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Thursday
Nov172011

We Know the Dirty Secrets and Now We Need Action

Dirty Secrets - What's Hiding in Your Cleaning Products? Today Women's Voices for the Earth released a report called Dirty Secrets: What's Hiding in Your Cleaning Products?  I wrote about the report over at Care2.com, but surprisingly (or not), I wasn't very surprised by the dirty secrets in this report.

There are chemicals in makeup and personal care products. There are chemicals in baby care products. There are chemicals in storage containers and drink bottles and packaging. And yes, there are chemicals in household cleaning products.

I know.

You know.

We know.

And now we need action to get rid of those chemicals. I am pleased that the Canadian government is taking action and reviewing a large list of chemicals and I do hope to see progress in banning them. I'm happy to see companies like Johnson & Johnson making promises to get rid of carcinogens in baby shampoo (but I won't believe it until I see it and it is verified by independent third parties).

But until the chemicals are gone, more needs to be done to educate consumers and to empower consumers. People need to know about the dangerous chemicals lurking in the everyday products that they use so that they can make educated choices. They need information from the government and non-profit organizations about the safety (or lack thereof) of these products. They also need mandated, clear, truthful ingredient lists on the products that are being sold on the market. Even people who are able to decode a long list of latin words on a package label are probably still only getting half the story.

In my Care2 article, I give people a few suggestions for action. I thought I'd pass those along here too:
« Infant formula advertising DOES influence mothers | Main | Fun with Analogies: Co-Sleeping and Knives, Car Travel and Guns »

Reader Comments (10)

I'm a male, so maybe that makes it impossible for me to understand, but who buys all that cleaning stuff? Things that spray in the air, things you plug in that emit scents, things you put in the toilet, special cleaners of all kinds? We do buy cleaners, but they are detergents for clothes and dishes, personal soap and shampoo and toothpaste. I think that's about it. We use vinegar for windows and plain old water for most everything else -- oh yeah, it sometimes take a bit of scrubbing. And we have 4 kids! I don't know what those other things are for, but we certainly rarely if ever use more than those few cleaning products. I avoid anything that has any kind of odour because I can just imagine the poison entering my body, that includes durables. Walk into a dollar store, take a whiff, and understand that it's commercial death you're breathing from all those clothes and toy and knick-knacks.

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex | Perfecting Dad

Alex:

We also don't buy a lot of the excessive cleaning stuff, but I know a lot of people who do (unfortunately).

But even regular stuff like laundry detergent, personal soap, shampoo and toothpaste often contains undesirable ingredients. One of the products that contains carcinogens is Tide Free & Gentle (Scent Free), which is a product a lot of parents buy specifically for their baby's clothes and diapers.

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I used to buy so much stuff (pre-kids). Then I discovered the beauty of vinegar. I make our own cleaning stuff now, because water just won't cut it for the bathroom (IMHO). We use vinegar, all purpose soap, and tea-tree oil. That's it.
I can't seem to convince everyone else I know not to buy toxic cleaners though. My mother seems to think that if you don't clean with bleach, then it just isn't clean enough. And my kids are with her all day long so it bothers me a lot :(

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November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCleaning Products

You are right, that's a real problem!
Especially in baby care product...
And as far as we can't live without using those the only solution is not to use chemical product in those products! I hope this protest will grow and impel the company to modify the ingredient list!

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhome care in charlotte nc

My husband and I made the switch to Method cleaners, which I understand are okay. We don't keep anything toxic as a cleaner except a jug of bleach that lives above the washing machine on a shelf. It's too risky with kids, as far as I'm concerned. We use a lot of vinegar too.

My mom used to put so much pine sol on the floor when she cleaned it that it would just about singe your nose hairs it was so potent. Gross.

Is there anywhere on your blog that I might be able to post a link to a contest? I don't want to post one if that isn't okay with you, but I'm starting a business and have a contest running right now to bring people by.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobbin

Yep, I'm sure that nearly every product has toxicity. They're chemicals designed to kill or break down organic material after all. I rarely trust producers to be totally honest. Having worked for a number of large and small companies I know that controls are not bullet-proof. Companies don't really have an obligation, in their minds to be totally perfect. As long as they more-or-less deliver what they say then that's probably good enough. Their tolerance for what is toxic is likely far different from some consumers. They're not being bad or evil most of the time, and many times it is individuals within the company that screw up. Individuals like you and I. They're killing us ... but they didn't mean to if you know what I mean.

It's important to let them know you're watching, as you do. My opinion is that its important too just to accept how little you can trust them (again, even if only that mistakes will happen) and don't take risks by buying products in general, even if they come out "ok" _this_ time around.

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex | Perfecting Dad

You said:

"There are chemicals in makeup and personal care products. There are chemicals in baby care products. There are chemicals in storage containers and drink bottles and packaging. And yes, there are chemicals in household cleaning products.

I know.

You know.

We know.

And now we need action to get rid of those chemicals."

I think that the word "chemical" might be a little bit broad for how you intend it. Water is a chemical, as is salt (sodium chloride), baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and vinegar (acetic acid). If we get rid of all the chemicals in soap, we have no soap. If we get rid of all the chemicals in our cleaners, we have no cleaners.

I think it is a good idea to remove toxic agents and carcinogens from cleaning and personal care products, but putting those dangerous compounds under the broad label of "chemicals" makes us sound like ignorant folk afraid of things we don't understand rather than educated consumers making a choice we believe is healthier.

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Fair enough. I probably should have said "toxic chemicals".

November 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Great..Every one use such a chemical products in daily life.I think that's a better idea to remove toxic chemical.So we can start protect by yourself firstly.
Thanks for such a great information..!!
Healthy World

http://www.permaproducts.co.za/" rel="nofollow">Bathroom fittings,storage containers,baby safety

November 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohanfrancho

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