Malcolm Rands, also known as Eco Man, sets us straight on the chemicals in our cleaning products. Rands owns Ecostore, a company that uses completely non-toxic, plant-based ingredients. What you must know about keeping your house eco-friendly and safe:
Chemicals in Cleaning Products Can Be More Dangerous Than Pesticides and Fungicides in Foods I was living in an eco-village in New Zealand, (a community that uses sustainable agriculture and natural resources to enrich the ecosystem) and started selling Ecostore, bio-degradable cleaning products with plant based ingredients. In an eco-village, each member of the community is responsible for their own waste water, so I got started looking at the ingredients of our dish washing liquid, the laundry detergent, the shampoo, the body products, all the stuff that in the end go down the sink and into the water system, and I was outraged. The chemicals in those products are actually worse than the pesticides and fungicides we'd been fighting against in the eco-village. There have never been any restrictions for cleaning products, you never have to say what's in them. They say, "Well you're not drinking the stuff, what's the problem?" But when people start using natural products, they say, "I don't sneeze anymore. I had this rash for ages and it's finally gone away. My eczema seems to be clearing up." That was unexpected. We were just trying to save the planet, you know.
Chemicals Are More Dangerous When Exposed to Skin Than Swallowed
As it turns out the most dangerous way of getting chemicals is not through your body at all but through your skin. Humans spend a long time as hunter/gatherers and they would test food with their mouths, and nature is full of toxins, so we built up a very good system of breaking down complex chemicals with our mouths. But we have no defense if something goes through our skin.
Most Products Have Too Many Unnecessary Chemicals
Well look at modern diseases. We're living longer, but getting a higher and higher incidence of people getting allergies and asthma. There are too many unnecessary chemicals. I'm not saying if you turn to my laundry liquid it will solve all your problems, but the laundry is a key one. There's a whole load of chemicals that become a residue on your sheets, clothes, towel. You basically have to be naked to not have these chemicals on your skin.
Some Laundry Chemicals Are Used Just To Make Clothes Look Whiter
For generations, house wives women have been fighting over who has the whitest washing, they used to look over the fence and say "my washing is whiter than yours." About 50 years ago the scientists had this chemical with very strange chemicals and they though "what the hell do we do with it?" So they sold it to laundry companies as an optical brightener, it's made to attach to clothes. When UV lights, which are invisible, hit the chemical it has the ability to slightly change the wave length of the light, and it comes back off your clothes as visible light, so suddenly you have lights coming off your clothes looking whiter and brighter. But not cleaner.
Chemicals Affect Our Immune Systems
If you take away the unnecessary chemicals that your body has to fight, it can go on to handle other stuff like the air pollution or the after fix of a wild Friday night or eating too much pizza, all the other stuff fin our life that effects us as well.
Watch Out For Things That Are "Natural" and "Bio-degradable"
"Natural" and "bio-degradable" are completely meaningless unless you define what you mean. Nuclear waste is bio-degradable. It just takes half a million years. Plastic bags are bio-degradable, it just takes awhile.
Malcolm's No Nasty Chemical List:
Product Ingredients to Avoid in Cleaning and Personal Care Products
Enzymes (in lots of laundry products)
Optical Whiteners (make clothes appear whiter and brighter)
synthetic perfumes or dyes
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (cleaning detergents, body care products like toothpaste, shampoo, soaps, shower gels, dishwashing liquid)
TEA, DEA or MEA ( Triethanolamine, Diethanolamine or Monoethanolamine)
Parabens - skin care, hair care, cosmetics
Formaldehyde - cleaning products
NPE's (Nonylphenol Ethxylates) - cleaning agents