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Given the numerous scares Americans have experienced in many products they previously thought were safe, a new report, which focuses on household cleaning products, reveals that a product can be made in the USA, but still have “hidden ingredients” many of which pose risks to human health.

The new report, “Household Hazards: Potential Hazards of Home Cleaning Products,” which was released on July 24, 2007, reveals the links between chemicals used in household cleaning products and human health, including the most recent information on two particularly serious health concerns—asthma and reproductive harm (including low birth weight, decreases in fertility and reproductive abnormalities). These conditions are of particular interest to women and children, who are more likely to be exposed to these chemicals, whether they are cleaning or crawling on the floor.

The report draws its information from over 75 reports and scientific studies, and exposes a valid reason for concern about the ingredients in these products. The report contains a list of the products that contain these chemicals of concern is included (see below) and a number of steps people can take to reduce toxic exposure. Major manufacturers of these cleaning products such as Proctor & Gamble, SC Johnson and Sunshine Makers (Simple Green) were asked by the authors of the report, Women’s Voices for the Earth, a national women’s health group, to list these particularly harmful chemicals on their product labels. The companies had until July 13th to respond, and by that date, none responded.

This report offers many surprising facts that raise a red flag for American consumers. For example, one study points to evidence that frequent use of certain chemicals in household products is associated with persistent wheezing among pre-school children. Other recent studies have shown that exposure to household cleaning chemicals increases the likelihood of asthma among children. An estimated 9 million children (12.5% of children) aged 18 or less living in the U.S. have had asthma diagnosed at some time in their lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control, asthma is the most common serious chronic childhood disease.

As American consumers are increasingly on guard about the safety of the products they buy, more and more are finding alternatives to cleaning products containing harsh chemicals. The problem is many companies fail to disclose information on chemicals that could pose a health risk to pregnant or nursing women and children with asthma on their product labels because there are no legal requirements to do so. In fact, the identification of some ingredients in household cleaning products is protected by trade secret laws. For example, it is common to label “phthalates”, a chemical compound linked to liver and kidney damage, reproductive abnormalities and even obesity, as simply “fragrance.”

For a look at the list of products and the companies who make them, CLICK HERE

The report also offers several suggestions to reduce chemical exposure in the home, and these are available through the report author’s website, / Issue 104 - September 5578
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