6 Harmful Chemicals in Your Commercial All-Purpose Cleaner

All-Purpose Cleaner Chemicals

When we grab for our all-purpose cleaner to clean up a mess, most of us never consider that the chemicals in the spray may be causing more harm than good. Conventional all-purpose cleaners may get rid of the mess, but they leave behind toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health and the environment.

Conventional cleaners fail to get the job done without harm

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) routinely evaluates and rates cleaning products. Its analysis of hundreds of all-purpose cleaners found that more than 60 percent of them earn a D or F rating—yikes!

Cleaning product companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their products because the government considers chemical compounds trade secrets. Some companies disclose a limited list of ingredients, while others make it impossible to find data on their products.

Six of the worst offenders

The EWG’s latest analysis found 75 percent of cleaning products contained chemicals that cause respiratory irritation and distress. All-purpose sprays were the major offenders of this group. Other products contained chemicals linked to cancer.

Here’s a list of the most common harmful chemicals in your conventional cleaning products.

Benzene Exposure to benzene can cause dizziness, irregular heartbeat, eye and skin irritation, and a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia.
Disinfectants Ethanolamine and quaternary ammonium compounds are common disinfectants and can trigger and even cause new cases of asthma.
Formaldehyde A common chemical in cleaners and detergents, formaldehyde is linked to cancer, irritation of the eyes, nose, and skin, asthma, and COPD.
Fragrance Chemically, the word “fragrance” in an ingredient list can mean anything. Studies have linked fragrances to allergies, immune system effects, and respiratory irritation.
Solvents The solvent 2-butoxyethanol is an ingredient found in all-purpose sprays, including some “green” sprays, and can cause damage to red blood cells and eye irritation.
Surfactants Alcohol ethoxylate surfactants are banned in the EU for their poor health effects, but not in the United States.

 

A better choice for a greener clean

Fortunately, you have better options for an all-purpose cleaner. Environmentally friendly, all-natural sprays powerfully clean up your worst messes without hazardous chemicals. My Earth’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner uses thymol and citric acid, two plant-derived, all-natural ingredients that will wipe out your mess without making you and your employees sick.

To learn more about the hazardous chemicals in your commercial cleaner or to switch to a greener clean, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Sources:

EWG All-Purpose Cleaners

EWG Spring 2016 Update

Organic Authority

4 of Your Favorite Restaurant Cleaners Revealed … and 4 Healthier, Greener Cleaning Alternatives

Restaurant cleanersCleaning products touch every surface of your restaurant, including the plates, glasses, and flatware you serve food on. It’s important that the products you use don’t pose health hazards to you, your guests, and your employees.

We’ve been trained by the cleaning product industry that effective cleaning is only possible with harsh chemicals. It simply isn’t true. Many powerful commercial cleaning products on the market today are derived from natural ingredients. They’re also cost-effective. Here are four of your favorite restaurant cleaners and four healthier, greener alternatives to consider.

  1. All-Purpose Cleaner

Crumbs, spills, grime, dirt: Your all-purpose cleaner handles it all. But if there’s bleach in your cleaner, it could be doing more harm than good. Sodium hypochlorite is a popular form of bleach. It gets an F rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for its effects on human health and the environment. Sodium hypochlorite can trigger asthma in sensitive people and is highly irritating to the skin and eyes. It’s found in many products, including Lysol Professional All-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach.

The active ingredients in natural all-purpose cleaners are derived from plants. Citric acid, for example, is derived from citrus fruits. Thymol, another disinfectant, comes from the thyme plant. Earth’s Natural All-Purpose Cleaner’s active ingredients are citric acid and thymol.

  1. Dishwashing Detergent

When you serve food, you get dirty dishes. Lots of them. They’re handled by your chefs, servers, guests, and dishwashers. With dishes passing through so many hands, it’s vitally important that your dishwashing detergent be effective and non-hazardous.

