Why are Household Cleaners Toxic? And How are They Still Being Sold?
Cleaning chemicals and disinfectant products must go under extensive testing to analyze their safety and toxicity for human health and the environment. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under their investigative department Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), reveals a report on how some chemical companies—including those that produce chemicals found in cleaning and disinfectant products—successfully delay this critical assessment process while still manufacturing, distributing, and selling to grocery stores and retailers worldwide.
What does this mean for you, your health, and the future of the environment? This article explains what makes some household cleaning products toxic to your health and the earth and what keeps them on the store’s shelves regardless.
Are Cleaning Products Safe? Do they Contain Unregulated Chemicals?
Are the chemicals in everyday household cleaning products and disinfectant solutions safe for your health and the environment? For those containing chemicals that the EPA has not yet been able to assess formally, the answer is: we don’t really know.
The EPA released a report that discusses the many challenges they have faced to test the safety of some chemicals against potential risks to public health and the environment. Some chemical companies, including those who produce cleaning chemicals, have perpetually thwarted the EPA’s efforts playing what IRIS calls “the delay game”.
Unregulated Chemicals: A Cause for Concern
In the report, the EPA divulges that it has been common practice for some chemical companies to delay the IRIS assessment process for as long as possible to keep governments from regulating or restricting the use of their products. By attacking early drafts of IRIS assessments and requesting revision after revision after revision, they successfully add years, or even decades, to the process.
The delay game allows some cleaning and disinfectant chemical producers to pursue an “innocent until proven guilty” approach while manufacturing and selling unassessed chemicals. The report states that most of the 22,000 new chemicals approved for the market since 1976 have little or no data in terms of their effects on public health or the environment.
A Decade Later, the Delay Game is Still Being Played
To this date, the delay game is played. The original report has had no revisions or amendments since, which is symbolic of the fact that nothing has changed. Although the EPA has responded to the backlash by releasing a handbook on IRIS protocols, their transparency has had no measurable impact on their progress.
For example, in just November of 2021, the EPA released a telling document, "Fiscal Year 2022: Top Management Challenges", which reveals how IRIS assessments of formaldehyde have been delayed for 20+ years, and inorganic arsenic, 18+ years. Assessments of select food pesticides and their risks as endocrine disrupters have also been all but paused. Since 1998, the EPA has completed IRIS assessments on only 52 of the 10,000 chemical pesticides under scrutiny.
With a decade come and gone since the EPA originally released their delay game report, it seems perplexing that nothing has changed. Why are some chemical companies adamant about dodging assessments and postponing results for as long as they can? This unanswered question begs another: what is the chemical industry trying to hide?
Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO®) – More than Just a Safe Cleaning Product
As the world innovates and adapts to our ever-growing sustainability challenges—from inventing electric vehicles to serving meatless patties—consider looking inward rather than outward. Look under your kitchen sink, in your linen closet, your laundry room cupboards—what kinds of cleaning chemicals and disinfectant products do you keep nearby? How can we fix the current state of our atmosphere, which chemicals have now polluted beyond safe levels? How do we protect ourselves from potential harms we aren’t yet aware of?
At Tersano, we believe that Stabilized Aqueous Ozone (SAO) is one of the links in the chain of events that will make the environment sustainable once again. Boasting an SDS of 0-0-0, SAO contains only water and oxygen, elements that are entirely natural and safe for your health and the planet. Aside from being a non toxic cleaning product, one of the following greatest things about SAO is that, regardless of its gentle nature, it’s an extremely powerful cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing agent with the ability to kill up to 99.999% of germs.
You don’t have to sacrifice effectiveness for sustainability or vice versa. With SAO, you can have it all. Learn more about Stabilized Aqueous Ozone here and how you can start cleaning your home or business with science instead of toxic chemicals today.
Carrington, D. (2022, January 18). Chemical pollution has passed safe limit for
humanity, say scientists. The Guardian.
Sass, J, and D. Rosenberg (2011, October). The delay game: how the chemical
industry ducks regulation of the most toxic substances. National Resource
Defense Council. https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/IrisDelayReport.pdf