Organic detergents: the best choice for health and the planet

In every home, there are usually a significant number of cleaning chemicals. But, have you have you ever thought what the consequences are and how they can affect the health of your family? We buy these products to fight germs, stains and odours and keep our homes clean. However, some common household cleaning products contain chemicals that can harm human health and the environment.

We are all familiar with the hazard symbols that appear in some cleaning products, along with the word "poison", "irritant" or "corrosive". These hazard symbols warn consumers about the serious health risks associated with a single or short-term exposure to the chemical product. In fact, the National Institute for Safety and Health at Work  (NTP 521) warns about the release of toxic chemicals by cleaning products.

But there is no requirement in Spain or Europe for manufacturers to warn consumers about the health risks associated with long-term exposure to the chemical ingredients of household cleaning products. Thus, most of us are exposed to cleaning products and their waste every day, month after month, year after year...

 

The danger of toxics for pregnant women and children

detergente-ecologico

Children are especially susceptible to the effects of toxic substances because they accumulate them in their body and are more sensitive to them. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (Centers of Disease Control Prevention) warns that the number of American children and adolescents suffering from skin allergies quadrupled in less than ten years, from 2 million cases in 2001 to 9 million in 2010. Also, in 2010 also accounted about 12.6 million children and adolescents suffering from respiratory allergies in 2008, almost three times more than in 2001. 

Moreover, the pregnancy it is a period during which very low levels of contaminants may result in very various alterations and problems.

 

How do toxic detergents affect us?

First of all, they can affect people directly after use. When we use these chemicals to clean our house, they remain there and in the air we breathe. The chemical ingredients of cleaning products can also enter our body by skin absorption or by ingestion of dust and detritus in dishes and cutlery. 

Second, their use causes very worrying environmental consequences. When cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they generate a serious impact on aquatic ecosystems. They unnecessarily pollute our rivers and seas: that is, the water we drink and irrigate our fields and the seas where we capture the fish we eat.

US researchers identified 133 unique volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from a small sample of consumer products, including six cleaning products. Each product in the research released between one and eight chemicals classified as dangerous toxic according to US laws.

 

Why use an organic detergent?

There are numerous reasons to use only organic household cleaners (as long as they are certified!). On the one hand, manufacturers are not required by law to list the specific ingredients on labels, making it difficult for consumers to know the true ingredients of their cleaning products. However, the ecological certifiers require labels detailing each ingredient.

While European law does not limit the origin of raw materials and, consequently, manufacturers rely primarily on petroleum derivatives, organic certifiers, require that the raw materials are renewable. This way, they don't use the petroleum derivative known as Linear Alkylbenzene Sulphonate, and they also biodegrade better and are less toxic to the environment.

Thus, the organic cleaners use entirely plant-based detergent substances, and only use natural scents, also refusing other common ingredients in detergents such as optical bleachers.

In conclusion, ecological detergents are much less harmful to human health and do not constitute a threat to the environment.

 detergentes-ecologicos-sin toxicos

 

You will find more information about the toxicity of detergents here:

The Environmental Working Group (English)

 

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