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Health and environmental hazards of synthetic cleaning products

Synthetic Cleaning Products use chemicals that are not just toxic if we accidentally eat or drink them. The volatile organic chemicals (VOC’s) contained in the products enter our indoor air and lungs as we use them, and many other ingredients are easily absorbed by the skin. 

They also indirectly affect our long-term health when they pollute our water ways. Increasingly these chemical compounds are being associated with allergies and other common diseases that are growing in society.

The increased use of chemical cleaning products has placed a significant burden on the environment in terms of waste water loading and subsequent treatment, the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), resource consumption and disposal of packaging materials.

The major active components in general purpose cleaners are:
• surfactants
• builders
• solvents
• chlorine, bleaches and compounds
• synthetic fragrances
• phosphates
• ammonia

These components contribute too many environmental and health effects.
For example:
• They are heavily polluting in their production
• They can cause allergic reactions and worsen asthma
• They can irritate skin, lungs, sinuses, eyes and throats (they may even damage them)
• They biodegrade slowly and incompletely
• They can cause brain damage at high doses and be addictive
• They have been linked to infertility and miscarriages
• They contribute to air pollution and smog