Here’s a case of ‘what you don’t know can hurt you’. For years we have used bathroom and tile cleaners without giving them much thought. If they did the job we were happy.
It turns out, however, that we have been ignoring some potentially dangerous effects caused by the toxic chemicals used in these products. These chemicals are detrimental to our personal health and to the health of the environment.
Not only are we effected while using these products but afterwards when the residue mixes with shower steam it creates a gas chamber of harmful vapors.
Adding to this problem is the fact that manufacturers are not required to list the contents of their products leaving consumers unaware of the dangers they pose.
For instance, you probably have seen products that claim to have a feature called ‘scrubbing bubbles’. These cleaners contain a sudsing agent called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which can penetrate the skin causing irritation and clearing a way for the absorption of other chemical irritants. Other bathroom cleaners often contain glycol ethers, such as diethylene glycol and monobutyl ether. Both of these industrial solvents can cause central nervous system depression and can irritate the skin, eyes and nose.
Another source of toxic chemicals are the tile and grout cleaners. Two of the common ingredients in these types of products are glycol ether and a caustic chemical known as monoethanolamine (MEA). If MEA is inhaled it may trigger asthma and cause liver damage and chronic hepatitis. There are other caustic ingredients as well including hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid and lye. All of these chemicals can cause severe burns on the skin and the fumes can burn the throat and lungs.
Toilet bowl cleaning is probably not one of your favorite chores but if you are using the typical cleaner you will likely be exposing yourself to ammonia fumes which can be very irritating to the respiratory passages.
As public awareness about the dangers of toxic cleaners increases businesses, hospitals, state and local governments and individuals are switching to safe non-toxic cleaners.