What are you using to clean your house? Many of us are starting to become more aware of the toxic chemicals that we are exposing ourselves to within our homes and some are turning to green cleaning solutions in an effort to avoid it. But are we really winning this war on chemicals in the house by using green products? A recent study has placed doubt in our minds about what cleaning products are now safe to use.
Anne Steinemann, Professor of Civil Engineering and Chair of Sustainable Cities at the University of Melbourne, is concerned that common consumer products, including those marketed as ‘green’, ‘all-natural’, ‘non-toxic’, and ‘organic’, emit a range of compounds that could harm human health and air quality, but most of these ingredients are not disclosed.
Anne investigated and compared volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from 37 different products, such as air fresheners, cleaning products, laundry supplies, and personal care products, including those with certifications and claims of ‘green’ and ‘organic’. She found that emissions of carcinogenic, hazardous air pollutants from ‘green’ fragranced products were not significantly different from regular fragranced products! In total, over 550 volatile ingredients were emitted from the products, but fewer than 3% were disclosed on any product label or material safety data sheet (MSDS).
We wondered if we should panic at this point? We have always been conscious of making sure our clients and staff are not exposed to toxic chemicals, especially our cleaners who are at high risk, using cleaning products all day, most days.
We’ve been using an organic Australian cleaning product for the past few years. It is an all-rounder so we use it to clean surfaces, kitchens, bathrooms, windowsills, aluminium doors and much more. It is our main cleaning product. When we heard about Anne’s findings we thought we’d better double check that our organic cleaner doesn’t fall into one of these ‘green products’ that now has question marks all over it.
Our first port of call was to Kevin Jeffery, Founder of our organic cleaning product called Safe ‘n’ Clean, a product of Amaze.
This product actually is pretty amazing. Kevin has jumped through many hoops put before him to prove that his product is what he says it is. He has the Australian Environmentally Friendly Seal of Approval and he also had to go through a raft of processes to substantiate his claims for an approval to go on Channel 7, see his ad below. So when I got off the phone from Kevin I was pretty sure we didn’t have to worry about any backlash with his product but I wanted to be absolutely sure, so I gave Anne a call in Melbourne.
I was pretty amazed that I got straight through to her. She was very friendly and helpful and explained that the volatile organic carbons (VOCs) were contained within the fragrance in the green products that she tested, so as long as the product we are checking didn’t have any fragrance in it, then there is no risk. Phew! Hey, but we always knew we had backed a solid product J
So we are proud to continue to say we offer cleaning services for our clients using completely environmentally friendly, safe, cleaning products. We also commonly use products like white cleaning vinegar, eucalyptus solution, lemon and bicarb soda and oil of cloves for cleaning in various situations.
If you would like to talk to us more about getting your home or office cleaned or enquire about the products we use, please contact us, we would love to hear from you.
If you want more information on Anne Steinemann and her study, visit http://people.eng.unimelb.edu.au/asteinemann/.