From your kitchen cleaner to your bathroom air fresheners, you probably think going green means making a healthier choice for you and your family, but a new study from the University of Melbourne in Australia reveals the truth about natural household cleaners and other products: that they give off just as many hazardous air pollutants as the regular ones.
A team of researchers looked at nearly 40 different products ranging from laundry supplies to personal care products—many of which were labeled ‘non-toxic’ and ‘organic’—and discovered that all of them are potentially harmful to human health because of the volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) they release into the air, regardless of whether or not they were fragranced.
In all, they determined that more than 500 volatile ingredients (and over 150 VOCs, including hazardous terpenes) were released by the products in the study, and over 40 of those ingredients are currently classified as toxic or hazardous in the United States. However, fewer than 3% percent of were actually listed on the label, say study authors.
A big concern, according to lead author Anne Steinemann, is that indoor air exposure is such a significant source of pollutants, but most people are unaware of the dangers in their household environments. Not only that, but consumers often choose green or natural products because they think they’re safer, when really “…those claims are largely untested.” Steinemann is among the foremost experts on environmental pollutants and their effects on air quality and human health.
Click here for quick and easy recipes to make your own household cleaners and personal care products!