Bisphenol-A (BPA) acts like a hormone in our bodies. BPA is linked to abnormal sexual development in baby boys, early puberty in girls, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), diabetes, and obesity. Levels found in ordinary Americans have been linked with obesity, miscarriage, and other diseases. In a national monitoring study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently detected BPA in 95 percent of adults and children.
A group of fragrance chemicals called "musk fragrances" is often found in body lotions and shampoos. These chemicals have been found in breast milk and have disrupted sex hormone function in laboratory tests.
Childhood lead exposure has a profound effect on developing brains. Small exposures can lead to brain damage, lowered IQ, attention deficit, and behavioral problems.
Parabens, commonly used as preservatives in body care products, disrupt normal hormone function and have been linked with breast cancer.
Phthalates have caused cancer in studies of laboratory animals. They also "can cause fetal death, malformations, and reproductive toxicity in laboratory animals," according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Triclosan soaps are no more effective at preventing disease than regular soaps. Triclosan inhibits sex hormone activity.
VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Exposure to VOCs causes headaches, eye irritation and respiratory problems, nausea and dizziness among other symptoms. Prolonged exposure has been linked to kidney and liver disease and even cancer. Exposure to VOCs in paint also increases the risk of asthma in young children.
Common cleaning products can contain many ingredients with hazards that have been identified by standard laboratory toxicology tests. Examples include:
An ingredient in a common all-purpose cleaner is 1-proproxyethanol; this chemical damaged eyes and caused reproductive problems.
An ingredient in a common window cleaner, ethylene glycol monohexyl ether, caused skin irritation and changes in red blood cell counts.
An ingredient in a common toilet cleaner, hydrochloric acid, caused eye damage, breathing problems, irritability, and genetic damage.
An ingredient in a common oven cleaner, sodium hydroxide, caused eye damage, skin irritation, and genetic damage.
Another oven cleaner ingredient, monoethanolamine, caused eye damage, skin irritation, impaired liver function, and birth defects.
Chlorine mixed with ammonia, vinegar, or acid-based cleaners can produce harmful chlorine gas.
Some commercial cleaners marketed as "green" or "natural" may contain harmful 2-butoxyethanol, so commercial cleaners may not be as safe as homemade cleaners.
Many detergents contain optical brighteners. Two common brighteners are Tinopal CBS and Tinopal DMS.
Tinopal CBS caused fetal death in laboratory animals.
Tinopal DMS caused kidney problems in laboratory animals.
A common ingredient in bleach products is sodium hypochlorite. In laboratory tests, sodium hypochlorite was corrosive to skin, caused breathing problems, decreased the function of the immune system and cause genetic damage.