Don't you just love how it says "Non-Toxic" right on the label?

Don’t you just love how it says “Non-Toxic” right on the label?

Like millions of other moms out there, I felt happy and proud spending the extra few dollars for “non-toxic” cleaning products like Simple Green. I thought I was taking good care of my family by using a “natural” cleaner that was safe.

If only that were true.

After suffering for what seemed forever from mysterious symptoms (headache, sleeplessness, weird digestion) that I had chalked up to allergies, my doctor and I were both at a loss and I started researching in earnest to see what I could find on my own.

Google the term “indoor pollution” and it will startle your socks off. One page I ran across during my research contained the statistic published by the Toronto Indoor Air Conference (from 1990!!!), stating that women who work from home have a 54% increased risk of DEATH from cancer (not just developing cancer, dying from cancer!) than people who work elsewhere, in large part due to cleaning products used in the home. Yikes. I started looking into the cleaners I was using and researching the ingredients – including the “safe” ones.

Boy was I surprised when I saw that Simple Green’s All Purpose Cleaner had scored an “F” on the Environmental Working Group’s rating card, and that most of their other products hadn’t fared much better.

Simple Green is just one of the countless cleaning brands that contain the chemical 2-Butoxyethanol, or EGBE. This substance is listed as a hazardous substance in the state of California, and is under scrutiny by several countries such as Canada, who is actively lobbying to have it included on the environmental hazard list.

It’s considered “safe” by the United States EPA, which regulates such things; in fact, so safe that they don’t even require companies to list it in their ingredients. However, studies have shown EGBE to cause severe reproductive problems in animals and cancer in rats. Humans who have been exposed to the chemical have reported nose and eye irritation, headaches, nausea, vomiting and a metallic taste in their mouth.

The California Air Resources Board did a scientific study and found that common products containing EGBE could be exposing people to levels 12 times greater than California’s one-hour exposure guideline. 

And that’s not all. There’s also concern over the preservatives used in Simple Green, the fragrances, the Tetrapotassium Pyrophosphate, the Alcohol Ethoxylate

Doesn’t sound simple OR green, does it?

It’s depressing to think how I was duped by the label. I really felt like a company that staked its reputation on the word GREEN would use ingredients that were natural and harmless.

The good news is that it’s EASY to change! We are not stuck – at all! The day I found out about the harm these ingredients could cause to my  own body and my family, I threw away my commercial cleaners. I went to the grocery store and bought a huge box of baking soda and a massive jug of vinegar and proceeded to scrub my house from top to bottom. The funny thing was, it cost less than a single bottle of Simple Green – and my kitchen and bathroom came out a heck of a lot cleaner.

Natural cleaning techniques are not only better for your family’s health, they cost less!

Happy Cleaning :)



Here’s a longer article about EGBE