Do you know that the cleaning products you use in your home, including those labeled as “green,” may have a harmful impact on your health? This shocking revelation comes from a recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy organization. The study, published in the journal Chemosphere, reveals that everyday products can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have adverse health effects.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs are emitted by thousands of products, such as cleaners, paints, building materials, office equipment, and cosmetics. The EWG’s study analyzed 30 cleaning products and detected a total of 530 unique VOCs. Of these, 193 were classified as hazardous based on regulatory guidelines.
The study found that even “green” products emitted VOCs, albeit at lower levels compared to conventional products. The researchers did not name specific brands but defined “green” products as those advertised as healthier, non-toxic, and free from harmful chemicals. The study emphasizes the need for consumers, researchers, and regulators to be more aware of the potential risks associated with these chemicals.
Alexis Temkin, a senior toxicologist at EWG, stated, “This study is a wake-up call for consumers, researchers, and regulators to be more aware of the potential risks associated with the numerous chemicals entering our indoor air.” Temkin recommends choosing products that are both “green” and “fragrance-free” to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals.
The American Lung Association suggests improving indoor ventilation when using products with VOCs. In response to the study, the trade group American Cleaning Institute highlighted the efforts made by manufacturers to minimize VOC concentrations in consumer products over the past decades.
It is important to note that the authors’ classification of products as “conventional” or “green” has been questioned by the trade group. Nevertheless, ensuring the proper use of cleaning products is essential for public health and quality of life, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
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