Avoid These 12 Chemicals of Concern in Cleaning Products

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Chemicals of concern that have been linked to health effects including allergies, asthma, cancer, and reproductive harm can hide in everyday products. We think you should be able to read all ingredients right on the label to ensure that you pick and choose what you bring into your home. Not all products disclose all ingredients right on the labels, but when you are able to find ingredient lists on labels or online, here's what to look out for.

Ingredient & Pronunciation

Products Used In

Known Health Effects

Artifical Brighteners 
(always end “-stilbene”

Laundry detergents

Phototoxic and aquatically toxic

Alkylphenol Ethoxylates (APEs)

Cleaning products

Linked to asthma

Quaternary ammonium compounds

Cleaning products

Linked to asthma

Glutaraldehyde
\ˌglü-tə-ˈral-də-ˌhīd\

Cleaning products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

Phthalates
\ˈtha-ˌlāt\

Can be an ingredient under the term “fragrance” in household products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

Styrene
\ˈstī-ˌrēn\

Cleaning products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

Synthetic musks
(Usually end in “-lide”)

Cleaning products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

Trichloroethylene
\-ˈe-thə-ˌlēn\

Cleaning products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

Ethylbenzene
\ˌe-thil-ˈben-ˌzēn\

Cleaning products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

Petroleum distillates

Cleaning products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

2-butoxyethanol

Cleaning products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

Thiourea
\-yu̇-ˈrē-ə\

Cleaning products

Linked to cancer and/or reproductive harm

There are currently no US regulations in place for the ingredient labeling of household cleaning products.
Here's what you need to know.