Our non-toxic maid service in Austin just got even more important! The EWG (Environmental Working Group) just released its 2016 Cleaning Product update – with more than 400 new products added to the list. Here are some of the findings, for more visit the EWG website!

Almost 40 percent of products the EWG reviewed contained isothiazolinone preservatives, which can either trigger or exacerbate allergies. Researchers and physicians from over a dozen clinics have reported cases of serious skin allergy, and an increase approaching epidemic proportions in allergies to a specific type of isothiazolinone known as methylisothiazolinone, or MI. The European Union recently lowered its safety standard for these chemicals in rinse-off cosmetic products, but the U.S. has no restrictions, even though hands and forearms are repeatedly exposed to these substances for long periods while washing dishes. A small number of products contain one of three preservative compounds that when mixed with water release formaldehyde.

EWG’s assessment found:

  • Almost half of the products in this update were rated “poor” on ingredient disclosure.
  • Only about one in seven products earned a grade of A or B, for low human and environmental toxicity and robust disclosure of ingredients. A little more than one-sixth earned a passing grade of C. The remainder – more than two-thirds – fell short, receiving a D or F.
  • Almost three-fourths contain ingredients which may have worrisome respiratory health effects. Of particular concern, such chemicals were routinely found in all-purpose spray cleaners.
  • More than one-fourth of products scored moderate to high concern because they contain ingredients linked to cancer or may contain impurities linked to cancer.
  • One-fifth of products scored moderate to high concern because they contain ingredients associated with developmental, endocrine or reproductive harm.
  • More than 10 percent of the products are corrosive, capable of permanently damaging eyes or skin.
  • Ten percent of products were rated moderate to high concern for skin irritation and damage and skin allergies because they contain ingredients of concern.
  • Almost 60 percent of products scored moderate to high concern because one or more ingredients pose a risk to the environment. These chemicals are only partly removed by wastewater treatment plants, don’t readily break down, are persistent in the environment and toxic to aquatic life.

Other disclosure details:

  • Fewer than 40 percent rated “good,” providing relatively complete and specific ingredient information, rather than hiding behind vague descriptions like “preservatives” or “surfactants.” Five percent of cleaners, including some from Colgate-Palmolive Company and Sun Products Corporation, provided no information at all on the label.
  • Almost seven in 10 of the products use the terms “perfume” or “fragrance,” catch-all terms that can hide the presence of chemicals such as bioaccumulative synthetic musks, linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive and developmental harm. Seven percent listed the equally vague term “essential oil.”
  • Little more than a quarter of products fully disclose ingredients in any single location, whether on the label or online. Only 14 percent got full credit for disclosing ingredients on the label, and another 14 percent for disclosure on product websites.
  • For half of products with available worker safety data sheets, the documents revealed at least one additional chemical not disclosed on the label or website. Most disturbing were the listing of benzene on the currently available (as of March 2016) safety data sheet of Palmolive’s eco+ dishwasher gel and of formaldehyde on the currently available safety data sheets of eight other dish and laundry products. Long-term exposure to benzene is linked to leukemia, anemia and bone marrow damage, and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, respiratory irritant and allergen.
  • Twelve percent of products use the terms “dyes,” “colorants”, or “colors” instead of listing the specific chemical dyes. Two dyes that were sometimes listed are known as FD&C Yellow 5 and FD&C Red 40, which may cause allergic reactions or be contaminated with impurities known to cause cancer.
  • Other frequently appearing but vague terms include “fabric brighteners” or “optical brighteners,” chemicals that make clothes appear whiter. Some of the specified brightening agents that are listed are known to build up in the environment.

Our maid service Austin avoids commercial cleaning products to bring you non-toxic cleaning services that will not harm you or your family. To review the cleaning products you have in your home please visit EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

Happy Cleaning!

rachel