Carcinogens Found in Cleaning Products

Many cleaning products contain known carcinogens. A carcinogen is a substance that can cause cancer in living tissue. By using cleaning products with toxic chemicals frequently you are putting your health at risk and likely increasing your risk of developing cancer. Here are the risks of exposing your body to known carcinogens in cleaning products. Fortunately, with some awareness, it is easy to limit your exposure to these chemicals. Read below for some known examples of carcinogens found in cleaning products.

The Carcinogen Formaldehyde

When the chemicals in cleaning products mix with the air in your home it creates carcinogens.  For example, products that contain pine or citrus react with the air in your home and create formaldehyde. Be aware that products that do not list formaldehyde can still produce it. Formaldehyde is not listed if it is created during a chemical reaction that is a part of the process of cleaning. So, it’s important to learn about the products that create carcinogens as well as the ones that contain carcinogens.

The Carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane

1,4-Dioxane is another carcinogenic compound found in common chemical cleaners. This is a substance common in many laundry detergents. As a result of synthetic chemical processes, 1,4-Dioxane is produced during the manufacturing process. Studies have shown that 1,4-Dioxane is linked to higher rates of liver tumors in animal studies. Since we use detergents to clean our clothes, it can make a big difference on your health if you avoid using them. Consider this, the chemicals in detergents stay on your clothes and then sit next to your skin or on your sheets. That’s 24 hours of exposure to carcinogenic chemicals.  Furthermore, this chemical is also found in cosmetics and shampoos.

Carcinogens in Cleaning Products and the Link to Breast Cancer

By limiting your exposure to toxic chemicals you can reduce your risk of breast cancer. Diagnoses of breast cancer are twice as high in women who use the greatest amounts of cleaning products when compared with women who use the least. These hazards are not limited to cleaning products. An even greater risk comes with exposure to air fresheners. With this knowledge, you can take steps to reduce your exposure to chemicals and reduce your risk of cancer.

Developmental and Reproductive Issues Related to Cleaning Products

Exposure to cleaning products impacts developmental and reproductive issues. Borax is one of these chemicals. It is common in laundry and dish washing detergents. Men who work in factories with exposure to this chemical have a decreased libido and lower sperm counts. In animal testing with mice and dogs, animals exposed to borax have shrunken testes. Women exposed to this chemical may not ovulate as often and they have lower fertility rates.  Furthermore, exposure impacts infant and fetal development too. By crossing the placenta, the effects of this chemical impact birth weight and fetal skeletal development.

Diethylene glycol monomethyl ether is another toxic chemical that effects reproduction and development.  Men exposed to this chemical during the manufacturing process have lower sperm counts. Pregnant women exposed to this chemical have children with higher rates of birth defects.

Now You Know

With more research we will learn more about the toxic effects that these chemicals have on our bodies. Armed with a little bit of knowledge now, you can start making changes in your life that may have a big impact on your future.

You’re already taking great steps to improve your health by reading this article and learning more about the toxic effects of chemical exposure. With this knowledge you can take action to improve your health by limiting these toxic chemicals from your daily life.


Read this article for some ideas for alternative cleaning products.