"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Study: Common cleansing products can release dangerous chemicals

September 14, 2023 – Conventional household cleaners and air fresheners can emit tons of of dangerous chemicals, but those with “green” properties and no fragrances are potentially less harmful than their conventional counterparts, in keeping with a brand new study.

The researchers tested 28 glass and multi-purpose cleaners and two air fresheners for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are man-made chemicals utilized in paints, medicines, coolants and other products, including cleansing products, that could be released into the air as gases, in keeping with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The studywhich has been peer-reviewed, in keeping with CBS Newswas published on Tuesday within the magazine Chemosphere and carried out by the nonprofit activist organization Environmental Working Group.

The researchers found 530 volatile organic compounds within the products, 193 of that are classified as toxic by either the state of California or the European Chemicals Agency, the authors write. In products labeled “green” and fragrance-free, volatile organic compounds were present in lower concentrations, lower numbers and with lower levels of emissions.

A consumer-friendly publication of the person brands tested and the outcomes was not included within the primary study.

Concerns identified for some products included potential toxicity by inhalation, potential cancer causing disease, and potential harm to reproductive systems, resembling affecting fertility or an unborn child.

“This study is a wake-up call for consumers, researchers and regulators to be aware of the potential risks associated with the numerous chemicals that enter our indoor air,” said lead writer Alexis Temkin, PhD, a senior toxicologist with the Environmental Working Group, in a Press release“Our results show how exposure to dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be reduced by choosing 'green' products, especially those that are 'green' and 'fragrance-free.'”

The researchers defined “green” as products “that are advertised as healthier, non-toxic or free of harmful chemicals, as well as products with third-party certification for their safety or environmental impact.”

The American Cleaning Institute, an industry association that represents cleansing product manufacturers, told CBS News that the standards used to judge products within the study were “arbitrary” and that the term “green” was a marketing term, not a scientific one.

“The fact is that in California – where the study is based – regulators have imposed restrictions on VOCs in most consumer products for the past three decades. Industry has worked with the government and regulators for decades to minimize VOC concentrations and keep them below levels considered dangerous,” the trade group said in a press release to CBS News. “Proper use of cleaning products contributes to public health and quality of life every day in homes, offices, schools, healthcare facilities, restaurants and in our communities. Anyone who has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic can certainly recognize this fact.”

The study's authors wrote that while EWG has financial relationships with cleansing product manufacturers, those relationships had no direct or indirect impact on the study.