(NaturalNews) Consumer cleaning products like laundry detergents, all-purpose sprays, dish soaps, and scrub sponges often smell like pleasant things found in nature, but their ingredients typically tell a different story. According to a new study out of the University of Washington (UW), many scented cleaning products contain mystery chemicals not listed on their labels that are toxic to health — including even some "green" products.
"We analyzed best-selling products, and about half of them made some claim about being green, natural, or organic," explained Ann Steinemann, professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs at UW, and author of the study. "Surprisingly, the green products' emissions of hazardous chemicals were not significantly different from other products."
Consumer cleaning products are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, so companies that manufacture them are not required to disclose their ingredients. Many products simply list "fragrance" as an ingredient, even though a "fragrance" can contain a cocktail of hundreds of different chemicals. And according to the study, more than 33 percent of products tested emitted at least one hazardous chemical recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable carcinogen.
As far as cleaning supplies go, a simple vinegar and baking soda solution is a safe and natural alternative to chemical supplies; it is both inexpensive and highly effective. Avoiding products that contain "fragrance" ingredients is also recommended.