectants with “active ingredients”) whose labels the agency must approve. To fill the gap, EWG’s staff scientists evaluated the ingredients listed on cleaning product labels, websites and worker safety documents based on information available in top government, industry and academic toxicity databases and in the scientific literature on potential health and environmental problems.
“It’s important to keep your home clean, but in doing so you might be using products that contain chemicals that can trigger asthma attacks, allergic reactions, eye and skin irritation or that are known or probable human carcinogens,” said Sharp. “Even more troubling is that the law doesn’t require most types of cleaners even to disclose what chemicals are in them.”
Instead, many companies use vague terms such as “surfactant” or “preservative” to describe their ingredients, leaving consumers in the dark about the specific chemicals they may contain and whether they might pose health hazards. EWG believes that’s not good enough. Consumers have a right to know that information at the point of sale before bringing cleaners into their homes.
From the database it compiled, EWG identified some of the best and worst products in each of four categories – bathroom, dishes, laundry and kitchen/all-purpose – and created handy lists of 10 of the best and 10 to avoid. (Note: These lists are not intended to be exhaustive; they are meant to give consumers a sampling of products that received high or low scores in EWG’s rankings based on what’s known about their ingredients and how much their labels disclose.)
TEN OF THE BEST FOR THE BATHROOM
TEN OF THE BEST FOR CLEANING DISHES
TEN OF THE BEST FOR THE LAUNDRY
TEN OF THE BEST ALL-PURPOSE AND KITCHEN CLEANERS
TEN TO AVOID
These products all received an “F” grade in EWG’s rankings for one or more of the following reasons: 1) they contain ingredients linked to health effects such as asthma and respiratory problems, skin allergies and irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity or cancer; 2) they contain ingredients may have harmful environmental effects; or 3) product labeling failed to disclose ingredients that may be toxic.
TEN BATHROOM CLEANERS TO AVOID
TEN DISH WASHING PRODUCTS TO AVOID
TEN LAUNDRY PRODUCTS TO AVOID
TEN KITCHEN CLEANING PRODUCTS TO AVOID