Many people usher in the spring season with a thorough cleaning. But some of the products we use to keep our homes and cars looking their best contain ingredients that can harm our health and the environment. Surfactants, key ingredients in detergents, can be toxic to aquatic animals. At high concentrations, inorganic phosphate, an ingredient that helps detergents work better and an essential nutrient for plant growth, can spur algal blooms and dead zones in waterways. And, some cleaning products can pollute the indoor air that we breathe.
So what’s a spring cleaner to do? Look for the Safer Choice label, which will be available in stores this spring and summer. The U.S. EPA unveiled the new label to make it easy to choose cleaners, car care products, dish soaps, laundry detergents and other products that perform well and are safer for humans, pets and the environment. Check out the Safer Choice website to search more than 2,000 products that qualify for the label.
(Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2015). “Safer Choice.” Retrieved from http://www2.epa.gov/saferchoice)