Toxic Cleaning Chemicals to Watch Out For

Due to rising awareness of the all of the toxic (and potentially carcinogenic) chemicals that are in household cleaning products, green cleaning has become increasingly more popular over the last several years. Many have adopted green cleaning practices at home to protect the health and wellbeing of their kids and pets, which has caused an explosion in the residential green cleaning industry. Nowadays, you can buy eco-friendly cleaning products right off the shelf at your local supermarket, or easily hire a home cleaning service that only uses natural cleaning solutions. Our homes are becoming safer and greener, which is a positive trend that we are very proud of.

But what about the cleaning products and practices that are used at your office building, workplace, or place of business? It’s just as important to go green at work as it is to go green at home. The health and wellbeing of employees is something everyone should value, not to mention engaging in sustainable and environmentally responsible business practices.

The list below includes some of the most common toxic chemicals that are found in both household and commercial cleaning products:

– Phenol/Carbolic Acid (most commonly found in disinfectants): Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is a hazardous air pollutant. It can also severely irritate the eyes and burn skin upon contact. When inhaled, phenol is highly corrosive and attacks the central nervous system, heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.

– Formaldehyde (most commonly found in mold and mildew cleaners): Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic chemical, air pollutant, and irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucus membranes. Household cleaners that contain formaldehyde contaminate our “ambient air” and cause symptoms such as severe nausea and headaches, nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, and memory loss. Inhaling formaldehyde can also increase your risk for nasopharyngeal and lung cancers. 

– Ammonia (most commonly found in glass cleaning products): Ammonia can cause severe irritation to the eyes and skin upon contact and can also cause damage to the respiratory and digestive tracts upon inhalation. Ammonia is especially poisonous to aquatic animals (including fish, marine mammals, and amphibians), and has fatal consequences when it is released into our waters and ecosystem.

– Phosphates (found in most general cleaning products): One of the largest culprits behind ocean pollution is phosphates, which are responsible for algae overgrowth and the subsequent depletion of oxygen in our oceans, rivers, and streams. Ultimately, high phosphate levels are fatal and create an unlivable environment for both aquatic wildlife and plant life. When it comes to human exposure to phosphates in cleaning products, symptoms such as nasal and throat irritation as well as skin rashes are not unusual.

We know it is intense and a bit frightening to learn of what’s really in that smelly cleaning solution that is used to wipe down your desk each week, or what dangerous VOCs you are breathing in at the office all day… Yikes! But knowing these facts about toxic chemical exposure is necessary in order to protect our health, reduce our overall environmental impact, and make our facilities and professional workplaces healthier, safer, and better places for all!

For more information on how to integrate green cleaning practices into your office’s, business’, or facility’s professional cleaning routine, contact GBS today!





Speak Your Mind