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Simon Hahessy Says:
Continuing with our blog series of identifying harmful ingredients in common household cleaning products, the ingredient ethylene glycol monobutyl ether commonly found in all purpose surface cleaners is examined.
The name alone causes me concern especially when I tell you that this HIGHLY TOXIC SYNTHETIC SOLVENT is found in a wide range of all surface cleaners available on the market today.
What is the rationale behind putting a chemical solvent like this in cleaning products used to clean kitchen countertops and sinks? Is it to kill bacteria and viruses because if it is I am here to tell you that something as toxic as this is not required to kill bacteria and viruses. There are other green cleaning products that are safer containing natural ingredients that are as effective.
Health effects associated with exposures to ethylene glycol monobutyl ether include irritation of the mucous membranes and liver damage. Readily absorbed through the skin it is classified as a neurotoxin.
Exposure to this solvent as part of cleaning products ingredients is unlikely to have an immediate neurotoxic effect but it may overtime and repeated exposures to this chemical are not recommended and unnecessary.
Immediate effects to products containing this chemical include irritation to the mucous membrane. The mucous membrane includes all body cavities with openings to the outside. The moist layer of tissue lining the digestive, respiratory, urinary and reproductive tracts are considered the mucous membrane.
Although it is important to clean down surfaces in our environment to control the numbers of bacteria we are exposed to, there are other alternatives to strong chemical based surface cleaners like green cleaning natural based cleaners with germicidal properties.
Our efforts for living in a healthy indoor environment should include joining a community like AirMD’s to obtain the necessary information to live healthier, as well as having periodic evaluations of your living space completed. Together we can keep our families safe.