Household chemicals are regulated under Health Canada’s Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations, 2001 (CCCR-2001).
Some strengths of CCCR-2001
* It requires hazard symbols and warnings on the labels of consumer chemical products;
* It prohibits the sale of some very hazardous chemicals.
Some weaknesses of CCCR-2001
* It does not require companies to list all ingredients;
* It does not consider the risks, such as cancer, from long-term exposure to toxic chemicals;
* It does not consider that combinations of some chemicals may be more toxic than each one separately.
Chemicals may make household cleaning easier, but not always safer.
Studies show that some chemical ingredients used in cleaning products increase the risk of long-term health problems, such as cancer and asthma, as well as short-term health problems, such as headaches and skin irritation. Chemicals that pose health risks are often considered toxic. Children exposed to toxic chemicals in household cleaning products may become more susceptible to cancers, later in life. This risk can be avoided or minimized as there are many inexpensive and non-toxic cleaning product alternatives.
Toxic chemicals are in cleaning products
Although not required, some companies may voluntarily list ingredients, but the list may not be complete. However, if there are hazard symbols on the package, there may be toxic chemicals in the cleaning product.
Watch out for: Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, Methanol, and Ethylbenzene
What do they do?
They may damage the nervous system, fetuses and can cause cancer.
They are in:
Oven cleaners, disinfectants, detergents, toilet, tub and tile cleaners, metal polishes, drain openers, adhesives, paints and finishes.
What does it do? It is known to cause cancer in people.
It is in:
Air fresheners, antibacterial dish detergents and carpet cleaners.
Toxic chemicals can go down the drain and come back through the tap
Remember that even if you are not directly exposed to the cleaning product, the chemicals that go down the drain, from the bathtub, sink, and washing machine, may come back to you in small traces in your drinking water. The water purification system is usually unable to remove all impurities.
If you use chemical cleaning products:
* Remember it is often not necessary to use as much as directed on the package;
* Never mix them;
* Wear gloves;
* Always use and store them as instructed;
* Ensure the area is well ventilated during and after cleaning;
* Rinse, remove and properly store the cleaning equipment such as sponges, rags or buckets;
* Find out how to dispose of cleaning products responsibly by calling your municipality.
Keep it simple at home
* Phase out the use of chemical cleaners and try non-toxic alternatives.
Talk about toxic ingredients
in household cleaners
* To your friends, family, employer and
* To your local store owner or manager;
* Call the telephone number often provided on packages to request a list of ingredients or to voice your concerns about products containing toxic chemicals.