Natural Does Not Mean Non Toxic: The Surprising Truth
Like most parents, you’re probably conscientious about the chemicals you bring into your home, particularly when it comes to cleaning products. To limit the dangerous chemicals your family is exposed to, many parents buy natural cleaning solutions for most uses and reserve the scary chemicals like bleach for cleaning catastrophes. While many natural cleaners are safer than conventional cleaners, the reality is that many products labeled as “natural” are actually not non toxic cleaners at all. Products from brands like Seventh Generation, Method, Mrs. Meyers, Honest Company & Green Works all contain toxic chemicals.
“Natural” Doesn’t Mean It’s A Non Toxic Cleaner
That’s because there are no federal regulations that dictate standards for products labeled as “natural”. In addition, manufacturers of cleaning products are not required to disclose all of their products’ ingredients on their packaging labels. This makes it very hard to know what’s hiding in your so-called “natural” cleaner, and in fact, many cleaners labeled as “natural” contain toxic fragrances, dyes, preservatives, allergens & irritants. Many of these products contain botanical-based ingredients like thymol that sound safe but that are actually known allergens.
Learn How to Sniff Out Toxic Ingredients
So what should you look for? First, look for specificity. Many manufacturers use vague terms that can hide all sorts of toxic ingredients. For example “fragrance” can actually mean a cocktail of undisclosed ingredients when even natural fragrances can cause allergic reactions. Other vague descriptions to watch for are “surfactants“, “cleaning agents” or “preservatives”, where the lack of specificity means you can’t easily research the ingredients yourself.
Botanical Doesn’t Mean It’s A Non Toxic Cleaner
When you do see specific natural or botanical ingredient, do your own research because many aren’t as safe as you think. For example, citrus and pine oil cleaners emit chemicals called terpenes that can form formaldehyde when they react with ozone in the air. Or some essential oils contain substances like eugenol and limonene which can trigger allergic reactions. An excellent resource for researching cleaning product health and environmental safety is the Environmental Working Group, which has a searchable database of products.
Remove the Guesswork
Or you can stop worrying about deciphering ingredient labels and instead try Force of Nature, which has zero harmful chemicals, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, allergens or irritants. Made with just salt, water and vinegar, it powers through grease, grime, soap scum & odors as effectively as top conventional brands but without the nasty chemicals you don’t want around your children & pets.