Hidden Toxins in Cleaning Products

We may not enjoy cleaning but it’s a necessity to keep us healthy.  Finding safe chemical free cleaning products can be a challenge for many of us.  Sometimes we are attracted to the smell but there are hidden toxins lurking in these very synthetically made and chemically laden products that are wreaking havoc on our and our family’s health.  Most cleaning labels would actually indicate that it’s hazardous to humans and animals yet being sold to humans to clean and spray in their homes.

According to the EWG, 53 percent of household products that they are reviewing contain ingredients that can harm your lungs, and other carcinogens such as formaldehyde and chloroform.

Most homes contain over 60 chemicals.  To make matters worse, there is no regulation and manufacturers are creating more and more chemicals that we are exposed to everyday.  So in essence, there are no testing to ensure that we are protected from toxic fumes and hidden and harmful ingredients.  Many ingredients in everyday household products are linked to various serious illnesses such as cancer, respiratory and reproductive issues, hormones and neurotoxicity.

Repeated use of these products can have negative longterm health concerns.  Although longterm use and various combinations of different products have not been studied, manufacturers insist that the levels of exposure would not contribute to cause for concern.  Some experts agree that cleaning products are among the most toxic products.  Toxins are everywhere which makes it hard to avoid altogether, but we can certainly reduce our exposure by replacing toxic household products for natural and safe products.  For a better understanding of the impact of chemicals in household cleaners, check out the EWG’s list.    Some of these chemicals are phthalates, chlorine, perchloroethylene, triclosan, sodium hydroxide, ammonia, botoxyethanol, quarternary ammonium compounds.  Enjoy these natural recipes


Ammonia is a colorless, pungent gas.  Another corrosive chemical that can cause immediate burning of the eyes, glaucoma, nose, throat and respiratory tract and can also result in blindness, lung damage or death.  Lower levels of inhalation can result in cough, throat and nose irritation.  This chemical can be found in glass, toilet bowl, oven, drain, multi-purpose cleaners and shining waxes.


Botoxyethanol is yet another colorless chemical.  A study in New Zealand of rats and rabbits have shown harmful effects when exposed to high levels of 2-butoxyethanol. Pregnant rats showed developmental and neurological problems in their babies.  Rats had reduced red blood cell counts and thymus weights, as well as lesions in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.  This chemical can be found in white board cleaners, cosmetics, dry cleaning solutions, liquid soaps, leather  protectors, varnishes and other products.


Chlorine may sound harmless but inhaling chlorine gas can be responsible for breathing problems, vision problems, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, and even death.  This chemical in swimming pools has been linked to bladder and rectal cancer.  Even taking a long bath or shower increases a person’s risk for chlorine exposure because chlorine can enter the body through skin absorption or through the eyes, nose, and ears.  Research has shown, that long‐term exposure to chlorine leads to the production of free radicals within the body. Free radicals are carcinogenic and can cause tremendous damage to our cells.


Perchlorethyline is a colorless liquid that is used for dry cleaning fabrics and is considered a toxic air pollutant by the EPA.  It’s suspected to cause cancer and other serious health issues.  Short term use of high-level inhalation of tetrachloroethylene can include irritation of the upper respiratory tract, kidney dysfunction, eyes and neurological problems.  These include reversible mood and behavioral changes, impairment of coordination, dizziness, headache, sleepiness, and unconsciousness.  Long term inhalation exposure include cognitive impairment, and motor neurobehavioral impairment, kidney, liver, immune system and hematologic system problems as well as under development and reproduction issues. Studies have found associations with several types of cancer including bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma of people in the work place.


Phthalates are a family of chemicals used in plastics to give flexibility to plastic and vinyl.  It’s also used as a solvent in cosmetics, baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, teethers, pharamaceuticals, toys, food wrapping, detergent, lubricating oils, nail polish, hair spray, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other products. It can damage the kidneys, liver, lungs, hormone disrupter and reduce sperm count based on animal studies.  In 2013 the California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment added this chemical to their cancer causing list.

Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is also know as lye.  This is used in soap making and can be caustic to skin, eyes, gastrointestinal system, respiratory tract (if consumed).  It is odorless, absorbs moisture from the air, and can cause burns to tissues if contact is made.  This chemical can also be found in toothpaste, plastic wrap, soap, oven cleaners, drain de-clogging products.


Due to safety concerns, some manufactures remove triclosan from products.   This can be found in soaps, hand sanitizers, facial tissues, laundry detergent, toothpastes, antiperspirants, shaving creams and other products.  It’s linked to weakened immune system, abnormal endocrine system and thyroid hormone signaling.  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists detected triclosan in the test subjects of 75% of the 2,517 people tested (age six and older).

Quarternary Ammonium Compounds

Quarternary Ammonium Compounds have the potential to cause adverse health problems such as endocrine changes, cancers, eye, skin and mucous membrane issues, and asthma.  This chemical can be found in fabric softeners, cleaning and disinfectant products.

I hope you find this article helpful.

Stay beautiful and keep smiling.

About the Author Denese McAndrew

Denese is the founder of Essential Oils IQ a Certified Nutritional Expert, Herbology Student, Brain Researcher, Essential Oils Expert and is crazy about all things wellness.  She believes that the body is a magnificently designed to heal itself if given the proper nourishment. Read more about my story here.
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