Thursday, October 4, 2012

Toxin Free Household Detergents: The Search Continues Part 1

  Palmolive Free and Clear. But Free and Clear of what?
These days there's so many products at the supermarket, it's hard not to glaze over and just get my usual trusted brands. Although I have to admit, I am finding less and less items at the big brand stores that I allow myself to bring home. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to find a new natural looking cleaner that caught my eye. Palmolive's Pure & Clear. Since going green in the home is important to me, I bought it on impulse. I should have known better.

After a few days of using it to wash dishes and clean up counters, I noticed my hands were getting irritated. I know, I really should use gloves. And I can't claim for sure that it was the soap.  But it prompted me to do a little digging online about this specific product, so I thought I'd share my findings for those seeking a healthier home.

First off, I thought it was odd that the product didn't list any specific ingredients. It just says "no unnecessary chemicals," whatever that's supposed to mean. Reminds me of "No Added MSG" signs in restaurants. They don't ADD any MSG, but they aren't saying there ISN'T any MSG. I got that tip from a server I treated nicely at a fast food restaurant. Anyway, I noticed it didn't state it is "toxin free." Suspicious.

First I attempted to look up this specific product in the Household Products Database provided by the U.S. Department of Human & Health Services, but it must be too new to be listed. So I went to Palmolive's site and looked up the ingredients there. Here's a screen shot of what I found: 
Palmolive Free and Clear Ingredients
At first glance, I didn't see anything that would have set off my alarm bells, other than fragrance. "Water" seemed pretty benign. I moved on to the 2nd ingredient.  Usually I look for SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) in any detergent (which is toxic), but this said Sodium LaurethSulfate (SLES), which turns out to be a close cousin. I found a site that mentioned thatSLES was less irritating than SLS, but it's still toxic nevertheless. Not happy with "less irritating" I continued my search. I sure wasn't happy with what I found next.
Protect your liver by going green in your home
Both SLS and SLES cannot be metabolized by the liver! In other words, by using this product I am poisoning myself and I can't get rid of it easily. Not only that, SLES is often contaminated with a known carcinogen, Dioxane AND once it's in you, SLES mimics estrogen. So it throws off the body's natural balance and can cause a whole slew of other problems, including breast cancer. Great.

I didn't have time to investigate further today. I have to go home and throw out my dish washing soap. Or take it to a toxic waste disposal place, I guess.

Next up, Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate. Cross your fingers! Anything with a "benzene" is probably not good. Going green in your home? Share your experience, recipes and product suggestions using the comment box below.

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