Antibacterial properties and a pleasing odor may be at the top of your list when shopping for dishwashing detergent. The popular antibacterial chemical, triclosan, is a known health and environmental hazard. It’s found in many dishwashing detergents, including Joy Ultra, which gets a D rating from EWG. Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their fragrances, many of which are harmful.

Not all effective detergents contain triclosan and other harmful chemicals, though. BioKleen Dish Liquid receives an A rating from EWG. Its all-natural ingredients pose a low health risk to humans and are easy on the environment, too.

  1. Floor & Surface Cleaner

Often, restaurants use separate, tough-acting cleaners to disinfect and sanitize floors and surfaces. Tough-acting is often marketing code for hazardous. Clorox Disinfecting Floor & Surface Cleaner’s known ingredients, for example, are both D-rated with EWG, giving the product a D rating overall. Both known ingredients cause respiratory irritation.

Healthy floor and surface cleaners contain natural—often plant-derived—ingredients to powerfully clean your floors and surfaces. Instead of Clorox, try Earth’s Natural All-Clean.

  1. Degreaser

Let’s face it—when you cook, things get greasy. Degreasers clean grill hoods, grease traps, and slimy, greasy areas around the stove and griddle with powerful solvents.

Conventional degreasers contain one or more hazardous chemicals. Despite its name, Simple Green Heavy Duty Cleaner and Degreaser isn’t so green. It gets an F rating from EWG, mostly due to the didecyldimethylammonium chloride, which causes moderate to severe skin irritation.

Fortunately, safe, natural ingredients can also powerfully dissolve grease and grime. Earth’s Natural Sewer Degreaser contains limonene, which naturally occurs in the rinds of citrus fruits.

You don’t need to bring out the haz-mat suits to effectively clean your restaurant. To learn more about your all-natural, healthy, and environmentally friendly options, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

The Straight Dope on Flea and Tick Treatments

Paco Approves of Natural Flea and Tick Treatments

All Life’s Pure Balance products are Paco Approved.

When it comes to flea and tick prevention for your pet, your options seem endless. You can find treatments at the vet, pet supply store, Target, the grocery store, and virtually any other store selling pet supplies.

But just because flea and tick treatments are readily available does not mean they’re safe for your pet—or for you. Flea and tick treatments are evaluated by the EPA, not the FDA, and have only been tested for safety since 1996. Treatments do not need to undergo field tests to be sold in the United States.

What’s in Flea and Tick Prevention Treatments?

Flea and tick treatments are insecticides that kill fleas and ticks. Each name-brand treatment has a different active ingredient. Some spot-on treatments, which are applied along the spine of your pet, contain pyrethroids. They are responsible for more than half of all major reactions to pesticides in pets and cannot be used on cats. These reactions may result in seizures, heart attacks, and brain damage.

Other spot-on treatments contain fipronil, a synthetic chemical that causes paralysis in fleas and ticks, or selamectin, which blocks the nerve signals of fleas and ticks. Imidacloprid is not effective against ticks, but is found in some treatments for fleas.

Tips for Applying Flea and Tick Treatments

Though generally thought to be safe when used as directed, these powerful chemicals can be harmful to you and your pets if misapplied. Read all of the instructions in the treatments and strictly follow them. Never use a dog treatment on a cat, or a cat treatment on a dog. Certain chemicals that are safe for dogs may be harmful to cats, and vice versa.

Know your pet’s weight and choose a product that is suitable for him or her. Don’t split the dose for a large dog in half for two small dogs. Never use the treatments on pregnant or elderly animals.

After applying the treatment, watch your pet for signs of poisoning, including dilated pupils, vomiting, tremors, salivating, shivering, hiding, and skin irritation.

Consider Natural Flea and Tick Treatments

Of course, the easiest way to avoid harm from these products is to purchase all-natural treatments instead. Linalool and d-limonene are derived from citrus fruits and can disrupt the nervous systems of insects. Shampoos containing d-limonene, oatmeal, and essential oils like peppermint, cedar, and cloves gently and effectively wash away fleas and ticks. They also leave your pet smelling and feeling clean and fresh.

