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A peer-reviewed study conducted by Environmental Working Group scientists, recently published in Chemosphere, has uncovered alarming evidence of the potential health risks posed by everyday household cleaning products.
The research team tested thirty such products, including multipurpose and glass cleaners as well as air fresheners; a total of 530 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in these items, 193 of which have been identified as hazardous.
These substances can cause respiratory system damage, increased cancer risk, and developmental/reproductive impacts.
“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,” said Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., a senior toxicologist at EWG.
The research concluded that, on average, products labeled as “green” emitted approximately half the number of VOCs compared to conventional products.
Moreover, the green products classified as “fragrance free” had the lowest emission rate of all—nearly eight times fewer than conventional and four times fewer than green products containing fragrance.
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The data indicates that green products, on average, emitted just four chemicals classified as hazardous in comparison to approximately 15 for those with fragrance and 22 for conventional products.
Therefore, it can be prudent for consumers concerned about indoor air quality and potential health risks to select green or fragrance-free cleaning products.
The health harms posed by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are of particular concern due to the potential for many Americans to be exposed to them in their place of work.
Studies indicate that those employed in the cleaning industry have a 50% higher chance of developing asthma, as well as 43% more likely to suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Moreover, women working in this field may also encounter an elevated risk of lung cancer.
Studies have demonstrated that an increased use of certain indoor cleaners during pregnancy and infancy may lead to an elevated risk of asthma and wheezing in childhood, posing a threat to the health of children.
The findings of the study…