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Friday, August 13, 2010

Which Products? Which Chemicals? by John K. Beaulieu

Chemicals that can cause death, cancer, central nervous system (CNS) disorders, learning disorders, birth defects, respiratory illness, and many other health problems appear in most of the cleaning and personal care products in your home.  It may be difficult, however, to tell which health risks a particular product poses.  Since manufacturers do not list long-term health effects on the packages and are not required to list the ingredients, it's impossible to learn all the health risks by reading the label. 
That's why I have provided a short list of product type and general comments about possible health risks below.  Of course, every product is different.  Even the same product's ingredients can vary from batch to batch depending on the cost and availability of certain chemicals.  The following lists of cleaning supplies and personal care products are by no means exhaustive.  The possible health effects do not apply to every single brand.  However, based on examination of many grocery store brands, chemicals in the following products cause the listed health problems:

Cleaning Products
  • Air freshener - toxic; may cause caner; irritates nose, throat and lungs
  • Disinfectant - very toxic; causes skin, throat, and lung burns; causes coma.
  • Drain cleaner - toxic; causes skin burns; causes liver and kidney damage
  • Oven cleaner - toxic; causes skin, throat, and lung burns
  • Window cleaner - toxic; causes CNS disorders; causes liver and kidney disorders
  • Floor/Furniture Polish - toxic; causes CNS disorders; may cause lung cancer
  • Spot remover - toxic; may cause cancer; causes liver damage
  • All-purpose cleaner - causes eye damage; irritates nose, throat, and lungs
  • Toilet bowl cleaner - very toxic; causes skin, nose, throat, and lung burns
  • Chlorinated scouring powder - toxic; highly irritating to nose, throat, and lungs
  • Dishwasher detergent - toxic; causes eye injuries, damage to mucous membranes, and throat
  • Dishwashing liquid - harmful if swallowed; irritates the skin
  • Carpet shampoo - toxic; may cause cancer; causes CNS and liver damage
  • Laundry detergent - toxic; irritates the skin and lungs
  • Bleach - toxic by swallowing; vapors are harmful; causes CNS disorders
  • Stain remover - toxic; may cause cancer; vapors can be fatal
  • Fabric softener - toxic; may cause cancer; causes CNS disorders; causes liver damage
Personal Care Products
  • Shampoo- may cause cancer; irritates eyes, skin and lungs
  • Dandruff shampoo- may cause cancer; causes organ degeneration; causes CNS disorders
  • Deodorant soap- may cause cancer; causes asthma; irritates lungs
  • Bubble bath - causes bladder and kidney infections; irritates skin and nose
  • Mousse and hair spray - may cause cancer; causes lung disease; irritates eyes and skin
  • Mouthwash - toxic to children; may cause cancer
  • Breath Spray - may cause cancer
  • Cosmetics - may cause cancer; causes CNS damage; irritates skin and lungs
  • Perfumes/cologne - toxic; may cause cancer, irritates skin and lungs

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