Read up on flea and tick treatments before you apply one to your pet. For more information on safe and effective flea and tick treatments, contact me today!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Workplace Indoor Air Quality: Is It Time to Get Fresh at Work?

Are cleaning chemicals polluting the air at your workplace?With the high pollen count we Minnesotans are experiencing, outdoor air quality is likely at the top of your mind. Itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose are signs the air contains irritants. Many seasonal allergy sufferers find relief once they get inside.

But for many people, allergy symptoms arise once they walk through their workplace doors. The quality of indoor air can have similar and even more severe health effects than outdoor air.

An Urgent Environmental Risk

If you’re like most business owners, you spend at least 40 hours a week inside your office, studio, showroom, gym, and other workspace. That adds up to 2,000 hours a year—if you’re lucky enough to get two weeks of vacation.

With so many hours spent indoors at work, you want the air you breathe there to be healthy. But the EPA considers indoor air quality one of the “most urgent” risks to your health. Many factors contribute to the quality of the air inside a commercial building, including:

  • the general design and maintenance of the building
  • the maintenance of the HVAC system
  • poor quality of re-circulated air
  • the variety of activities that occur within the building
  • overcrowding
  • moisture
  • radon
  • outside air pollutants making their way inside
  • chemicals in conventional cleaning and disinfecting supplies, including aerosols

When just one of these factors reduces the quality of the air in your workplace, you can start to experience health effects. Symptoms of poor indoor air quality mimic those of the common cold, stress, flu, and allergies. The difference, however, is that the symptoms go away once you leave work.

Maintaining Good Indoor Air Quality

Unless you own your commercial building, improving some of these factors may be out of your hands. However, there are things you and your employees can do to ensure the air you all breathe is healthy. The first step is to test the air quality with a DIY testing kit. It will identify the pollutants in your air so you can make a plan to improve it.

If you’re using conventional commercial cleaning supplies, your air likely contains all the toxins and chemicals found in those cleaners. Simply replacing these cleaners with non-toxic, natural choices will eliminate these pollutants from your air.

If you feel sick every time you’re at the office, you’re not allergic to work. The quality of the air is affecting your health. To learn more about how to improve the quality of the air at your workplace, contact me today.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

Achoo! Seasonal Allergies Have Arrived: Keep Your Sinuses Clear and Air Fresh with These Tips

Don't let spring allergies slow you down!Minnesotans usually welcome spring with open arms. But for many, spring blooms also bring seasonal allergies. Before you reach for the over-the-counter medications, consider these natural ways to combat your seasonal allergies.

Why Do I Get Allergies?

Seasonal allergies kick into high gear when trees, shrubs, grasses, and weeds start to bloom and produce pollen. Pollen travels through the air and is brought into your home on your pets and shoes. It irritates the lining of your sinuses, eyes, and throat and causes your body to produce histamine.

Histamine causes your immune system to kick into high gear and produce the watery eyes, runny nose, and scratchy throat you associate with allergies. In people with asthma, the effects of histamine may make asthma symptoms worse.

Natural Allergy Relief

Seasonal allergies are no fun, but there are ways to get relief without visiting the pharmacy. Prevention is the first line of defense. Make your home a pollen-free zone by keeping windows and doors closed and replacing your furnace filter regularly. Use a DIY air quality testing kit to measure the amount of pollen in your home’s air.

You can also make small changes to your diet to help prevent or reduce allergy symptoms. Load up on dark leafy greens, yellow and orange vegetables, and onions and garlic. Avoid alcohol, dairy, bananas, cucumbers, and citrus fruits as these foods can make your symptoms worse.

If your nose is already runny, try a saline rinse. The saline will clear out your nose and give you some relief. Consider making an appointment with your acupuncturist, since acupuncture is a known treatment for allergy symptoms.

Before heading outdoors, check the pollen forecast for your area. You can search by city or zip and get an idea of when pollen counts will be low or high so you can plan your outdoor activities.

If seasonal allergies make you want to go back into winter hibernation, contact me. I can help you measure the pollen in your home’s indoor air and find natural remedies for allergy symptoms.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance