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Live, Beautifully

Healthy "Artful Living" Moment #22: Healthier Cleaning

Posted on July 08 2018

For those of us who are concerned about dangerous chemicals in our cleaning products, there is a new tool to help choose products that are healthier for us and for the environment. The EPA has designated products that are the least harmful to the planet and to our health with a new “Safer Choice” logo (see above). The label lets you know that a cleaner is free of ingredients that can be detrimental to your health. It indicates that the EPA has analyzed the ingredients for potential health and environmental risks and the designated cleaners are the least worrisome when compared to other cleaners in the same class.

Cleaning products are notorious for cluttered labels and hyperexcited claims both seeming to overshadow the various warnings and hard-to-pronounce ingredients also listed on the label. The “Safer Choice” label is designed to help us cut through the clutter and know that the product so labeled is a healthier choice for us and for our environment within a particular catagory or type of cleaning products.

This new label is helpful precisely because the current labels can be very misleading. For example, if you see “Nontoxic” on the label you might think that is a good feature. The problem is that there is no standard definition for the claim, so you can’t really know what “Nontoxic” is telling you. Another favorite label claim is “Plant Based”. If you are environmentally conscious, you would probably think that “Plant Based” would imply a safer and more natural product. However, while the contents may have originally come from some plant, there is no reason to assume that the contents have not been processed into very non-natural chemicals. Another favorite label claim is “Fragrance Free” which implies that fragrance-related chemicals have been left out of the product. But just the opposite could be equally true-many manufacturers add a neutralizing odor to mask the less-than-pleasant scent of certain active chemicals in the product, leaving the product with no fragrance but filled with chemicals.

So, the new “Safer Choice” label can certainly help us to negotiate these treacherous complexities. And, if you want an even easier, safer alternative, consider using chemical-free E-cloth microfiber cleaning products, which clean and remove 99% of bacteria using only water. E-cloth products are available at Objects of Desire Artful Living in store and online.


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