Chemical safety! Know your chemicals

Chemical safety! Know your chemicals

The following is a list of some dangerous chemicals that can be found in MANY household cleaning products. Always read labels carefully – and more importantly, understand what these chemicals are. Always use eco-friendly alternatives where you can, as it will protect the health of you and your family.

Acetone – is a neurotoxin that can contribute to liver and kidney damage. It is irritating to both the eyes and skin.  Found in spot treatment cleaners, scuff and mark removers, and many other products. Be sure to wear gloves and do let the product come in contact with skin.

Aerosol products– Aerosol products can contain nitrous oxide, propane, formaldehyde (a neurotoxin and known carcinogen) and methylene chloride (also a known carcinogen,  neurotoxin and also a reproductive toxin). Because these products are aerosol, the spray is broken down into small particles – meaning it is easy to breathe them in deeper, and can cause greater damage. Avoid using aerosol sprays altogether, if possible.

Ammonia – Causes irritation to eyes and all mucous membranes. Effects are things such as: breathing difficulty, wheezing, skin burns, and chest pains

Diethanolamine (DEA) – This chemical is a suspected carcinogen. It is a chemical that causes severe skin and eye irritation, and contributes to respiratory damage. It is used in a wide variety of household cleaning products, so read ingredient lists carefully and wear proper protection if the product is necessary to use.

Fragrance – When listed in ingredients, “fragrance” covers nearly 4,000 different ingredients, which can be toxic to humans and animals, but are legally protected as many are considered “trade secrets”. Many are proven to be carcinogens. These chemicals are known irritants to skin, eyes, and the respiratory system – often triggering asthma attacks, and can cause kidney, liver, and brain damage.

Methylene chloride – Used in paint strippers and stain removers, methylene chloride is a known carcinogen. Inhalation of this chemical can cause heart attacks, liver and brain damage. It is a severe skin irritant, and a moderate eye irritant. Do not inhale products that contain this chemical. Always wear proper equipment when using.

Silica – Made from finely ground quartz, silica is a known carcinogen. It is a fine respirable dust that causes severe respiratory distress. Silica is found in many abrasive cleansers often used around the home.

Turpentine – This chemical causes kidney, bladder and central nervous system damage, as well as allergy sensitization. It is also a severe eye irritant.  Found in many types of solvent cleaners, furniture polish and shoe products.


  1. 8:42 pm-December 7, 2012
    Tomas Bright

    So many things to know. My general rule is just to avoid chemicals as much as possible, but it’s not always that easy!

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