The Alliance For A Clean Environment
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Cleaning Chemicals

People have learned to keep their houses clean in order to ward off disease and infection. To help us do this, we have created a wide variety of cleaning products and disinfectants. The problem is that our zeal to be clean has gone too far. Today, the cleaner is frequently more dangerous than the things we are trying to clean up. Many common household products contain alcohol, ammonia, bleach, formaldehyde, and lye. These substances can cause nausea, vomiting, inflammation and burning of the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory system, and are linked with neurological, liver and kidney damage, blindness, asthma, and cancer. Source: Healthy Child Online

Did you know:

• The average American home has 3-10 gallons of hazardous materials. (Source: Children's Health Environmental Coalition)

• The average household typically uses and stores more than 60 hazardous products, including household cleaners, automotive products, paints, solvents and pesticides. (Source: Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce)

• In 1999, 2.1 million human poisonings were reported to the poison control centers in the United States. More than 50 percent of the cases involved children under the age of five. (Source: American Association of Poison Control Centers, via Children's Health Environmental Coalition)

• A study by the New York Poison Control Center found that 85 percent of product warning labels they studied were inadequate. Some labels list incorrect first-aid information and others warn against dangers that don't exist. (Source: Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce)

• The U.S. government has not conducted even basic toxicity testing for about 75 percent of the 15,000 high volume chemicals in commercial use. More than 90 percent of these high volume chemicals have not been tested for health effects on children. (Source: Children's Health Environmental Coalition)

• EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2-5 times, and occasionally, more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Cleaning products and other household products are among the many culprits. (Source: EPA)

• Over 150 chemicals found in the average home have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities. (Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission, via

Source: Environmental Media Services

• 50% of all illness is due to poor indoor air quality. (Source: 1989 State of Massachusetts Study)

• Liquid Dish Soap is the leading cause of poisonings in the home for children under the age of 6 (over 2.1 million accidental poisonings per year) (contains formaldehyde and ammonia in most brands)

• Of the chemicals found in personal care products:

884 are toxic
146 cause tumors
218 cause reproductive complications
314 cause biological mutation
376 cause skin and eye irritations
(Source: United States House of Representatives report, 1989)

• Over the last 20-30 years, as more toxic chemicals have been introduced in greater amounts, the level of toxins stored in adipose tissues (fat cells) of our bodies has risen. Bio-accumulation studies have shown that some toxins store in our bodies for life. Greater and greater amounts are being stored at younger ages. Diseases that used to occur later in life are now appearing at younger ages. Diseases that used to be rare are more frequent.

For Example: There has been a 28% increase in childhood cancer since the addition of pesticides into household products. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

• In one decade, there has been a 42% increase in asthma (29% for men; 82% for women-the higher rate for women is believed to be due to women's longer exposure times to household chemicals) (Source: Center for Disease Control)

• Due to the increase in toxic buildup in our bodies, including the toxic buildup of formaldehyde, dead bodies are not decomposing as fast as they used to. (Source: National Institutes of Health)

• There is an increased risk for leukemia in children where parents have used pesticides in the home or garden before the child's birth (Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

• Over 150 chemicals found in the average home have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological abnormalities. (Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Source: Earth Wellness

Labeling of household products:

• The Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act (FHSLA) (sometimes called the Federal Hazardous Substances Act) requires manufacturers to label active ingredients in household products which are considered "proximate" hazards, but not inert ingredients which have chronic (long-term) effects. (Source: Ledie Bond at EarthSafe & Wellness Technologies, Inc.)

• "Remember: the signal words [e.g. "Danger," "Caution," “Warning”] pertain only to acute or immediate hazards. The labels do NOT indicate the effect chemicals will have on chronic or long-term health. Thus, degenerative diseases or those with a long latency period are not addressed by key words. Product labels are not required to inform consumers of the type of hazard associated with the product." -- From the Yamhil County Solid Waste Division (Oregon)

• The Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with enforcing the FHSLA. (Source: National Archives and Records Administration)

• The FHSLA defines "hazardous substance" as "any substance or mixture of substances which (i) is toxic, (ii) is corrosive, (iii) is an irritant, (iv) is a strong sensitizer, (v) is flammable or combustible, or (vi) generates pressure through decomposition, heat, or other means, if such substances or mixture of substances may cause substantial personal injury or substantial illness during or as a proximate result of any customary or reasonably foreseeable handling or use, including reasonably foreseeable ingestion by children." (Source:

Source: Environmental Media Services


P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464

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