Air fresheners: Air fresheners contain secret fragrance mixtures that can trigger allergies and asthma. Open windows, use fans, put out a bowl of white vinegar or baking soda, or burn a beeswax candle in place of using air fresheners.
Antibacterial products: These products can spur the development of drug-resistant superbugs. Antibacterial chemicals like triclosan have been blamed for causing thyroid and heart damage, as well.
Fabric softener and dryer sheets: These products often contain lung irritants and can spark asthma or allergy problems. Add _ cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle to reduce wrinkles and static cling.
Caustic drain and oven cleaners: Harsh ingredients can burn eyes and skin. Instead, use a drain snake or plunger to remove clogs, and opt for a paste of baking soda and water to clean your oven.
Other Must-Know Ingredient Info
Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, is sometimes used as a preservative or may be released by other preservatives in cleaning products. It may form when terpenes, found in citrus and pine oil cleaners and in some essential oils used as scents, react with ozone in the air.
Chloroform, a suspected human carcinogen, sometimes escapes in fumes released by products containing chlorine bleach.
Quaternary ammonium compounds ("quats") like benzalkonium chloride, found in antibacterial spray cleaners and fabric softeners, can cause asthma.
Sodium borate, also known as borax, and boric acid are added to many products as cleaning agents or enzyme stabilizers, or for other functions. They can disrupt the hormone system.
EWG criticized green brands like Earth Friendly Products, Biokleen, and BabyGanics for not properly disclosing ingredients.