Cleaning products such as all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners or air fresheners can release hundreds of harmful compounds. This emerges from a study conducted by scientists from the Environmental Working Group and published in the journal Chemosphere.
During the study, the authors found 530 volatile organic compounds in three dozen cleaning products. Of these, almost 40% identified them as potentially harmful to health. In particular, they were harmful to the respiratory system, had an increased risk of cancer and impaired development and reproduction.
Products labeled “green” emit on average 50% less volatile organic compounds than conventional products. In addition, “fragrance-free” caused the lowest emissions. More precisely, almost eight times less than conventional and four times less than organic products whose label contained perfume. Likewise, the latter emitted four hazardous chemical substances, compared to 22 transmitted by conventional substances.
These types of compounds affect air quality. In addition, they pollute two to five times more indoors than outdoors. In fact, some products release these types of substances for days, weeks and even months.
“This study is a wake-up call for consumers, researchers and regulators to become more aware of the potential risks associated with the many chemicals released into indoor air,” said Alexis Temkin, senior toxicologist at the Environmental Working Group.
On the other hand, other research suggests that people who work in the cleaning industry have a 50% higher risk of developing asthma and a 43% higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They also have a higher risk of developing lung cancer, especially women.
The children’s health could also be at risk. Experts say increased use of certain cleaning products indoors while the fetus is in the womb and in infancy is linked to an increased risk of asthma and wheezing.