Greening The Cleaning

Greening Your Cleaning This Spring


By Erin S. Ihde, MA
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Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to freshen up our homes for the warmer days ahead.  For many of us, this means washing windows, clearing out clutter, and deep cleaning surfaces high and low.

All of this activity, however, can be unhealthy, especially for children.  Conventional cleaning products often list only “active” ingredients on the label, omitting other potentially harmful “inactive” ingredients.  Traditional cleaners can be a cocktail of synthetic chemicals – including artificial fragrances - that have not been adequately tested for safety on human health.  Small, everyday exposures have been linked to cumulative health effects including endocrine disruption and cancer.

The good news is cleaning house doesn’t have to mean sacrificing health.  Safer, toxin-free products may be as close as the nearest grocery store or online.  The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® (DIEHC) has developed Greening the Cleaning® (GTC), a product line free of carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, and endocrine disruptors (definitions below).  The retail line for home use features All Purpose Cleaner, Glass Cleaner, Laundry Detergent and Hand Dish Soap.  100% of all after-tax profits go to The Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer, a 501c(3) not-for-profit.  The GTC® institutional line is used in hospitals, government buildings, schools and businesses.  100% of all profits from institutional products go to The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® for supporting the GTC Greening the Cleaning® program in addition to funding education and research to identify, control and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment that threaten our children's health. 

The Environmental Working Group has given GTC® retail products its highest ratings in the Guide to Healthy Cleaning.  EWG carefully rates the human health and environmental impact of more than 2,100 popular household cleaning products with grades A through F, based on the safety of their key ingredients and the information disclosed about their contents.
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Rated A - All Purpose                                                                                                          
Rated A - Laundry Detergent
Rated B - Glass Cleaner
Rated B - Hand Dishwashing Liquid
Rated B - Cream Cleanser


Greening the Cleaning®retail products also meet the top category of the Whole Foods Eco-Scale Rating System for Household Cleaners, the highest standards set by any green cleaning group.  Whole Foods requires that products designated in the “green” category meet very stringent criteria, and GTC meets them all:

·         GTC products have been third-party tested and verified

·         GTC fully discloses all ingredients on packaging labels

·          GTC doesn’t use any phosphates, chlorine, or synthetic colors

·         All ingredients in GTC products is environmentally safe, preservative-free, and made from plant- and mineral-derived ingredients.    

For more information on the retail/home line, visit http://www.greeningthecleaning.com/
For more information on our institutional line (for businesses, schools, and offices), visit http://www.dienviro.org/index.aspx?lobid=958.   
          
Glossary

  • Carcinogen– Any substance that can cause or contribute to the 
    production of cancer.*
  • Mutagen – An agent that causes a permanent genetic change in a cell other than that which occurs during normal growth. Mutagenicity is the capacity of a chemical or physical agent to cause such permanent changes. *
  • Teratogen – A substance capable of causing birth defects. *
  • Endocrine disruptors/hormone mimics – Environmental exposure to some anthropogenic chemicals, also known as endocrine disruptors or hormone mimics, may result in the disruption of endocrine systems in human and wildlife populations.

* Source:  U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Terminology Reference System (http://www.epa.gov/trs/)

 

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Erin S. Ihde is Research/Project Manager at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at Hackensack University Medical Center.  She specializes in children's environmental health research and education, particularly on eliminating exposures to everyday toxins.  Research concentrations include a pediatric multi-site clinical trial on a non-toxic treatment, and the environmental factors associated with autism and other chronic illnesses.  Ms. Ihde helped establish HackensackUMC’s Integrative Pediatric Oncology Group to research new adjunctive modalities in the integrative treatment of children's cancer, and is a member of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research.  She enjoys presenting on healthy, green living and greening the home to school groups and adults alike.  Erin Ihde has an MA in Environmental Education from New York University, where she received a fellowship from the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, and holds a BA in English from the Honors Program at The College of New Jersey.

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