than any other product or chemical on the market or in your pantry
for humans, pets, and the environment than any “green”, eco-friendly, or natural product
than every Green Seal-approved product and every all-natural solution available
Safe (adj.) /seıf/ - free from risk; harmless, riskless
The most common objections we hear after presenting the science of chemical free cleaning is that if it was good enough for my grandmother and my mother, then it's good enough for me. We cringe every time we hear of a new mother "hosing" the house down in bleach in preparation for bringing home her new baby or after the back-to-school germs have made their rounds in the house.
But here's what you may not realize about bleach:
In short, bleach is VERY DANGEROUS...not just for your kids but for you and for the future generations yet to be born!
While bleach is still available in its fully toxic form, many other products have reduced the toxicity level to a 1 on the EPA Health Hazard scale of 1-4. Others report "not applicable" lest they give away their formula proportions, not at all helpful in determining if a product is safe for you or your child.
You want to be sure that everything you use in your home is safe...for you, for your children, for your pets, for your friends...even for the environment. So what is "safe?"
Well, that's a good question. In the many years that we have been working through the "green" movement and into the chemical free age, we don't have an answer. The Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of the National Toxicity Program, which maintains a list of the tested toxicity of each and every chemical allowed in the legal production of specific products. But so far, there is no clear set of criteria for "safe" when it comes to these chemicals.
You can find guidelines, but most are filled with scientific jargon that doesn't translate to the information on the back of the bottle at the store:
- avoid VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
- avoid phosphates (should be less than 0.5% of total solution)
- avoid products with petroleum and derivatives; look for vegetable oil based surfactants
- choose products with a neutral pH
And the list goes on.
First, there are over 86,000 different chemicals registered with the EPA and the NTP. You've memorized them, right?
Second, the makers of your cleaners are not required or expected by any law to tell you what's in the bottle. Oh, sure, you can go to the Household Products Database and review the Material Safety Data Sheet for every household product legally sold in the United States. You'll need to brush up on your chemistry and your poison control notes first to help you wade through the technical jargon.
So what's the SAFER solution?
"Going green" or "going natural" is a common response, but but "going green" isn't necessarily the answer either. Just because a solution is "green" or "natural" doesn't mean its any less POISONOUS to people and especially pets.
Green-wash (green’wash’, -wôsh’) – verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
#3 Sin of Vagueness further illustrates that just because an ingredient or chemical is “natural” and occurs in nature doesn’t mean that it is safe for people, pets, our furniture and floors, or the environment.
Some examples of all-natural or green chemicals…some even food grade…that are NOT safe are:
Baking Soda: WHAT!? Baking soda? We just used this to make cookies last night, right? Don't worry, baking soda isn't toxic to humans (except in rare cases) but is highly toxic to your dog, cat, or especially a smaller pet. Unless you are prepared to rinse your baking soda cleaning paste multiple times, don't risk poisoning your pet.
Formaldehyde: formaldehyde is a perfectly natural gas that occurs regularly in nature; it is not the product of a mad science experiment and is clear proof that not everything "natural" is safe. You may associate formaldehyde with embalming and mummies, but it also permeates your home through your carpet, your paint, your drywall, your manufactured furniture, your new clothing, and more.
Orange Oil: you may be familiar with several popular products based on orange oil or other citrus oils such as lemon and lime, but did you know that on a hazard scale of 1-4, citrus oils rate a 2. According to the EPA-registered Material Safety Data Sheet for Sweet Orange Oil, orange oil is"hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant). Slightly hazardous in case of skin contact (permeator), of ingestion, of inhalation."
Vinegar: you can find page after page on the internet claiming as fact that vinegar will disinfect your home, killing the nastiest bacteria such as e. coli, staph, MRSA, and more. But the fact is, to date, there are no scientific studies to show that vinegar is a disinfectant comparable to, say, bleach.Click here to check out the comments of several scientists in the US on the disinfecting abilities of vinegar. Oh, by the way, vinegar will burn the nasal membrane of your dog's or cat's nose...and we mean BURN, sometimes so badly that the pet loses its sense of smell.